Amerikans must condemn their government's meddling in Russia's backyard. Backing fascist political parties with nuclear ambitions on the border of Russia is a recipe for death and disaster.(1) Bloodshed has already increased as a result of imperialism's maneuvers as dozens have died in clashes between protestors/opposition forces and Ukrainian security forces controlled by the parties that came to power in the February coup d'etat (the second U.$.-backed coup in Ukraine in 10 years). Interestingly, we have not heard John Kerry call for sanctions against the new Ukraine government as we did last fall when the previous government roughed up protestors, once again exposing his hypocrisy (not to apologize for the now deposed Yanukovic regime, which later killed dozens of protestors in the streets of Kiev). Europeans should be even more worried about the violence being fomented in Ukraine. While the EU hopes to benefit from U.$. militarism in the form of trade relations with Ukraine, that same militarism could bring war to their region.
While statements from president Vladimir Putin on 7 May 2014 indicated a cooling off of Russian rhetoric in the conflict, talk of Ukraine joining NATO is a major threat to Russian security. Amerikan foreign policy experts, including Henry Kissinger, have condemned the idea of pulling Ukraine into NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed at the end of WWII as a military pact between countries opposed to the then communist Soviet Union. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has been creeping into Eastern Europe, towards Russia.
The calming words from Putin indicate that the very limited Western sanctions succeeded in not fanning the flames of inter-imperialist rivalry too high. By targetting individuals, the United $tates and Germany avoided the types of trade barriers that led to open wars between the imperialist countries in the early 20th century. And while Russian financial markets have declined in the face of this threat, the hit remains moderate.
Another reason to worry is that the U.$.-backed regime has significant participation from far right fascist parties. It is ironic that fascism finds some of its broadest support today in the very peoples who destroyed fascism in the Soviet Union's great patriotic war against Germany in the 1940s. But our understanding of fascism explains why this is so. Fascism is led by an imperialist class that feels its existence is threatened and/or aspires to surge ahead of other imperialist powers, and its mass support is among the labor aristocracy who wants their nation to rise and reap more superprofits at the expense of other countries (see our fascism study pack). Russia remains an imperialist power at odds with the West that cannot provide the same benefits to its people as countries like the United $tates and those in Western Europe. While Ukraine is not an imperialist country, there is a small class of finance capitalists backing the fascist upsurge within the current regime. The fascists are mobilizing within the national guard and are behind the recent murders of local police and civilians in the east where opposition to the new regime is strong.
With all the aid and loans being offered to Ukraine from the West, we know that large chunks of money given in the past has gone to various political parties, "election reform," and media outlets(2); something worth keeping in mind when trying to parse out what is going on during political turmoil in client states. USAID, often marketed by the government as a humanitarian agency, is behind much of this political funding and campaigning. The United $tates and Germany are adament that the planned presidential election must go ahead on May 25 as they work behind the scenes to ensure its results.
U.$. militarism, which is defined by the Amerikan economy being dependent on war and military production, must be put to an end to stop the unneccessary killings such as those in Ukraine recently and in so many other parts of the world. USAID must be exposed and opposed as a tool opposing the self-determination of other peoples around the world. The anti-Russian sentiments rising among Amerikans and the support that Putin is getting in Russia do not bode well for preventing further conflict if the imperialists decide to step it up a notch. This is a warning for us to strengthen the movement against U.$. militarism.
[While MIM(Prisons) expressed cautious optimism following the election of Chokwe Lumumba, we questioned his electoral strategy and stressed a clearer definition of dual power (see ULK 33). Unfortunately, failure seems to have struck more suddenly than we could have expected. In the piece below, PTT of MIM(Prisons) has woven updates on the campaign in Jackson into excerpts from commentary by Loco1.]
On 22 April 2014, Chokwe Antar Lumumba lost the mayoral election in Jackson, Mississippi to Councilman Tony Yarber in a run-off. Chokwe Antar's father, Chokwe Lumumba, was inaugurated as the mayor of Jackson on 1 July 2013, and died 25 February 2014 from "heart failure." Since our last report, those close to Lumumba had indicated that an independent autopsy was going forward, but results, or information on whether an independent autopsy was conducted, are not readily available. In Under Lock & Key 37, we raised suspicion over the cause of the Mayor's death in a country where New Afrikan leaders are regularly murdered by the state with impunity.
As the electoral strategy of the former New Afrikan revolutionary ended prematurely, some comrades are raising the question of whether the nation would have really sown the seeds of progress for New Afrikan self-determination into the heart of Mississippi, had Mayor Lumumba or Chokwe Antar served the full term. We assert that when New Afrikans fail to realistically distinguish themselves from Afrikan-Amerikans, it is impossible to break from Black capitalism to form a new society centered around humyn need.
One limitation Mayor Lumumba's death raises in the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement's strategy of entering electoral politics is the vulnerability of elected candidates. Lumumba wanted to build a movement based in the people, but electoral politics necessitates focus on individuals as leaders and representatives of the masses. In the context of joining the Amerikan political machine, winning electoral campaigns amounts to putting a Black face on Amerikan capitalism. Before his death, Mayor Lumumba was planning to put $1.7 billion onto the streets of Jackson. "The intent is to improve the city’s infrastructure, support businesses and, in a first, rehab some Black neighborhoods."(1) A keen eye can see that building revolutionary education centers is not on the top of this list, if it's on there at all. We agree with Mr. Lumumba that the people are smart. But if they are fed a false idealism of an end to oppression under capitalism, then their opposition to the Amerikan imperialist global machine will be limited. In fact, it is more likely that their ties to Amerika will even be increased, as the benefits from the spoils of imperialism are redistributed in their favor. Without real people's control of wealth, that $1.7 billion raised by Mayor Lumumba is easily redirected by a suspicious death and a defeat in a run-off election.
The people of Jackson hope to continue building this movement for Black capitalism in their city, and Chokwe Anton invited all small business owners, enterpreneurs, prospective business owners, and people seeking new and innovative employment/ownership opportunities to attend the Jackson Rising conference that was held on May 2-4.(2) As communists, we are definitely seeking new and innovative employment/ownership opportunities! But as internationalists, we seek these opportunities for all the world's people. We don't want worker-owned cooperatives for ourselves built from wealth scraped off the backs of the Third World. We know truly innovative employment/ownership opportunities can't come without civil war and an overthrow of capitalism. Success in electoral politics can stifle progress in a revolutionary direction if politics aren't in command.
The late Mayor Lumumba is reported in an interview with the Nation of Islam in The Final Call newspaper as saying, “our predominately Black administrations can actually do better – to provide security to everybody, prosperity to everybody on a fair basis, and, of course, we're going to be vigilant against the cheaters – but we think we can do a better job. We're talking about the new society, the new way, and that's a lot of what New Afrika was about.” To claim that New Afrikans will do a better job at playing the Amerikan economic game amounts to Black chauvinism and racism. We are products of our society. What is it that New Afrikans can do better than whites: hate, steal, cheat, kill, lie, destroy and oppress? The U.$. President is Black and we still witness New Afrikan and Xican@ youth targeted by police for death in the United $tates. Working within electoral politics will do nothing to change Amerika's impact on the majority of the world's people. Mayor Lumumba stated “We are impressed with the need to protecting everyone's human rights.” But this can't be done when the nationalist leaders are so misdirected that they can't see that there is nothing in U.$. politicians' offices but documents with the names of the billions of humyn beings murdered as a result of foreign policy, or low-intensity warfare operations jumping off in the U.$. semi-colonies. The electoral struggle in Jackson highlights the differences between bourgeois nationalism and nationalism with proletarian ideology.
The U.$. internal semi-colonies' greatest connection to the reality of the global contradiction in relation to their own material condition is the lumpen, incarcerated and criminalized across the state. The lumpen are most capable for the vehicular mechanism for transforming the shift of imperialist control to proletarian control with real state power, by leading national liberation struggles to free us from Amerika. Lumpen hold no stake or stock in capitalism and have way more interest in abolishing its control over the people than the bourgeois nationalists. The Jackson Plan would like to turn all these lumpen into labor aristocrats rather than vehicles for overthrowing capitalism.
The lumpen, particularly prisoners, will have to understand that there is no future in placing higher values on profits than the welfare of humyn life/needs. The Amerikan pie has to be completely disposed of and the land redistributed fairly. Period. You get what you need. Nothing more, nothing less.
If we gonna move, let's move the world. Revolutionary nationalism, with a proletarian ideology, is the key to any oppressed nation's self-determination and self-governance, or simply put national independence. If New Afrikans are to have any chance at such, they will first have to separate themselves from Black Amerika and move to the tune of the proletariat. Chokwe Lumumba had a gift and will be missed dearly by all who value his mind, but he appeared better in his dashiki and afro. “Rather than going to church and yelling and screaming about it, rather than bad mouth the youth, my plan is to engage the youth,” quoting the former Mayor. This begs the question, how does this transpire from behind a desk that is responsible for the city's youth being carted away to prison and jail facilities?
Three former California governors recently backed a petition for a ballot initiative which would dramatically accelerate the execution of death row prisoners. At the same time we have experienced a more extreme than usual delay in the processing of death row SHUII and III mail. As I will explain, there is an important connection between these events.
The main selling point for the proposed bill is saving loads of money by arranging faster executions of the 747 prisoners currently warehoused on San Quentin's four death row SHUs and the women all but forgotten in Cowchilla. In addition, death row prisoners would no longer be confined exclusively in the San Quentin and Chowchilla torture units. They would be placed among the general population.
It is noteworthy that the Calincarceration Corrupted Peace Officers Association (California Correctional Peace Officers Association - CCPOA) didn't give financial support for this bill. Many assume the lackeys, bullies and cowards who comprise that security threat group probably thought it wasn't in their best interest to all of a sudden meet face to face with the un-cuffed death row prisoners they've been torturing their whole career. But the fact of the matter is the higher ups in the CCPOA actually had enough sense to realize no amount of their support could buy enough votes to pass such political double talk into law in this state.
Acting proactively in case the bill passes, the CCPOA at San Quentin decided to mobilize in preparation. By citing wild interpretations of prisoner correspondence to give the public an illusion that the bowels of hell were opened upon them, the prison tried to transfer a large number of formerly grade A and B SHUII and III prisoners to other SHU programs across the state.
They almost had a window of opportunity to "justify" building more control units within existing prisons. But as of today the death row SHU expansion project in San Quentin's Carson section is stalled.
"Persons other than inmates should address any appeal relating to department policy and regulations to the Director of the Division of Adult Institutions. Appeals relating to a specific facility [like San Quentin or Chowchilla] procedure or practice [like excessive delays in the processing of mail to and from loved ones and prisoners' rights organizations] should be addressed in writing to the warden..." - California Code of Regulations, Title 15, 3137. Appeals Relating to Mail.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is correct that the CCPOA has been entirely silent on this new ballot initiative to accelerate death row executions. But we don't agree with h interpretation that the CCPOA is just standing down because they don't think it has a chance of passing. Rather we see this position as lining up consistently with the CCPOA's primary goal: protect the jobs of the many prison workers. Faster executions would reduce the San Quentin prison population, and that would threaten jobs there, so it should not be surprising that the CCPOA is silent on this new ballot initiative. This is a rare case where their interests align with ours, and we can take advantage of the situation to stop passage of this reactionary bill.
Lately, due to the continuing of the repressive injustice system, the New Afrikan Maoist Brotherhood (NAMB) has restructured our organizing and networking tactics. We continue our current study group raising New Afrikan and internationalist consciousness. We are working on a peace treaty/alliance between the Vice Lords, Latin Kings, MS-13, Bloods and Black P. Stones. The Euro-Amerikan street organizations of the Cincinnatti Caucasian Cartel and the Cincinnati White Boys have allied against the Aryan Brothers and so, we are working to bring the Triple Cs and the CWBs into the Ohio-wide treaty with the Vice Lords and Latin Kings/MS-13 and Bloods. Our next focus will be to reach out to the "heartless felons" of Northern Ohio (Cleveland based) to radicalize them into revolutionary consciousness. These are uphill battles due to lack of quality leadership, coupled with the terrain of lockdown blocks, controlled movements, and confidential informants. But, the movement must be pushed, no matter how fast/slow, hard/easy it may seem. History is on our side! The NAMB is slowly but surely making headway in spreading unity and revolutionary theory. We look forward to creating an Ohio-wide, Ohio-produced treaty between all LOs inside of prison and outside.
MIM(Prisons) adds: These comrades in Ohio are doing the essential work of education and building peace and unity. Bringing lumpen organizations together into a United Front (UF) is critical, but we must always be clear what we are uniting around. The UF is a vehicle for the oppressed to unite groups against a common and principal enemy. We learn from history that this includes alliances between the proletariat and the national bourgeoisie when the fight is against the imperialist invading army. In Amerikan prisons today, this unity is among lumpen organizations against the criminal injustice system which is used by imperialist Amerika as a tool of social control.
In solidarity, I offer this suggestion: reduce your contribution to your imprisonment; instead contribute to your child's development. Advantages: the prison system has less funding; the companies that lobby for prisons lose money; you remain healthy to fight!
J. Paul Getty said, "If you owe the bank $100, that's your problem. If you own the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem!"
The prison gets roughly $30,000/year for each general population prisoner, but receives an average of $70,000 for us in solitary confinement. Where does the money come from? Too much of it comes from us! Federal prisoners spend $300 million a year in commissary. It is estimated that prisoners contribute $3 billion annually toward their own incarceration. We are allowing our money to be used as a weapon of war against us. "Playing by your enemy's rules is suicide." Growth and Development symbolizes growth of knowledge and development of new skills and tactics to be successful!
If you want to bring the CDCR director to the negotiation, make Keefe force him to the table. It is always about the money with capitalists. You have to give them something to lose!
We never shop during September out of respect for the sacrifice of my Attica brothers. Ask your family and friends to participate by not purchasing products from Keefe, Bob Barker, Golden Valley and any other company that profits from prisons. Eliminate the funding, and the problem is solved. Stop contributing to your own suffering!
Request the public records, budget and audit for the California prison system. It will show you how you are giving your money to your suffering.
Grow your knowledge Develop new skills and tactics Revolutionary strategy Intelligent sacrifice Stand United Economic pressure to obtain your goal
MIM(Prisons) adds:Every September 9 the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) promotes a solidarity demonstration in honor of the Attica uprising. This peaceful protest could easily expand to a month-long boycott of the parasitic industries from which prisoners are forced to make purchases. We welcome input from UFPP members and supporters leading up to this September's demonstration.
Since my arrival at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) in July 2013 I've had to file numerous 602 appeals just to be able to utilize my two hour a week constitutional right to use the prison law library. At KVSP they like to run a very oppressive program, or I should say lack of program, and keep everybody on lockdown 24 hours a day, even on the general population and non-discipline yards. This was done all under the guise of "safety & security." Their stratagem is that we can't file any complaints on them if we don't have access to legal forms.
For the more creative prisoners, we've been able to bypass their little games and still file 602s and habeas corpus writs in our attempts to inform the outside world of the illegal practices here at the prison.
One of our writs must have struck a nerve because on 10 April at 4am, the prison's "Institutional Gang Investigators" AKA the goon squad, raided our building in full riot gear, and confiscated everyone's paperwork (books, family/legal letters, and writing materials) all in the name of "safety & security." It has been over two weeks now and the warden has given no word on exactly when we will be given access to our legal/personal documents.
Even though the majority of us have already bypassed their little blockade and have filed writs or found ways of informing our lawyers and family on the outside, these things take time. So here we sit on lockdown, with very limited access to the courts and family, awaiting relief or a full blown revolution to kick off. And although it is my personal belief that the latter will happen at some point, I also feel that it's going to take a whole lot more hard work in order to open up the eyes and ears of our fellow brothers and sisters around the world, before we all as a whole, can shout "stop!" and really have the means to add weight to our words.
Until then keep up the faith and hard work. Stay strong! This current system is at the breaking point. There is light at the end of the tunnel!
MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade that we have a lot of work to do to educate our brothers and sisters before we are ready to kick off the revolution. In the meantime we need to do what s/he is doing: the day to day work of exposing the abuse and brutality of the imperialist system and organizing others. We all have a responsibility to educate others however we can, whether that's by writing articles for ULK, talking to others on our block or yard, organizing a study group, teaching someone to read, or whatever else you can do to use your skills and talents to advance the struggle. Don't just sit back and read about it, get involved!
The Texa$ Board of Criminal (in)Justice implemented new prisoner Correspondence Rules on 1 October 2013 restricting indigent prisoners to 5 one-ounce domestic letters per month. The previous policy allowed 5 letters per week. This is a clear attack on prisoners' access to the outside world, and in particular impacts politically active prisoners who use the mail to expose the brutality and abuse going on behind bars in Texas. In response to this new policy United Struggle from Within initiated a grievance campaign, organizing prisoners to appeal this restriction. Below are several new updates to the campaign:
Successful Grievance Against Limits on Legal Mail
From Hughes Unit: "I won my grievance due to interference from the department law library which deals with offenders who are indigent. They were saying five letters a month for everything and they were trying to stop my legal mail from going out to the courts. There is no limit on legal mail! They were also trying only to give us supplies like 25 sheets of paper, one pen, five envelopes a month. But an indigent offender who is doing legal work can have this once a week, and mail out as much legal work he or she wants."
One prisoner from Allred wrote Step 1 and Step 2 grievances requesting additional stamps. Because of his need to use his 5 indigent mail stamps to pursue legal research this prisoner was unable to write to family and friends and so requested additional stamps from the Warden. The first request prior to the grievances stated "I need to mail 5 more letters this month using indigent [mail]. ... This unit law library is giving me the run around having me write and ask everybody under the sun. They don't know about the 83rd Legislature House Bill 634 by Farias of Texas. It's the holidays, I need extra 5 letters this month." The response from the Warden: "That doesn't meet any legal requirement and I don't have the authority to allow you extra postage for that." Responses to his grievances following up on the Warden's denial included denying the Step 1 for "excessive attachments." The attachments were copies of his initial attempts to resolve the issue without filing a grievance.
Based on the victory from the prisoner in Hughes Unit, we encourage prisoners to appeal their access to stamps for legal mail separately from the restriction on personal mail.
Restrictions on Receipt of Stationary
A comrade in Eastham Unit reported: "Each year the big wigs running Texas prisons decide on what to take from the prisoners next. This year it involves indigent mail and stationary sent in from the outside. Prisoners who have no money on their trust fund account are able to receive supplies (paper, pen, envelopes) and send out letters through the indigent mail. Before this March prisoners could send out five letters a week, now it's just five letters a month... What's worse is that we're charged for indigent mail services. Whenever we get money on our account, the cost for every letter mailed and each supply is deducted.
"Prior to March our friends and family could have stationary from an outside store sent to us. This was eliminated, and now our only option is purchasing stationary from commissary, and paying their prices. Like any oppressor, TDCJ enjoys coming up with new ideas and ways to make life more difficult for their captors. There's strength in numbers. The more of us who write grievances, send letters to state politicians, and get the word out to our family and friends, the better chance we have of telling our oppressors that we're not going to take this lying down."
This comrade is right on about the strength in numbers. We have a number of prisoners across the state working on this campaign to end the restrictions on correspondence in Texas, and we've come up with a few key steps for prisoners and supporters to take.
Some jailhouse lawyers have created guides to fighting this injustice as well as a broader grievance guide for Texas, and we are seeing an influx of prisoners requesting these resources. We look forward to the results of this growing activism in this state with the largest prison population and one of the highest incarceration rates in the country.
For this indigent mail campaign in particular, we have a sample step 1 grievance for prisoners to use as well as a sample step 2 grievance for those whose step 1 is rejected. Write to us for a copy of the indigent mail campaign guide.
There are times when i get frustrated at those who just don't get it. What seems like it is crystal clear to me is not grasped by so many. But remember this is what separates levels of consciousness. We have to remember most of us were knuckleheads at one time; at least i was. And i'm sure those wiser than me were stressed out about me as well. We don't have to like it, but we do have to understand it if we ever seek to change it. I must know that what i understand and grasp may not be the same for others, but people develop consciously at different rates, even two cellmates will not be totally on the same level.
A protracted struggle is not simply performing and being victorious, rather it is a long drawn out struggle. It does not matter what one is struggling for. If i am trying to get better health care or healthier food to eat and i am up against a medical corporation or a prison policy that prevents me from getting what i want, it will be a struggle. We are not talking about just filing a grievance or refusing to go back in my cell, we are talking about possibly YEARS of struggle.
One of the things a protracted struggle means is that it will be long and rough. Not only that but it is a stop and go struggle where, in between efforts for human rights when there is "down time," the people use this time to sharpen up educationally and learn more about the human rights they are shooting for by studying similar historical struggles. A protracted struggle then is struggle first in the physical realm THEN in the ideological realm so that the people are struggling - preparing - struggling.
Disarray and disfunction are signs of a lack of political education and nothing more. This is why there is a great important necessity for political education and building cadre. The lack of cadre in any group, prison or organization will be the difference between obtaining human rights or settling for a bigger variety of cookies on commissary; of the revolution moving closer to reality or being extinguished.
Mao spoke of cadre and summed it up as follows:
"In order to guarantee that our party and country do not change their color, we must not only have a correct line and correct policies but must train and bring up millions of successors who will carry on the cause of proletarian revolution.
"In the final analysis, the question of training successors for the revolutionary cause of the proletariat is one of whether or not there will be people who can carry on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary cause started by the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries, whether or not the leadership of our party and state will remain in the hands of proletarian revolutionaries, whether or not our descendents will continue to march along the correct road laid down by Marxism-Leninism, or, in other words, whether or not we can successfully prevent the emergence of Kruschev's revisionism in China. In short, it is an extremely important question, a matter of life and death for our party and our country. It is a question of fundamental importance to the proletarian revolutionary cause for a hundred, a thousand, nay ten thousand years. Basing themselves on the changes in the Soviet Union, the imperialist prophets are pinning their hopes of "peaceful evolution" on the third or fourth generation of the Chinese party. We must shatter these imperialist prophecies. From our highest organizations down to the grass-roots, we must everywhere give constant attention to the training and upbringing of sucessors to the revolutionary cause."(1)
Here Mao is referring to how a bourgeoisie arose within the Bolshevik Party, taking the Soviet Union down the revisionist road after Stalin's death. The younger generations, not having a deep enough understanding of revolutionary science allowed such preposterous ideas as a peaceful evolution from capitalism to communism to be promoted and accepted as guiding principles. Mao's solution to this was the Cultural Revolution, which advanced socialism to its furthest stage of development to date. It is not good enough for the wise, the vets, the double O.G.s to be up on game as far as what it means to come together in peace and struggling for human rights. It's important that the young buck must also be educated on the importance of peace and the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Young people must be taught why human rights are important and what ways to acquire human rights.
What many forget is education comes in many forms, conversing with someone about social justice can be just as effective as passing a political newsletter down the tier. Sharing an article one tailored for a specific bunch can be just as effective as giving a fiery speech on the tier and, well, doing all of the above is good too. Without one studying him/herself one is unable to learn ways to improve one's environment and instead is left in a chaotic atmosphere which never moves forward.
Educating those who never listened to anyone in their life is no walk in the park. I get this. The thing is i know it must be done.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This essay is a good introduction to the focus of this issue of Under Lock & Key, which is an update on the theory and practice of building the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Cipactli gives us some good theory to chew on here, but we would not go so far as to say that problems in the movement are "signs of a lack of political education and nothing more." While every prisoner is oppressed by the same state, there are contradictions within the imprisoned lumpen that contribute to disorder and conflict. Some of these contradictions may not be resolved by education. These contradictions must be recognized, it must be determined whether or not they are contradictions among the people and they must be pushed to resolution. Hashing this out is a big part of the process of building an effective united front. These are tasks that we are working with USW leaders to take on in addition to outreach and education work. At the same time these tasks will serve to train and develop leaders within USW.
I want to first send an encouraging word to the brother who exposed a glimpse of our struggle here at Georgia State Prison. I can honestly say that the author of the stand up article in the March/April 2014 Under Lock & Key has inspired me to go harder.
As of this moment I am the head representative of the United Nation Against The Machine (UNATM) movement. The UNATM promotes unity, peace, and education amongst the various social groups within the system. The goal is to cease fire against one another and unite in our struggle against the oppressive pigs. We all have a common goal which should be freedom and we all have a common enemy which is the oppressive injustice system. There is no excuse for us to continue laying down when the bully approaches. We still have rights and we still are human beings who deserve better.
I want those in the segregation unit to know that you are not alone and as a fellow comrade/soulja in this struggle I pledge loyalty. I pledge to educate and decrease the illiteracy rate that confines our fellow brothers in an enslaved mind. I pledge to challenge the unchallenged. I pledge to finally put the pig head on the platter for all its wrong doing. We are our own machine that will stop at nothing to obtain true justice. I encourage all the souljas in this struggle to remain strong for we will see better days.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We are encouraged to see the growing activism in Georgia and in particular the conscious comrades building unity and peace in that state. We have reached out to this comrade to suggest that UNATM consider joining the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) as their goals line up with this effort. Specifically, the first three UFPP principles are peace, unity and growth. Through this United Front we can bring together different groups and individuals to fight our common enemy in the criminal injustice system.
I recently wrote to you inquiring about how I can contribute to the struggle within, possibly by joining forces with USW. A few solid brothers and myself are in accordance with the 5 basic key principles/ideas that the United Front for Peace in Prisons represents. However, at Perry Correctional Institution (where I am currently confined), the consciousness is low amongst the masses due to the oppressor's effective psychological warfare tactics being enforced at all angles (fear, divide & conquer, rewards, isolation, etc.). This specific prison is designed to be the "breaking camp" for prisoners, where they train prisoners to be more "obedient" to further assist the oppressor's aim for control and financial advancement.
There are a lot of prisoner violations that occur at this plantation, but one in particular is the grievance system. South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) has recently implemented a procedure where you must first submit a request form to the appropriate officer/supervisor attempting to informally resolve your issue. The officer is then provided 45 days to respond to your request, which most officers refuse to do. If you are lucky enough to receive a response, then you are given only 5 days, including weekends, to submit your grievance after your request form has been answered. Then to add insult to injury, many grievances are never returned and the grievance officials feign ignorance as to what happened to it.
The grievance process/system within South Carolina Department of Corruption is substandard and blatantly violates prisoners' constitutional rights. I am unsure whether South Carolina is covered by the grievance campaign or not, but we are definitely experiencing similar issues in our grievance process and I would like to join this campaign. Please keep me updated in the decisions or proposals for combatting the grievance system and let me know what is needed of me and my comrades here.
Also, please provide any material available which may assist me in awakening the masses of how to fight against the oppressor and how to unite on a common ground with individuals in different groups. I will strive to become a ULK Field Corespondent for South Carolina in the future, whatever I can do to assist the struggle.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend these comrades in South Carolina for coming together around the United Front for Peace principals and doing the work to identify the critical campaign needs in their prison. The grievance campaign is not yet active in South Carolina but we look forward to working with these folks to customize the grievance petition for that state and get the struggle moving forward there. To work on this campaign in your state, write to MIM(Prisons) for a copy of the petition, and if one does not exist for your state you can help by modifying the petition for use there.
Here in the Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU, the psych version of SHU), the inmate-patients are somewhat pacified. In exchange for participating in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) re-education program through "group therapy," inmate-patients, if indigent, are given a loaner TV or radio once they reach the highest level (IV) of program participation. After 12 months at this level, we are eligible to have the remainder of our SHU term suspended.
But, of course, it is blackmail in its baldest form. If you refuse very many groups, they take the TV or radio, refuse to issue your annual package, and you certainly will not be having your SHU term suspended early.
To address something MIM(Prisons) said in the March/April newsletter, it is remarkable to me, at times, exactly how important and influential the american dollar has become in all aspects of global life. I grew up in a conservative Christian and Republican household. Obviously a very capitalist one as well. I've had to re-educate myself politically and economically.
It's true that whether you're talking about CDCR or the state department, the government uses the american dollar and the resultant economy that it creates for the purposes of what I call its "Blackmail propaganda." That is, the using of the dollar and the global american economy to coerce First and Third World nations into behaving as closely in line with the american political, military and economic agendas as they can get away with, particularly when it comes to the military industrial complex.
To bring this closer to home, the prison industrial complex attempts to use commissary, vendor packages, and prison wages as a means to control the behavior of the prison population much the same as the centralized government does with the oppressed majority of the world.
The continued expansion of the exploitative capitalist system requires an ideological prop for the ideology that supports such a system in the superstructure. Our weapon? Our own ideology. How to spread it from here? Work the bourgeois job. Just don't get too attached to it. Take a percentage of the funds that remain after your needs have been met and combat the capitalist and imperialist monster through education. First educate yourself, then through your donations to MIM(Prisons), educate your comrades.
It's easy to rant and rave and call "the man" the pig that he is. But let's not forget who the real pig is: that bloated capitalist machine that goes by the name of "The United States Government." The only way to slaughter that particular pig is through education. Educate the proletariat closest to you. In this situation, your fellow comrades are first. Then your family, friends, and their neighbors.
Comrades, we must be patient. Even the Bolshevik revolution took time.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is right on about the importance of taking money from our bourgeois work and turning it to good use for the revolution. Even prisoners have access to some funds, or can acquire stamps or other resources. And with the opportunity to directly fund expanded education through four additional pages of ULK, the impact of even a small amount of money can be quite significant.
One small point on this letter: we have written previously about why we do not use the term "Prison Industrial Complex" as it implies a financial profit to the prison system that does not exist. Prisons exist as a tool for social control, and are not a key pillar of the decadent U.$. economy, as military production has been for many decades.
I was recently convicted of a major category offense: participating/encouraging others in a work stoppage/group demonstration. My confinement in segregation for 30 days and a loss of 30 days good time was based on a finding that I encouraged a "stoppage of buying commissary."
It is not against the rules to refuse to buy commissary, but I was convicted of encouraging people to not buy commissary. In other words I was convicted of encouraging prisoners to do something that is permitted by the rules.
In the past three years I've been convicted of only one other charge, also a major category offense. I was convicted for refusing to pay $21.50 to obtain a copy of my birth certificate.
The pigs wanted a copy of my birth certificate to put in a file. I was told I could neither see the birth certificate nor have a copy of it. I told the pigs I would give them permission to get a copy at their expense since it was for their files. The pigs refused and demanded I sign a paper granting them permission to take $21.50 from my account. I refused and I was convicted of refusing to comply with programming.
The connection to these two offenses and convictions is the only subject dear to the soul of a kkkapitalist: profit. $21.50 for a photocopy of a sheet of paper is a hefty profit when multiplied by 30,000 prisoners. And multi-million-dollar commissary sales at hugely inflated prices are orgasmic to these pigs. Destroying the swine is the only option.
Soldiers, the only course is to replace the thug and the U.$. go-vermin-ent with an authentic proletarian state. The united snakes kongress and injustice system is kkkorrupted beyond salvation because of imperialist ideals. Like cancer, imperialism has caused every limb and fiber to rot. The truth of kkkapitalist greed is found even in the tiny crevices.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We are seeing growing activism in Virginia prisons this year, which is no doubt leading them to invent these new "offenses" and charge perceived leaders with them. While we agree with this comrade that the prisons are eager to extort money from prisoners whenever possible, there isn't any profit coming directly from prisons themselves. The U.$. prison economy is a money-losing operation, subsidized by profits exploited from the international proletariat. Any money taken from prisoners just helps to offset this loss. This point is important because it underscores the true purpose of the Amerikan prison system: social control.
First and foremost let me say this is not a shot to put down any of my fellow comrades, rather this is a plea to you to step up. I am a young comrade who fortunately had the privilege of being around some good brothers who basically educated and raised me into the revolutionary I am today.
But like many, even though they taught me, they too are part of the problem we face as a whole. I say that because they took a chance with me because I stayed with a book in my hand. But I watched them for years doing the same thing I found myself doing until a year ago: Denying fellow brothers in the struggle knowledge due to stereotypical reasons.
Now don't get me wrong, there are some out there who will hurt our movement more than help, but so many times I see brothers come through with so much fight, so much fire, but they lack the knowledge to do anything with it, so it's useless. And we write them off as a fool, a hothead, and think they're unteachable. And to that I say this: It's time for us to start taking a chance and stop making excuses to not help.
We complain that there's no unity or organization in our movement but we are our own problem. It's not the brothers' fault that don't know any better, it's our fault for not teaching them. It's time for us to start taking responsibility and stop making excuses for why we didn't, and start making a plan for how we can.
This is a call to all my fellow comrades to step up and stop standing down. Stop setting limitations. Oldheads help the young, Blood help the Crip, Black man help the white. Our fight is not each other, it's those who oppose this movement. So stop focusing on the frivolous things that weaken our strength and let's truly stand on what we claim to stand for. Then and only then will we ever have a chance.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We print this call as an antidote to all those who write to us complaining about the lack of unity in their prison without stepping up to do anything about it. We know the battle is uphill; the capitalists have all the power and they create a culture that discourages unity and supports violence and strife. But it is our duty as revolutionaries to create opportunities to build unity. The reporting in Under Lock & Key demonstrates that the imprisoned lumpen are united by their common material conditions, even though individuals are at different stages in terms of how they respond to those conditions. It is logical to begin by uniting those who will listen, but we mustn't stop there if we hope to reach the true potential of unity among the oppressed. Work with the United Front for Peace in Prisons to develop strategies to reach the majority of prisoners and build this on a scale broad enough that we can eventually take down the criminal injustice system as a whole.
Comrades here at Special Management Unit (SMU - long-term isolation) are doing what they can to protest and fight against the illegal housing that they are being subjected to. Prisoners here are going on hunger strikes and are suffering due to the lack of outside support. Further, the DOC has taken actions to keep outside inquiries from being made public and the news media is refusing to expose the inhumane treatment of prisoners in Georgia's SMU unit.
Prisoners are being transferred to SMU for refusing to participate in the so-called tier step down programs they've started in Georgia. The DOC is trying to force lumpen groups to be housed two men in a 24-hour lockdown cell, thus placing prisoners in physical jeopardy, in order to start a war. Just another attempt to enact the Willie Lynch mentality amongst these prisoners. Before, the prisoners enacted peace and brotherhood policies amongst and between the lumpen groups, and there was no tier step down program. So this program is to create strife amongst the brotherhood by building enough stress and confusion to destroy peace that prisoners worked hard to establish.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We have received a lot of reports about the hunger strike in Georgia, and the struggles against SMU classification. The unity and awareness being built in Georgia prisons is definitely frightening the prison administrators. This is an important lesson for organizers: when we build for peace among the lumpen organizations our enemies will take this as a call to war. The United Front for Peace in Prisons is bringing together organizations and individuals in this important battle. Get involved today in building peace in your prison.
On 27 March 2014, a Federal judge in the United States District Court issued an order requiring prison staff to record any use of force, should force be required on a prisoner.
Some other prisoners and I filed a lawsuit because the pigs at Central Prison in Raleigh used blind spots in the current video system to hide from surveillance so they could beat prisoners. We also informed the courts of the "lack of policy for proper method of investigation in any use-of-force incidents."
As a result, Judge Terrance Boyle appointed an expert (former corrections administrator Eldon Vail) to review the prison's surveillance system. Based on several problems he found, he made five recommendations.
North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) prisons adopted four of the recommendations but said using a hand-held video camera is not feasible and placed "undue burden upon Central Prison." However, on Thursday, 27 March 2014 Judge Boyle ordered the fifth recommendation be adopted. His order stated "...defendants are placed on notice that if there is not voluntary compliance and implementation of the recommendation, a preliminary injunction will ensue."
The pigs deny any abuse, saying they used minimal amounts of force required to deal with prisoners characterized as the "worst of the worst" among the prison system's population.
Still the state agreed last year to install more security cameras to cover previously unmonitored areas. But Vail's report said the new cameras still don't monitor all the blind spots where prisoners say the abuse occurs. Vail also reported finding lenses so out-of-focus and smudged with grime that it was difficult to make out what the camera was recording.
The recommendations made by Vail that must be followed are:
Adjust each camera that demonstrates a pattern of "freezing" to improve motion detection sensitivity.
Establish a written preventive maintenance schedule for lens cleaning, camera refocusing and replacement of faulty cameras.
Install additional cameras to view the sally ports of each cell block in Unit 1.
Modify the video surveillance retention policy and procedure to clarify the responsibility to provide notice to the video retention officer to preserve a video by the unit supervisor from the investigator's responsibility to request a copy of the video for the investigation.
Change the use of force policy, SOP 4.100, to require that a handheld video camera operator respond to the scene of spontaneous use-of-force incidents and that a camera remain on until the event is over and [prisoner] has been safely placed in a cell.
This fifth recommendation means that during an anticipated use-of-force (any use-of-force) a hand-held camera will be used until a prisoner is no longer in contact with the pigs.
We are now getting ready for a pretrial conference. But we are one step closer to getting justice. We have at least made the prison safer. Now the pigs will not have anywhere to hide.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This update to the ongoing legal battle in North Carolina is good news for this carefully planned and hard fought legal battle. We know that often we cannot win when fighting abuse by employees of the criminal injustice system in their own courts. But sometimes the courts have to pretend objectivity and, when presented with facts that show the NCDPS is violating their own laws and policies, we can win some improvements to conditions. While the courts won't be where we make revolutionary change, for now we can use them as one tool to struggle against abuse. We must always accompany these court battles with publicity and education about the case, using them to expose both the brutality we are fighting and the injustice when the courts rule against us.
While capitalism advances technology and produces consumables at high rates, most people lack decent health care April 1 - The deadline for enrollment in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed last night, and there are now 4.4 million people in the United $tates newly enrolled in Medicaid health insurance plans sponsored by the federal government, and another 8 million people newly enrolled in government-regulated private insurance plans.(1) Those who do not enroll in any insurance and are not covered by a plan through their family, work or school will face fines. For people with incomes less than 400% of the federal "poverty line," the plans are subsidized by the government, and those with less than 138% of this cut off will receive free health care via Medicaid. In the end, for at least the lumpen class the penalty will actually cost them more than having health insurance would cost.
This new healthcare system in the United $tates, often called "Obamacare," is far from socialist, but it does serve as a good reminder of the failures of capitalism to care for some of the basic needs of imperialist country citizens. The United $tates has had government-run healthcare for military service people and their families since the 1800s, and for the relatively poor, disabled and elderly since the 1960s with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. But these programs serve a minority of Amerikans, leaving the rest to seek health care through insurance provided by their work or through privately purchased plans or by paying directly for services. This means that people out of work or in jobs that don't provide insurance coverage are often left without any health insurance. The ACA attempts to address this problem by providing a government-run program to help insure citizens without coverage.
We're not going to take on the critics who say that health care quality would go down if run by the Amerikan government. These same people would abolish free universal education, privatize water distribution, and eliminate the fire department. This is a debate between different factions of the bourgeoisie, and not worth the time of communists, except to point out that we have fundamentally different values. We have no need to defend the ability of a capitalist government to run these programs well because we don't support capitalist governments. And we know that the profit motive does not make for greater "efficiency", as capitalists like to claim. We see this clearly in the United $tates where food is dumped rather than distributed to people going hungry, and the tremendous waste of money on advertising rather than meeting basic needs.
Communists think about health care the same way we think about education, food, clean water and other basic necessities. These are things we seek to provide to all people indiscriminately. We prioritize basic humyn needs over luxury items like boats, fancy cars, big houses, TVs, etc. Capitalism, on the other hand, functions on the concept that profitable luxury items are a priority over basic humyn needs. While in a matter of years capitalism has gotten hand-held computers into the hands of anyone with a little disposable income, the decades-long struggle against easily preventable diseases in the Third World continues. Millions of children under five years old die each year in southern Asia and Africa south of the Sahara as a result. We believe that the Affordable Care Act should offer these people free health care services as well. While the ACA has proven once again that small reforms in capitalism can be achieved when they serve the interests of imperialist country citizens, capitalism will never allow reforms to improve the lot of the rest of the world. In fact, even within U.$. borders non-citizens are not eligible for insurance under the ACA. Those most in need, working the hardest and most dangerous jobs for the least money, are still denied basic health care.
While it's easy for Amerikans to ignore what goes on outside of their borders, it should be an embarrassment for Amerikan imperialism that the individualism of its citizens is so strong that until now they had refused health care to even their own relatively well-off citizens. Even now, many across the country continue to fight and resist this new law. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, Amerikans who wanted to buy health insurance on their own were often rejected by the health plans for "pre-existing conditions." This means the health plans were picking only the healthiest individuals for insurance, leaving those with even minor history of health problems with no recourse because most insurance plans in the United $tates are privately run for a profit. Now most insurance in this country is still run for profit, but the federal and state governments provide minimum standards of care that must be provided with every policy, and sell these approved insurance plans on a marketplace, in hopes that the market competition inherent in capitalism will increase quality and transparency while reducing cost.
Abolishing the profit motive behind health care will be a priority for communists when we take control of a government. We want to make preventive care and treatment available to all people. The new ACA law in the United $tates does not eliminate private insurance or remove the profit from health care, and it's a fundamentally timid step towards universal coverage for Amerikans. But it does enable people to get health insurance regardless of income or health status. For Amerikan citizens this is progress. And for most it is part of the ongoing bribery of these citizens by the imperialists, ensuring their allegiance to the imperialist system. However, a large number of the uninsured in the United $tates come from the oppressed nation lumpen class, and the ACA is a positive step for the survival and healthy living of this group which has a relatively high material interest in revolution.(3) Overall we see the ACA as a progressive step towards universal health care for everyone in the world, if only because it demonstrates the concept of health care as a basic right.
We will continue to fight for health care for the world's exploited and oppressed, who are mostly found in the Third World, where even basic medical services are difficult to obtain. 801,000 children under age 5 die from diarrhea each year, most of which are caused by lack of access to clean water and sanitation. More than 3 million people die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. 86% of deaths among children under age 5 are preventable and due to communicable, treatable disease, birth issues and lack of nutrition. These abysmal numbers would cost very little to rectify. Truly universal health care is a priority for communists, and the statistics above are just a few reasons why the overthrow of capitalism is literally a life or death issue for the majority of the world's people.
In approximately 1.5 years, between 2 February 2012 and 1 December 2013, there were 50 reported cases of censorship of material sent by MIM Distributors in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). The censored material included copies of MIM Theory and Under Lock & Key, along with informational zines and personal letters.
Out of those 50 reported cases a staggering 78% (39) of them were censored with no reason being given as to why they had been censored. This is typical of the IDOC.
If they do not like a given topic they will ban it without giving any reason why. This is a continuing violation of prisoners' constitutional rights. The only way to combat this injustice is by filing grievances and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil suits.
Resist! Rebel! Defy!
MIM(Prisons) adds: Many facilities in Illinois have enacted total bans on our mail. Get involved in the campaign to fight censorship in Illinois. We need legal help both behind bars from our jailhouse lawyers and from lawyers on the streets.
This computer animated story could have been a feature length ad for the popular children's toy, funded by Lego itself, but it's not hard to read a not-too-subtle communist message into this movie. From the main plot it appears that Marx's conclusions are logical to anyone thinking about organized work and struggle against those dominating the world for persynal gain. What is particularly refreshing about this movie is the strong theme that heroes are not people with special talent but rather the masses are all heroes when we unleash their creativity.
The movie starts off in Lego world with regular ordinary construction worker Emmet, as he follows the instruction booklet for life, produced by the Octan Corporation, which details how he should dress, what music to listen to, the expensive coffee to drink, what brainless TV to watch, and how to do his job working with lots of other people building things that are without purpose and will be torn down to be built again another day. These workers are uncreative, but very cooperative in their work.
When it comes time to fight back against President Business, the CEO of Octan Corp., who is trying to dominate the world, it is Emmet who realizes that the collective organization of the workers is indispensable to building the resistance against Octan. In fact, the Lego heros (batman, spaceman, superman, NBA players, etc.) find their heroic individualism an impediment in their attempts to fight back as an organized group.
These are themes of Marxism, which sees that the organized labor of the industrial proletariat will make up the leadership of the communist revolution because of their unique position exposed directly to the contradiction of collective labor being deployed for individual profit. But there is another layer to this Marxist theme because the workers are not actually proletarian in the Lego land. There is no profit in the construction work which appears to just be happening to keep everyone busy. The workers are paid a high salary, judging from Emmet's living conditions. In reality these workers are a labor aristocracy just like we have in the imperialist countries today, where workers are bought off with the superprofits from exploitation of unseen workers in the Third World. The complete lack of productivity of the Lego workers underscores the impossibility that they are the ones creating the profits. No longer a part of the proletariat in the real world, these workers will defend imperialism against revolutionary forces to maintain their elevated standard of living. So we wouldn't actually expect them to lead the revolution that is serving the interests of the global proletariat.
However, at some point a contradiction may arise that is such a threat to the labor aristocracy that they will be compelled to join the forces of revolution. This threat will likely be life threatening, like Lord Business's plot to kill everyone. But until that contradiction arises, we should expect the labor aristocracy to join in the chorus of the Lego theme song "Everything is Awesome," and continue their unproductive labor, enjoying their capitalist-created entertainment.
In the beginning of the movie Vitruvius, the white-haired god-like leader of the forces of good, prophesies that there will be an individual who will rise up to lead the resistance and foil the ultimate plot of Lord Business. These strong religious overtones are nicely dispelled later when Vitruvius confesses that he made up the prophesy because he thought it would help average people believe in themselves, and in fact he knows that the creativity of the masterbuilders (heroes) exists within everyone.
In the end Emmet is able to convince Lord Business that he doesn't have to be evil and so the communist theme is undermined by the pacifist view that we can convince those with money and power to give up exploiting and oppressing the people of the world. Communists know that this fairytale ending is far from the reality that will require violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie, and ongoing military force to keep them from reclaiming power until we can transform society and create a culture that does not nurture individualism and profit over people.
The New Afrikan Maoist Brotherhood (NAMB) is a collective committed to the study and propagation of New Afrikan Political Philosophy. We see the lack of political consciousness amongst the masses of New Afrikans, along with the multiple and diverse aims of our semi-colonized nation. Therefore we see it as our duty to take the much-called-for initiative so that the New Afrikan liberation and independence movement's aims and objectives do not die out in vain in this or the next generation. We, as students to communist thought, understand that the beginning of national liberation starts with mass political education. Hence, our current organizational structure is that of a study group, which we intend to develop and multiply inside and outside of prison. NAMB stands with the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). The principles of the UFPP are important for the following reasons (but not limited to):
The prison environment can become a violent place to dwell. But our enemies want just that. It is counter-revolutionary for the lumpen proletariat to waste our time, resources and energy fighting our comrades in the struggle. We must transform our thinking and in turn transform our environment. We must make prison a "school of revolution," where we invest into each other, by using such terms as "Each one Teach one" so that we create in ourselves and for ourselves, leaders of our communities.
Reckless warring and fighting will not aid the lumpen organizations. That's why the first principle of peace is so important. Unity is the key! The enemy divides the lumpen into smaller and smaller illusionary sections, and we play into it. We internalize divisive thinking, not thinking about the ill-effects this capitalist thinking has. We must unite!
Unity will in turn produce Growth (the third principle) in ourselves and in our collective. And this growth and unity are weapons against the capitalist imperialists who seek to continue their exploitation of the people.
The New Afrikan Maoist Brotherhood supports and stands by these principles of the UFPP. From our Conservative Vice Lord and Mafia Insane Vice Lord upbringing we have come to know of our national liberation struggle, for the nation of New Afrika. And coming to this awareness, we have recognized our national allies in the First Nations, Latino/as and all those who are in the Third World that face the same oppressive enemy as us. We understand that national liberation of our semi-colonized nations will be counter weights in the international war against capitalist-imperialism, and so we support all nations and all fronts and parties to this battle. For this is in the spirit of internationalism.
The long legacy of socialism and communism teaches that in building revolution and nation-building, the people, led by a vanguard party, must develop independent institutions that will "serve the people" - both by providing for their needs and in a form of public teaching of "learning thru practice." Independence, the last principle of the UFPP, is one of the building blocks of national self-determination, without which an independent nation cannot stand!
These 5 principles can be drawn from by all lumpen organizations inside prison and also even incorporated into the communities where our organizations are based. It's "nation time" comrades! It's time for us to think and live outside of our individual selves and dedicate our lives, minds, spirits, energy and resolve to making the world a better place! And that can only happen if we all have a place to live free and openly express ourselves. But, freedom only comes to those willing to die for it.
Like in past years, I will begin to plan a few months ahead of time for the revolutionary festival of September 9. This day is a special one which marks the day when the United Front for Peace in Prisons was given its first concrete example in these dungeons. I attempt to have educational study materials available on this day, which usually includes poetry, short stories or articles, and of course some art if possible.
In the past I helped read articles and poetry on the tier which reflected on prisons and what it means to be prisoners. So many times people forget that what we experience is unbridled oppression and instead think that we somehow brought it upon ourselves. This backwards thinking only helps to solidify our own mental captivity! This day helps to refocus our attention of who we are as people and what is the path forward for the next year in our struggle for humyn rights in these dungeons.
I have heard different ways of observing this day, from having an open line on the tier where folks get a certain "air time" to share their ideas on what they feel will move the humyn rights struggle forward. Others talk about creating conscious rap to be performed on the tier. The main thing I hear is folks being ready to promote peace in prison. It is a time to help to heal the people outside of state influence.
MIM(Prisons) adds: September 9 will be the third annual United Front for Peace in Prisons solidarity demonstration. This demonstration coincides with the anniversary of the Attica uprising. On this day prisoners should create ways to work towards greater peace among the prison population. We will cease all prisoner-on-prisoner hostilities regardless of set, race, custody, gender, religion or other division. Some will fast, engage in solidarity organizing, and carry out educational work. Start planning now for your September 9 solidarity day.
Greetings to all revolutionary comrades who are kaptive in the gulags of these United Snakes of a Amurderer (U.$.). I write on behalf of E-NUF, an organization we formed to develop revolutionary consciousness in those held kaptive, and to compel direct action to agitate the enemy.
Here we issue our formal statement of unity with the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. We recognize the importance of all the principles. It is through growth and unity that we can have peace amongst the kaptive lumpen irregardless of nation. And it is through the creation of independent institutions that we can develop internationalism.
We recognize our existence as being a part of the lumpen class. We believe when we unite as a conscious class the contradictions existing between the exploiter class (imperialism) and the oppressed (ourselves) become clear, exposing our true enemy. Through unity we can develop the best strategies to fight our way out of the grip of imperialism.
As kaptives we seek to ignite the spark first within our class. Revolutionary power to the kaptive lumpen.
My most sincere revolutionary greetings to all strugglers. Just a short note informing the world on the haps here on master Martin's plantation.
On Thursday, 27 February 2014, during Black history month a white Christian band was brought in to perform on the rec yard. Upon attending the function, prisoners were ordered to sit on the grass by staff. By the time the show began only about 30 prisoners stayed sitting on the ground. The whole compound went back inside. Feeling insulted and embarrassed, the administration took dictator-style action. They entered the dorms where the prisoners had already been placed on lock down for not participating in a religious event. The officers announced loudly in the dorm that "all who refuse to participate in the religious event on the yard will not only be kept on lock down, but their cells will be shook down and their personal property will be ransacked." So to avoid our personal property from being ransacked and thrown away, everybody from every dorm went to the yard and sat on the ground. How is that for the First Amendment?
Martin Correctional Institution happens to be one of the plantations at which the Veteran's Program is allowed. Not a problem, except that when the U.S. flag is being risen and put down with the sounding of the trumpet, all prisoners on the walkway must stop walking in honor of the flag or be disciplined, even placed in confinement. Dead-ass serious.
Enclosed is a disciplinary report (D.R.) written by Martin CI mail man Mr. Payne, accusing me of mail violation because I wrote a letter to Boston ABC some time in early 2013 concerning a petition regarding the Keefe Commissary network. The letter mentions that I stated that I placed a petition online. This must be a mistake considering the fact that the petition had been online long before I was informed of it and promoted it. It's also a known fact that I did not post or initiate the petition. Be that as it may, I pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 30 days on D.R. confinement, which I'm currently serving.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The political repression this comrade is currently facing for authoring an article protesting high commissary costs is a good example of why we do not print prisoners' names in Under Lock & Key. The pigs have too much control over our comrades' lives to let them know who is doing what all the time and not have it come back to bite us.
We can also add a concerted effort to censor Under Lock & Key to the list of political repression going on in Florida recently. They do things that piss people off, and then censor ULK for being "inflammatory" by reporting on it.
My fellow comrades and I follow the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons, however it is a nonstop struggle to open the eyes of the people here. That was the reason I started the lumpen organization (LO) that I am a part of now. I am being held in Supermax for direct action that I took to stand up to the swine for manhandling my comrade.
I am a comrade who happens to be white, and I started the LO to have multiple races in it. I am looked upon as a different breed because there are no LOs doing that. I base the foundation off of revolutionary communist principles. After studying Marx, Mao, even the Panthers, Huey, G. Jackson and the G. Jackson brigade (most of whom happened to be white), I took the oath to live by as well as die by this. I will hold my fist up till the very end. In fact I intend to die for the cause whenever that day may be, but I try my best to lead by my actions.
Yes I am hated by many. The swine truly hate me, I mean deeply. In fact, I have been told by the top brass, or white shirts as we call them, that they will kill me. They have beat me a few times while I was handcuffed and maced; most of this was at the slave camp in Lucasville. It's a free-for-all on prisoners there. The pigs harrass us for fun and indeed they get rewarded and get promotions. There have been so many coverups there, including the murders of many prisoners.
The LO I started is Greatness Over Other Desires Fellas Equals Love Loyalty And Solidarity. We are called GF or Goodfellas for short. They are now trying to kill the LO. I was the one who was giving the info and teaching them, and now they got me locked in Supermax. My main aim was and is to bring the indepth race issue to the forefront. It's a major issue here in Ohio prisons, as I'm sure in all prisons.
MIM(Prisons) adds: The United Front for Peace in Prison principles this comrade mentions are Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism and Independence. They are printed on page 2 of every issue of ULK. Below are some basic steps all groups can follow to get involved in this United Front.
Study and uphold the five principles of the united front.
Send your organization's name and a statement of unity to MIM(Prisons). Your statement can explain what the united front principles mean to your organization, how they relate to your work, why they are important, etc.
Develop peace and unity between factions where you are at on the basis of opposing oppression of all prisoners and oppressed people in general.
Send reports on your progress to Under Lock & Key. Did you develop a peace treaty or protocol that is working? Send it in for others to study and possibly use. Is your unity based on actions? Send us reports on the organizing you are doing.
Keep educating your members. The more educated your members are, the more unity you can develop, and the stronger your organization can become. Unity comes from the inside out. By uniting internally, we can better unite with others as well. Contact MIM(Prisons)'s Free Political Books for Prisoners Program if you need additional materials to educate your members in history, politics and economics.
Throw a fist in the air for Fred, George, and Marx Oppression we override all it takes is heart This is for my comrades who recognize the trap This a unified movement far from a rap Let's seize the time the government we overthrow And eliminate spies informing on the low All nations we together as one With our lives on the line freedom shall come Nothing is given, it's taken and demanded It's a war with the oppressed left standing Organize your mind focus on the war Dumping on the pigs, peace to Assata Shakur The struggle on the rise this I truly see This is dedicated to the people who standing on their feet It's a war going on nobody is safe Birthing solid troops who don't bind, fold or break The past is present and the present is the past Oppressed against oppressor forever we clash 21 guns comrades truly honored Too many sold us out I call 'em transformers All power to the people who fear nothing on this land We learn from the past with an organized plan United Blood Nation riding with the Panthers I'm standing on mine with revolutionary standards In this war blood must be shed Either them or us that's what Denmark said I pledge allegiance to the struggle my life is dedicated My words uplift for those who motivated First and foremost all my true brothers stand up We will never fall cause we always stand up!
por un@ prisioner@ en California March 2014 permalink
El mayor propósito de la publicación #7 de Bajo Llave & Candado es el mostrar quién y quienes no quieren la paz. También nos enfocaremos linea ya - sostenida - por tiempo de que los presos no logran nada desuniendose y peleando entré sí mismos o con el personal de la prisión. Cada prisión que censura este boletín reconoce que la paz entre los presos va en contra de su meta la cual según llaman "seguridad," y además sostiene nuestra tesis presentada abajo.
El tiempo ha comprobado … que la deferencia ciega a los oficiales de las correccionales no les hace un verdadero servicio. El asunto judicial con la regularidad de procedimiento tiene relación directa sobre el mantenimiento de la orden institucional; el cuidado ordenado con el cual las autoridades de la prisión haces sus decisiones esta íntimamente relacionado al nivel de respeto con el cual los prisioneros observan esa autoridad.
No hay nada más corrosivo a la estructura de una institución pública, como una prisión, que aquellos a los que contiene tengan el sentimiento que están siendo tratados injustamente." Palmigiano v. Baxter, 487 F.2d 1280, 1283 (CA1 1973). Como lo notó el Juez Principal en Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. @ 408 U.S. 484, "Tratamiento justo…aumentará la oportunidad de la rehabilitación evitando reacciones de arbitrariedad." - opinión disentido de Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974)
Nuestros registros de rastreo hablan por si mismos. Por lo menos docenas de presos y ex-prisioneros han dejado esas vidas que alguna vez incluían ataques físicos a los policías, y a menudo peleas contras personas, después de haber tomado la lucha anti-imperialista mediante MIM. Desafortunadamente, nuestra información esta un poquito desertada pues solo podemos hablar por los prisioneros con los que estamos en contacto. Depende de un investigador ambicioso el demostrar estadísticamente que esos envueltos en el anti-imperialismo son menos violentos que aquellos que no. (o más así como las oficinas de correo de las prisiones a lo largo del país sostienen en este caso).
Mientras tanto, hay una abundancia de estudios que enseñan como todo tipo de programas educacionales y familiares ayudan a reducir la violencia y el carácter anti-social. (1) Desafortunadamente, en un sistema enfocado en el castigo y a condenar al ostracismo a grupos de personas, estos programas son usados para manipular en vez de rehabilitar. Las prisiones de EE.UU. que ofrecen estos programas lo hacen con el esfuerzo de tentar a los presos con una zanahoria. Tomando este enfoque individualista ellos no están verdaderamente invirtiendo en paz o progreso. Cuando las prioridades cambian y un preso pierde su trabajo, o ya no puede ver a sus seres queridos, entonces ya no existe el incentivo para ser pacifico. En contraste, una dedicación a la lucha por un mundo sin opresión no puede ser quitado por administradores futuros de la prisión.
En décadas de trabajo el Movimiento Internacionalista Maoista nunca ha roto leyes burgueses. En años de trabajo, tampoco MIM(Prisiones) lo ha hecho.
Miembros de MIM y miembros de MIM(Prisiones) siempre se les ha prohibido el romper la ley.
La literatura de MIM nunca ha promovido romper la ley o tomar armas en contra del gobierno de los EE.UU. o algún gobierno u organización local de hecho.
Cada publicación de Under Lock & Key, el periodico de MIM(Prisiones), anima a que los presos obedezcan las leyes y evadir conflictos físicos.
La experiencia anecdótica provee evidencia de un modelo de violencia reducida entre prisioneros que se han envuelto en programas educativos guiados por el MIM y/o compañías organizacionales.
A pesar de las verdades enlistadas arriba, nuestros programas y materiales son rechazados rutinariamente a los presos a lo largo de los EE.UU. A finales del 2007, lanzamos nuestra página de internet donde hemos grabado 509 incidentes de censura. La mayoría de esa censura es para MIM(Prisiones). De estos, 11 dicen STG - "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad," 34 dicen "Seguridad" en general, 14 dicen una amenaza de "violencia," y 26 dicen de nuestra amenaza a la "ley" como la razón de la censura. Además, 164 tomaron lugar en California, donde todo el correo de MIM fue prohibido porque supuestamente "aboga el tomar el poder público mediante lucha armada y derribar las administraciones de las prisiones "quitandoles el control."(2) Mientras que las luchas legales recientes de un camarada en California han traído a la luz un documento que inválida esta prohibición, esta aún se sigue aplicando en muchas de las prisiones donde MIM(prisiones) tenía una multitud de lectores. La mayoría del resto de los incidentes de censura caen bajo varias categorías de "inaceptable," "no permitido," "no autorizado:, "rechazado" o no se daba ni siquiera una razón.
Security Threat Group (STG) o "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad," es la palabra de moda adquirida en los años 1990 que se aplica a organizaciones políticas y callejeras por igual, muchos según llamados "profesionales correccionales" afirman que MIM(Prisons) es un STG. Pero exactamente, ¿para quién somos una amenaza a la seguridad? Copiando el lenguaje del precedente marco de jurisprudencia, se usa frecuentemente como "perjudicial a la seguridad, buen orden, o disciplina de la institución o […] que facilitaria actividad criminal." El problema con el fraseo de la decisión de esta corte es que muchas prisiones interpretan que significa que si tu le dices a prisioneros que presenten demandas, escriban a la prensa, que se unan a organizaciones o entablar un juicio en respuesta a la tortura, abuso físico, falta de cuidado médico, censura, etcétera, entonces tu estas amenazando el buen orden o disciplina de la institución. (THORNBURGH v. ABBOTT, 490 U.S. 401 (1989))
Revisiones de esta y otra jurisprudencia demuestran que bajo capitalismo en America, prisioneros realmente tienen derechos y la interpretación dearriba es una violación a ellos. El real significado de esta ley sería permitir a administradores de las prisiones a censurar materiales que fomentan real e inmediatas amenazas de riesgo y seguridad, tal como planear atacar a alguien más en la prisión o contrabandear armas. El caso más reciente condenando encerrocratas por prevenir a prisioneros recibir materiales que promueven resistencia legal, fue justo el año pasado cuando un camarada en Wisconsin, ganó su pleito en la corte federal.(3)
En algunos casos la administración de la prisión ha interpretado la ley de la misma manera que nosotros lo hacemos, pero todavia afirma que violamos esta al representar una amenaza de riesgo y seguridad. El boletin de prohibición de California, citado arriba es un ejemplo de esto. En estos casos además, no estamos de acuerdo hasta el punto de llegar a involucrar a las cortes burguesas.
El memorándum de Octubre del 2006 del Director del CDCR Scott Kernan prohibiendo publicaciones de MIM (supuestamente no todo nuestro correo) tiene completamente inexactas declaraciones en este, tales como el citado arriba. Si fuera posible demostrar que MIM fomento o violó la ley sin mentir, uno de los abogados del estado ya habría hecho esto. Su defensa favorita en muchos estados es esconderse detrás de las paredes de la prisión, en vez de mentir como Scott Kernan lo hizo. Por eso es que oficiales del estado necesitan ser públicamente responsables en cualquier sociedad que alega democracia en cualquier forma.
Desde oficiales de corrección hasta el director, desempeñan el papel al pie de la letra del burócrata intentando defender su institución corrupta, y para poder actuar en el nombre de trabajos lucrativos. Nosotros admitimos ser una amenaza a los trabajos de oficiales corruptos e instituciones abusivas, como cualquier consciente ciudadano debe ser. En esta edición leerás historias de planes frustrados de paz, violentos montajes, y riesgo de pago para los C.O.s. Varios de los sindicatos representando a los así llamados oficiales de paz, son algunos de los mas fuertes en el país y su principal herramienta de influencia es la seguridad personal. Ellos dicen "estamos poniendo nuestras vidas en juego para proteger tus mierdas, es mejor que nos paguen bien." Por lo tanto la inherente motivación por más violencia, más motines, más miembros de gangas "validados" y más máxima seguridad y prisiones supermax. Todo esto significa más dinero en sus bolsillos.
Por lo general, Amerikanos en su totalidad se benefician de sus posiciones de poder sobre los oprimidos. Ciudadanos Estadounidenses de clase media se benefician por ser miembros del grupo de gente quienes pueden ser policías o que pueden consiguen trabajos similares como opresores en el sistema de injusticia criminal, y se benefician de los servicios que los policias proporcionan manteniendo lineas entre los grupos sociales.
Esto no es solo una motivación individualista de un pago más alto, esto es además una conciencia nacional que es necesaria para crear la mentalidad de "Nosotros vs. Ellos," que es necesaria para dirigir prisiones de la manera que ellos lo hacen en los Estados Unidos. Un ejemplo esta conciencia surgió durante el reinado de terror de Guiliani en la ciudad de Nueva York en los años 1990s, cuando el New York Times reportó que la mayoría de residentes blancos estaban conformes con la conducta de la policía que ellos veían, mientras que nueve de diez de Negras sintieron que "la policía se dedicaba en la brutalidad contra Negras."(4)
Estas normas nacionales de "ellos contra nosotros" fueron creadas por los colonizadores blancos y esta profundamente dentro de la historia de arrebatos de tierras y comercio de esclavos. Después del tiempo esto forzó al oprimido a ver el mundo de una manera similarmente dividida, dejando a los opresores con dos alternativas; ellos pueden retractarse y usar esto como una justificación para su propia brutalidad o pueden disminuir la contradicción. Nuestro análisis de imperialismo y la contradicción principal predice que Amerikanos no pueden disminuir la contradicción, y hasta ahora hemos probado tener la razón. Y eso es porque prisiones de Estados Unidos llegaron a ser un pequeño mundo perversamente violento de la sociedad Amerikana.
Mientras que creemos que policías y oficiales correccionales en general tienen intereses conferidos para oponerse a nuestros esfuerzos para promover paz, estamos actuando en un Frente Unido con algunos empleados del enorme sistema de justicia criminal quienes están mas interesados en llegar a casa con sus familias cada noche, que consiguir una chance de pago y nuevos juguetes de alta tecnología para jugar. Esto es poco probable en lugares como California donde la historia ya ha mostrado que les pasa a los empleados de las prisiones que hablan contra estos intereses. En una nota asociada, MIM(Prisons) no amenaza las vidas de las personas ni induce gente al suicidio, ni lleva a cabo asesinatos.
Muchos empleados de las prisiones afirman que MIM(Prisons) es una amenaza porque animamos a prisioneros a organizarse. Miramos a la historia otra vez, y ayudamos a sofocar esos temores tomando una mirada a dos de los mas grandes ejemplos de prisioneros organizadose ellos mismos: Attica y Walpole. En la rebelión de Attica en 1971, no fueron asesinados oficiales correccionales hasta que la Guardia Nacional entró y baleó a muerte a 11 empleados junto con 29 prisioneros. Hasta ese punto los prisioneros de Attica habían organizado una sociedad dirigida democráticamente dentro de las paredes de la prisión, incluyendo cosas tales como su propia comida y servicios médicos, mientras que estaban negociando con el Estado en nombre de todos los prisioneros. A los guardias se les dio trato superior todo el tiempo.
Un par de años más tarde, prisioneros en Walpole se les fue permitido dirigir la prisión ellos mismos cuando el sindicato de los guardias se fue a la huelga. Ellos crearon servicios similares como los prisioneros de Attica, y en realidad incrementaron la eficiencia de operación de la prisión con los guardias y burócratas fuera del camino. Esto mostró que tan pronto como a principios de los años 70s, que a los guardias de prision se le pagaban altos salarios por hacer nada. Desde entonces la población de la prisión se ha incrementado ocho veces, haciendo engordar la labor aristocrática con trabajos de salarios más altos a lo largo del camino.
Los prisioneras funcionando pacíficamente sin supervisores impactó a los puercos, quienes entonces empezaron a correr rumores acerca de motines dentro de Walpole. Los motines nunca sucedieron, y de hecho hubo a fin a toda violencia y violaciones durante la semanas en que los guardias de la prisión estuvieron ausentes, y por algún tiempo después. Esta clase de rumores continuos no es única a un grupo particular de guardias malévolos. En vez de eso, ellos estaban representando el mismo interés heredado de esta clase de gente. En los últimos 15 a 20 años en California, ellos han tenido éxito en crear una atmósfera de disturbios y violencia. Unicamente la minoría lleva a cabo su-mismo-interés en paz, porque esta es una amenaza a sus trabajos como clase.
Desafortunadamente, podemos esperar mucha violencia de los opresores antes de que podamos esperar un honesto juicio de lo que esta pasando en estos reservados calabozos. La gente quiere paz ahora. Comunidades que están siendo ocupadas, encarceladas y bombardeadas quieren un inmediato fin a la violencia.
Huey P. Newton dijo que le corresponde al opresor decidir si satisfacer tales demandas del oprimido pasan de una manera pacifica o de una manera violenta. Frantz Fanon dijo que la violencia es parte del desarrollo humanista y nueva conciencia entre la gente. Aún si Fanon esta en lo correcto, toma mucho para presionar a las multitudes hasta el punto de violencia como Huey lo indicó. Esto es obvio con la tanta gente que ha pasado más días en sumisión pacifica que estos quienes no. Resistencia violenta de la gente surgirá como esta sea necesitada por los que monopolizan violencia a través de su propio poder.
MIM(prisons) únicamente entabla y promueve medios legales para combatir injusticia. Cuando el personal de las prisiones reprime cada salida educacional y legal para prisioneros para reparación de sus quejas, entonces se hace claro que clase de estrategias están promoviendo. En esas prisiones, predecimos que habrá violencia, y ellos no pueden culparnos de esto porque ellos nos han mantenido fuera.
Esto es igual a lo que decimos de todas las luchas por justicia alrededor del mundo. Creemos que la violencia es necesaria para acabar con la injusticia porque la historia ha mostrado que el opresor nunca para de oprimir de una u otra manera. No queremos fomentar violencia, estamos simplemente declarando nuestra conclusión leyendo la historia. En cada caso de guerra revolucionaria, dependió del opresor decidir si la violencia fuera usada o no. La historia muestra que lo mismo ha sido verdad en el movimiento de los derechos en la prisión; la lucha por los derechos de los prisioneros ha llegado a ser únicamente violenta cuando el Estado ha iniciado la violencia.
Vea además The Nation, March 4, 2005: "Estudios claramente han mostrado que participantes en educación dentro de la prisión, vocación y programas de trabajo tienen índices de reincidencia de 20 a 60 por ciento más bajos que los no participantes. Otro reciente y mayor estudio de prisioneros encontró que participantes en programas de educación eran 29 por ciento menos probables de terminar de regreso a prisión, y que participantes han ganado un salario más alto en libertad." 2. El texto completo de esta carta esta disponible en nuestro sitio web a lo largo con ciento de toneladas de otros documentos relacionados a la prohibición de California: https://www.prisoncensorship.info/campaigns/ca/ (si tu eras un preso de California probablemente ya la has visto.) 3. Lorenzo Johnson v. Rick Raemisch, Daniel Westfield, and Michael Thurmer, Case No. 07-C-390-C US District Court Western District of Wisconsin. Disponible pronto en nuestra página de archivo. 4. Hayden, Tom. Street Wars. The New Press, 2005, p.108.
Franklin Correctional Facility is a medium classification prison that does its best to oppress. Rules are broken on a constant basis by this administration. Their need to control every tiny moment and movement really displays their fears of us ever getting on the same page to take action. I'm not speaking riot, just trading info and court actions when it comes to confronting their gestapo tactics. The physical beatings in front of others by guards has placed fear into many hearts so that writing a grievance is taboo.
As an Orientation Facilitator, I used to inform those coming to this prison what to expect and how to protect themselves. Someone snitched on me and I was fired.
I wrote a total of 42 grievances but it was never enough for me. The next step was to meet the oppressors face to face, and I became the Inmate Liaison Committee (ILC) Chairman, and that's when the fireworks started. Contempt and hatred for me was freely displayed. I stayed on my horse until I was set up with a misbehavior report that sent me to the box.
When I got out I tried to get back to the ILC but was always stonewalled. My so-called peers refused to assist me, claiming it would hamper their agenda and they don't want any trouble. In other words they are comfortable and satisfied. Sellouts is what I call them. In order for any progress to take place snitches and sell-outs must be contained. Corrections depends on them for their services. The "I don't want to get involved" types complain and bitch but don't take any action. 1,700 prisoners reside here and about 20 will lay a pen game down. Law library sucks because the workers want to get paid to do nothing for you.
The prisoner organizations are so controlled that we are not allowed to advertise how to become a member. We are told what to spend and where to spend. I say let's organize and write Corrections in Albany, but my prisoner peers say we don't want to cause any trouble. How can people who weren't afraid to break the law be afraid to write in defending yourself or make a point. Even if you don't know how, ask someone. Make the pen your gun.
The capitalist company Corcraft runs sweatshops in this prison to make officer and prisoner clothing. Guys can't wait to work for them because it pays the best in comparison to 10 to 20 cents an hour for other assignments. Commissary prices continue to increase.
Any time I attempt to band us together in writing grievances and Article 78s someone snitches on me. Microphones are placed in the library, chapel and other places we congregate. How can any movement get generated when dudes snitch or are going home soon? I have done all I can, but fear and the lack of education gives corrections an all-systems-go for future oppression in a big way. We are losing in this injustice system and a lot of us don't care to know how to win. Organize!
MIM(Prisons) responds: Our work in the criminal injustice system in Amerika involves a constant battle between those who see the value in uniting to fight the system, and those who are taken in by the bribery offered by the prisons in exchange for complacency or snitching. This contradiction exists throughout the prison system in this country, but in some states we are winning more unity and strength while in others the anti-imperialist forces are still a small minority. New York state still does not have a grievance campaign while prisoners in twelve other states have already stepped up to push this important work forward. There was an important action last year in Auburn Correctional Facility in New York, where prisoners joined the food strike in California.
Activists must evaluate the conditions in their state and their prison, and then determine what they can do to most effectively educate and organize other prisoners. In some states this may involve mass protest, in others we are still at the point of building study cells and educating whoever is willing to talk with us. Wherever your struggle is at, MIM(Prisons) can provide material to help with the educating and organizing.
Where I come from is The Avenues And every corner that you turn you gotta know how to choose Cuz life is ruff, only the strong can survive Many of my homeboys since I've grown up have died 43rd and Figueroa till Cypress and Division The culture has fallen, the killing has risen Dogtown, Clover, Frogtown, and Toonerville Puro Chicanos and their own blood they spill Then Glassel, Eastlake, Brick City, and more We all are Mexicanos, living in a war Killing each other and in jail claiming Sur El tiempo es ahora to unite in the neighborhood Y quien no le gusta - aqui para Don't talk behind my back dimelo en la cara I speak this way so we can learn A true veterano's only concern First la familia then the neighborhood Check the youngsters and teach them real good Exactly wut it means to be in a gang Cuz you can walk that walk and talk that slang But only with a gun in your hand are you brave Put another Mexicano to fill the grave Si eres chingon y valiente Fight with your hands en caliente If he beats you down you can still shake hands The same way our ancestors fought in the land The ones who made it gacho fue el gabacho And the system that they made is the one that gots you Fighting each other killing your own race Then give you 25 to life and laugh in your face Not time served, you'll serve time Cuz you were stupid enuff to kill your own kind It's from The Avenues, please don't lose your mind Don't kill your own kind!