Under Lock & Key Issue 42 - January 2015

Under Lock & Key

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[United Front] [Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 42]
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Agreement to End Hostilities is the Main Struggle in CA

In early December 2014, we received a letter from a comrade who had recently run into a number of revolutionaries who had been held in Pelican Bay SHU since it opened in 1988. He wrote,

I am writing to say thank you for all of your work and all that you do for us convicts, political activists, freedom fighters and all parties of the struggle. The last hunger strike achieved a lot. Many of the political prisoners housed in Pelican Bay have been released, due to the step down program. Some have been released to step 5 — mainline. Others step 3 and 4 at Corcoran I, or Tehachapi SHUs. But they are close to getting out there. I had the pleasure of talking with [a handful of these comrades] on the bus from Pelican Bay. All of the individuals mentioned had been in Pelican Bay since it opened in 1988, and had arrived from Tehachapi.

We spoke candidly about many things and all parties expressed a deep desire to push and maintain the Agreement to End Hostilities. Even the youngsters smiled and saluted the end to the senseless racial violence of old. For we can overcome obstacles and achieve our definite chief aims by understanding the true cause of our racial divides, which were always perpetuated by the administration to bring about our demise.

Our 20 representatives are doing a great job to maintain order and a common goal. By 2017 or 2018 the entire leadership from all sides should be out. Once that happens I would love to see all political and revolutionary parties establish a round table, power house, to jointly and successfully build the most powerful revolutionary structure the United States have ever known.

We are pleased that some of the leaders in Pelican Bay will be gaining relief from decades of solitary confinement soon. But we need to be clear that the Step Down Program being employed will not have an overall positive effect. In the article "(Un)Due Process of Validation and Step Down Programs" from ULK 41, cipactli explained how the Step Down Program to get out of isolation actually legitimizes the validation process, and why they will not be participating in it. And there is still no plan by the state of California to shut down the torture cells altogether, as new prisoners continue to fill the empty spots. Even this comrade notified us of plans for another strike in Corcoran where the state has not upheld its end to the agreement made after the 2012 strikes. Getting some people out of the torture cells may create opportunities, but alone it doesn't change the conditions overall. We must push a campaign of total abolition of the SHU.

All that said, the Agreement to End Hostilities continues strong, and we were glad to receive word of some of these comrades regaining humane conditions on the mainline where their important work can have more impact. Without the end to hostilities between prisoners, there is little hope of ever ending torture in California prisons. Recently, comrades from the New Afrikan Revolutionary Nationalism (NARN) Collective Think Tank (NCTT) in Corcoran SHU put out a good article reinforcing the strategic importance of the Agreement to End Hostilities as well.(1) Below are some excerpts.

They intentionally pit the New Afrikan prisoner against the Mexican prisoner, the prisoner from the North against the prisoner from the South, the European prisoner against the New Afrikan prisoner, the young prisoner against the old prisoner, the Kiwe against the Damu, the folks against the people, the European have-nots from one group against the European have-nots from another — and for decades WE ALLOWED them to do this to us.

They used our antagonisms, antagonisms born of this system they created, as a basis to erect torture units — Security Housing Units (SHUs) — and a system of mass incarceration which continues to devastate the working class and the poor. They broadcast our conflicts and contradictions to an uninformed public to secure ever larger portions of the social product (taxes), further enriching themselves, their industry and their labor aristocracy — as we were further dehumanized and despised.

Just like the slaves of the chattel era, many of us helped them out by embracing this fiction, these manufactured categorizations, and fought each other with delusional gusto, as they built a monolith of money and political power in pools of our blood... until the Agreement to End Hostilities was announced; and just like that — hundreds of years of capitalist institutional exploitation was immediately put in jeopardy.


"Only social practice can be the criterion of truth ... Marxist philosophy holds that the most important problem does not lie in understanding laws of the objective world and thus being able to explain it, but in applying the knowledge of these laws actively to change the world." — Mao Zedong

Correct ideas come only from social practice. In two short years since the Agreement to End Hostilities was enacted by a relatively small population of prisoners, it has manifested itself into a social force which has accomplished the liberation from SHU of some of the most severely tortured prisoners in the history of modern imprisonment.

...

The Agreement to End Hostilities offers our communities the opportunity to confront and overcome our own internal contradictions while forging new areas of social cooperation from which closer and more harmonious relationships may emerge.

"This new humanity cannot do otherwise than define a new humanism both for itself and for others. It is prefigured in the objectives and methods of the conflict. A struggle which mobilizes all classes of the people and which expresses their aims and their impatience, which is not afraid to count almost exclusively on the people's support, will of necessity triumph." — Frantz Fanon

When social cooperation is strengthened, state power and oppression is always weakened. Our capacity to manufacture and mobilize underclass political power — not to validate the bourgeois political process but to expose its contradictions, truly democratize its mechanisms and reclaim our human right to influence society — will determine if we are collectively capable of conquering our rights. Abolition of the slavery provision of the 13th Amendment means the abolition of prisoner disenfranchisement, instantly transforming the prisoner class into a constituency.

The main thesis of this article by the NCTT comrades is that the Agreement to End Hostilities can be a basis for ending the legal enslavement of prisoners. We have some differences in strategic focus, as we see focusing on the enforcement of the First and Eighth Amendments as more important to building a struggle for a just society than repealing portions of the Thirteenth.(2) Speaking to this point, the article even points out that, "it is not the inhumanity of systematic torture in indefinite SHU confinement which is deemed criminal; it is our protesting against the inhumane practice which is criminalized."

We agree with the overall analysis of the NCTT, which addresses the many ways that the lumpen, migrants, and oppressed nations in general do not have full citizenship rights in the United $tates. As a result they do not have full vested interest in the maintenance of this government and economic system. And from there we conclude the importance of the Agreement to End Hostilities in prisons, and extending that to the lumpen on the streets, as building a motive force for social change.

That is what the Agreement to End Hostilities and the United Front for Peace in Prisons are and always have been about: transforming society. Less fighting amongst prisoners is not our end goal; it is a step towards reaching our goals. These goals that have been kept from the oppressed and concealed through manipulations by the oppressor nation in this country. And that is why independence is one of the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. The criminal injustice system exists to prevent us from working together to end the hegemony of the oppressor.


Notes:
1. NCTT-Cor-SHU, "Prisoners’ Agreement to End Hostilities as the basis for the abolition of ‘legal’ slavery," 25 December 2014.
2. 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
8th Amendment - Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
13th Amendment - [1.] Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
[2.] Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 42]
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United Front for Peace in Prisons Status Report

This issue will be marking four years of organizing under the banner of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). It was over the winter of 2010-2011 that we firmed up the documents that defined the UFPP, and the United Front was announced on a mass scale in ULK 19. The discussions involved a number of very active comrades at the time, representing a variety of lumpen organizations across the country. The impetus for the project came from countless calls over the years from behind bars for the need for unity and the many who have dedicated their lives to building unity in prisons and in oppressed communities.

When we first announced the UFPP we got a flurry of responses and statements from other organizations wanting to join, most of which we knew little to nothing about. We pushed further engagement with these groups as we sought to develop outlines and protocols for the peace process that have been tested in practice. And we attempted to pull in those more skilled with the written word to develop a writing project focused on the lumpen class.

In 2012, the UFPP took a big step into the realm of coordinated action when one group initiated the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity and called on all UFPP signatories to participate. Even with short notice, the response was strong and was promoted via independent media on the outside by activists working with MIM(Prisons). After 2 years of networking, it was a good sign that things were moving forward.

In 2014 we saw another surge in groups signing on to the United Front's 5 principles. We cannot say whether this reflects more peace organizing on the ground, a greater reach of Under Lock & Key, or more active promotion of the UFPP by us. But regardless, we want to tap into these organizations to further consolidate this movement, which must be both particular to the local conditions and generalized to continent-wide efforts to unite the struggles of the oppressed nations, and oppressed people in general.

In the coming months, we will begin to refocus on the ongoing project to develop theoretical material looking at the conditions and history of the lumpen class in this country. Along with that we hope to put out more agitational materials challenging the lumpen ideologies that are counter to the interests of the oppressed. We have discussed putting together a zine containing some United Front documents, but we would like to have more practical examples of comrades' work before we do so. We already have the Attica study pack put together to organize for the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity and MIM Theory 14 that addresses the Maoist theory of united front. We want to work with UF signatories to utilize these materials to push the third principle of the United Front — Growth.

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[Economics] [ULK Issue 42]
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Amerikans Richer Than Ever

Banksy Rickshaw
art by Banksy
Over four years ago I wrote an article looking at the sudden decline in the U.$. housing market.(1) Many Amerikan nationalists were looking at the household wealth numbers at that time and lamenting the steep drop off from 2008 to 2010. I pointed out that 2007 was an all-time high for wealth owned by Amerikan households, and compared their vast wealth to the poverty of the majority of the world's people from various angles. Well, in late 2014 a new report on global wealth was released by Credit Suisse, and guess what? Overall household wealth in the United $tates is back to an all-time high. In fact, it hit an all-time high in 2012 and has continued to increase. Turns out the financial crisis wasn't a crisis for Amerikans after all.

Despite the rhetoric of the social fascists, conditions in the United $tates have remained quite luxurious following the 2008 economic crisis. How is this possible? For one there is a nice cushion of wealth to fall back on in hard times. According to the report by Credit Suisse, about a third of the world's household wealth belongs to Amerikans.(2) So if everyone's wealth was reduced proportionately during crisis, Amerikans would fair better than almost everyone else in the world. But that's only scratching the surface, as it turns out wealth did not go down proportionately.

In a comparison of wealth growth by regions since 2000, Credit Suisse show the data with current as well as constant exchange rates. This demonstrates the impact that exchange rates have on wealth by region. Exchange rates are connected to mechanisms of unequal exchange, where value is transferred in a hidden way in the process of international trade. Exchange rates are also manipulated intentionally by the finance capitalists and their institutions (such as the IMF). In both cases, this can result in great transfers of wealth to the countries that control the markets, which is most often led by the United $tates. What the two data show is that the depreciation of currency in the Third World against the U.$. dollar accounted for much of the decrease in wealth during 2008. In other words, currency exchange rates provided a cushion to the economic crisis centered in the United $tates by pushing much of that crisis to the Third World. Africa is the only region to have not recovered to its pre-2008 wealth levels, but it would have done so if not for currency depreciation. In other words, as bubbles popped in the U.$. financial markets, wealth was being slowly pumped back in from the Third World via changes in currency exchange rates and unequal exchange of goods.

This is why we call for international exchange rates based on a fixed basket of goods, to put an end to this form of wealth transfer under imperialism. This is also why the U.$. imperialists were worried about Saddam Hussein ceasing to use the U.$. dollar as the standard currency for oil sales in Iraq.

While a much smaller factor in all this, it is also worth noting that the internal semi-colonies took on more of the wealth loss (proportionally) than the white nation in the United $tates. From 2007 to 2013, the median New Afrikan and Raza household wealth both decreased by 42%, compared to white household wealth which was only down 26% over that period.(4)

How did we bounce back?

The Credit Suisse report notes that the strong growth in household wealth in the United $tates following the decline in 2008 did not accompany a similar increase in income rates. If Amerikan household wealth bounced back on its own then we'd expect to see people making more income from their increased work and productivity. But this was not the case. So did this wealth just fall from the sky? No, it turns out this Amerikan prosperity comes from the invisible transfer of wealth from the Third World to the First World that MIM's critics have been denying the existence of for decades.

Before the wealth-transfer-deniers stop reading in disgust, let me acknowledge a couple things. The increase in household wealth from 2013 to 2014 was mostly due to "market capitalization" as opposed to housing prices and exchange rates (three important factors affecting short-term shifts in wealth according to Credit Suisse). While a larger number of the U.$. population is active shareholders than most countries, this would still indicate that the increase largely favored the wealthier within the rich countries. Exchange rates affect everyone in a country, and rising housing prices help the home owners (over 64% of people in the United $tates) accumulate wealth without having to work. (Homeownership has dropped significantly since 2005 when it was almost 70%, disproportionately affecting oppressed nations who on average have much less wealth than white Amerikans.(5)) "Market capitalization" benefits those in finance capital (including most retirement investments that are quite common in the United $tates), and would lead us to infer that while wealth in the United $tates has exceeded pre-2008 levels, it is less equally distributed than it was then.

Another indication of this skew in wealth distribution is that the high ratio of wealth to income in the United $tates in recent years is approaching the level of the Great Depression. This, of course, is one of the inherent contradictions of capitalism that Marx described in great detail: wealth tends to accumulate in the hands of the few, but this creates problems for circulation of capital, which the whole system is dependent on. So Amerikans are not in the clear; rather we would expect actual serious economic hardship in the near future.

Looking internationally, Credit Suisse shows median household wealth to be about the same in 2014 as it was in 2008, with peaks in 2007 and 2010. Meanwhile the top 10% has increased its wealth since 2008 and the top 1% even moreso. So the distribution of wealth is getting more uneven. The only problem for the argument of our Amerikan nationalists is that the majority of Amerikans are in that top 10%.

Amerikans Are Rich

One of the basic rules of captitalism, taught to us by Karl Marx, is that capital tends to accumulate. As I discussed in "Building United Front, Surrounded by Enemies", others have also shown how wealth in general tends to accumulate even for wage earners. In other words, the richer you are the faster your wealth grows. So yes, the 1% in the United $tates is getting richer faster than the other 99%. But those 99% of Amerikans (on average) are still getting richer as the majority of the world does not. The current balance of wealth shows that the difference between nations is more meaningful than the difference within nations.

Let us indulge in some more numbers given to us from the Credit Suisse report, which looks at household wealth across the whole world. The net worth per adult has reached a new high of an average of 56,000 U.$. dollars (USD) worldwide. The median wealth per adult in the United $tates and Germany are just below this level at US 54,000 and USD 53,000. The median is, of course, a much better indicator of the typical than the average (which was USD 348,000 in the United $tates). While your typical Amerikan or German has the amount of wealth one would expect if distribution were equal globally, your typical African or South Asian has wealth that is around 2% of that. (USD 679 in Africa, and USD 1,006 in India)

The number of people in this lower group is highlighted by the estimate that having USD 3,650 of wealth puts one in the top 50% of wealth holders worldwide. Again, if we distributed the wealth equally today, that point would be USD 56,000. But there are so many people with wealth below USD 3,650 that that is the level for the typical persyn (or median) in the entire world.

For Europe and North America combined, the best estimate given for the imperialist countries, 64% of adults are in the top 10% by wealth. It should be noted that the richest 10% of adults own 87% of global wealth. In contrast, 70% of the world's people own less than 3% of the world's wealth, averaging less than USD 10,000 per adult.

In the past we've cited numbers based on income that give similar results, and actually put all employed Amerikans in the top 13% richest by income, with the vast majority being in the top 10%. Wealth will always be more concentrated than income, because people can have incomes without ever accumulating wealth. Incomes are generally necessary in capitalist society, while wealth is not. In contrast to people who have nothing to lose but their chains (because they own no wealth), the majority of white Amerikans have wealth that is much greater than their annual income, which is quite high to begin with.

U.$. Internal Semi-Colonies

Of course, there are a number of nations within the United $tates, and New Afrikan and Raza median wealth is far below their median income, which is already less than white Amerikans. Recent numbers from Pew Research Center give median household wealth of white Amerikans at $141,900 in 2013. New Afrikan households, meanwhile, come in at $11,000, with the gap between Raza househoulds has been more consistent, as Raza median household wealth was $13,700 for 2013. One factor for the widening gaps is that white households are much more likely to own stocks (and remember that market capitalization was high from 2013 to 2014). Another factor is that oppressed nation home ownership decreased 6.5%, compared to white ownership, which only fell 2% between 2010 and 2013.(4) Wealth per adult for New Afrikans and Raza in the United $tates was not readily available for a direct comparison to the international figures in the Credit Suisse report. But it is clear that the median wealth per adult would be well above the global median of USD 3,650. In other words, the typical New Afrikan or Raza in the United $tates has more wealth than over 50% of the world's population. And if you look at income, they're doing even better.

Imperialists Power and Wealth

China's increase in millionaires, massive growth in middle income populations, and resilience against currency depreciation depicted by Credit Suisse all point to its emergence as a center of finance capital. Yet, over 90% of the millionaires in the world today are in the traditional imperialist countries, with the United $tates leading the way with 41%. While Japan used to compete in this category, in 2014 the U$A stands far above the rest with more than 4 times the number of millionaires in Japan. Of those with wealth greater than USD 50 million, 49% are U.$. citizens, with China as the very distant second in this category. Later this report predicts China will overtake Japan as second wealthiest economy by 2019.

On balance, global wealth increases. Wealth is a product of labor, and so as more people are born and work, and a certain portion of the value they create is accumulated (as machines, buildings, infrastructure, etc) rather than consumed (as food, clothes, electronics, etc) the total wealth of the world grows. War and other disasters can destroy accumulated wealth. The Credit Suisse report goes back to 2000, and shows total wealth more than doubling since then. An increasing rate of wealth accumulation would be expected as the forces of production advance with a growing population. Potentially more people working and doing so more efficiently would create greater wealth. However, our analysis predicts that the expansion of production under capitalism has already peaked some time ago. Credit Suisse subtracts out the effect of population growth and still comes up with a 77% increase in wealth over that period. Why so much?

Marx described different economic systems as being defined by a contradiction between the forces of production and the relations of production. When a new organization of labor is first introduced it would increase the forces of production (it brings new ways of doing things so that more work can be done with the same number of resources as before). Eventually, under any class system, the relations of production begin to drag down this progress. As class contradictions increase, so does the contradiction between relations of production and forces of production. So, while capitalism brought a great boom in production a hundred years ago, the limits of expansion are being met and contradictions, such as the ones that triggered the crisis of 2008, are limiting its progressive elements. What all the discussion around 2008 brought to light was the elaborate schemes that had evolved within finance capital markets in recent decades to create and circulate wealth. When they "create" wealth it is usually by expanding credit. So this is not real wealth creation, as when people transform their labor into wealth by constructing a building. As wealth in the form of credit expands faster than wealth in the form of real goods, you get problems where the credit can't be paid off. The "bubbles" that are blamed for such crisis are also behind the steep increase in overall wealth since 2000 shown in this report.

In summary, global wealth dropped a lot in 2007 and has bounced back bigger than ever a few years later. Marx predicted higher highs and lower lows in the economy as contradictions heightened. Therefore we expect volatility to increase as finance capital dominates the economy more and more, and for there to be bigger drops in wealth that impact the imperialist countries more because there is not enough cushion next time.

Amerikans get more stuff

In my previous article on U.$. wealth I made sure to discuss the consumption rates of Amerikans as well, to show that this isn't just academic number crunching and to combat those who argue that it's just a higher cost of living here that explains our higher incomes. Actually Amerikans get to consume a lot more stuff than other people, to the detriment of the health of our planet. One more recent example of this was the response to lower gasoline prices for Amerikans thanks to a market working in their favor. In November 2014, four out of the top five selling vehicles were gas guzzling trucks or SUVs. Demand for two of these gas guzzlers was up 9.6% in November, compared to an overall increase of 1.3% in car sales.(6) As the capitalists produce the most inefficient vehicles they can get away with to keep consumption rates up, Amerikans jump right on board as soon as they get a little relief at the gas pump. Who cares about global warming when you can afford to blast your air conditioner all day long anyway? While Amerikans enjoy lifestyles far beyond what most people can dream of, their bourgeois individualism reaks havoc on the balance of ecological systems that all life depends on. This is another major contradiction threatening the stability of the current socio-economic system.

The economic system is tied to social factors like war and the impacts of ecological destruction. All of these factors interact with each other, putting imperialism in an ever more precarious situation. It is the task of the proletariat and their allies to understand these dynamics and harness the social forces at play to address these contradictions by putting an end to the chaotic system of imperialism and building a new socialist world system in the interests of all.

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[Middle East] [Organizing] [Perry Correctional Institution] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 42]
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Organizing South Carolina Prisoners in Solidarity with Palestine

While reading what a California prisoner said in ULK 41, I was disappointed to see that the Muslim prisoners failed to meet their obligation in supporting the solidarity movement in support of the oppressed people of Palestine. Therefore, I decided to put together a petition here in hopes that we could at least show our support by signing a piece of paper.

Although I initially drafted the petition for the Muslim community here, there were a couple of non-Muslim brothers who signed it as well. And just as the California brother was met with some opposition, I too encountered quite a few "brothers" who were either afraid to sign or just didn't care about the plight and fight of the Palestinian people.

However, I collected thirty signatures and I do believe that I could have gotten more, but I really don't have access to the yard as some other prisoners do. There are a few of us here that are true and tested soldiers and we are trying to bring forth some political and social awareness, though most of us are learning as we go.

The petition reads:


A Statement of Unity and Solidarity with the Palestinian People, from Muslim Prisoners in South Carolina (Note: Non-Muslims signed as well)

As prisoners of good conscience we reject the genocide and slaughter which has hystorically been imposed on the people of Palestine and which is currently being played out by the Jewish state ever since the creation of I$rael in 1948. And while the Amerikan imperialists and their general citizenry and population have found us guilty of crimes against civil society, we prisoners likewise find them guilty of crimes against humynity for their collusion with the state of I$rael to exterminate the Palestinian nation.

Within these walls we are as yet powerless to tap into the potential of the imprisoned lumpen, but we are not yet powerless to sign a piece of paper to denounce the state of I$rael and their support in the United $tates. Therefore with this declaration we angrily express our indignation with the state of Israel for committing genocide, and the Israeli people for allowing it to happen in the 21st century after vowing "never again."


MIM(Prisons) adds: We had previously reported on the relative success of a campaign to support Palestine led by United Struggle from Within following the latest flurry of attacks by I$rael. Due to timing and mail issues only a small number of USW leaders were notified of the campaign at first. It is good to see that the campaign continues to gain support across the U.$. prison population. This is internationalism in action, recognizing the interconnectedness between all oppressed nations under imperialism.

This comrade wrote that they are "as yet powerless to tap into the potential of the imprisoned lumpen." Yet it is actions just like the Palestine petition which help open the door to develop the potential of our imprisoned comrades. Even having access to a small number of people, as in this author's case, we can start the very first steps toward building a bigger movement against oppression and imperialism. Discussing an international act of imperialist aggression with others, and asking them to take a small step toward making a statement against it, is valuable for laying the foundation for bigger things to come.

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[United Front] [Chickasaw County Regional Correctional Facility] [Mississippi] [ULK Issue 42]
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Fight in Mississippi Leads to United Front Peace and Unity

I, an honorable member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, send you all my undying love, strength and sacrifice. On 14 December 2014, the Chickasaw County Regional Correctional Facility (CCRCF) Pod 2 erupted in an all-out war between the "Folks nation" and the "Peoples nation." Many of us were asleep when it started, including myself. Being who I am and my obligation to my people, I did what I had to do. The fight resulted in 2 of us going to the emergency room. I received 8 stitches and 4 staples in 2 different places on my head.

A few days prior to this incident a few of us were discussing topics I was reading to them from ULK 41. Many of us were housed together years ago in three of the most violent prisons in Mississippi (Mississippi State Prison Unit 32, East Mississippi Correctional Facility and Wilkinson County Correctional Facility), all on security threat group status and high risk. It was the ACLU, prison activists, and the knowledge, wisdom and encouragement from MIM(Prisons) that helped close Unit 32 down and move me to a minimum security prison, like CCRCF. It also took good behavior as well.

After the fight was over and I was being transferred back to the prison from the hospital, the Lieutenant and Chief were asking me what pod I felt more secure in. I told them I wanted to go back where I was. They said I was crazy and didn't want to put me back where I had been housed. They asked me why I wanted to go back, I said it's where I live, we can handle ourselves. This is an issue between the Folks and Peoples, not the pigs.

What came to mind was the "Don't Loot, Organize!" article by 1st Crown of Black Order Revolutionary Organization (BORO) that was in ULK 41. This is just what we did; we allowed ourselves to work out our problems and did what was necessary to keep the pigs out of our biz. They're more interested in who's got what and who's doing what. The day after the fight, the goon squad did a major shakedown, looking for anything we weren't supposed to have. Of course, the Warden made the news that day and said it was a riot that started from one individual being a bully and was run off the zone. We all know that the American Correctional Association just passed through this facility and he didn't want to look bad, so he lied.

I agree with the point BORO made: change won't happen overnight. It will take time and we will make mistakes. As long as we can come together with understanding that we're all facing the same struggles, we must resolve our issues peacefully if possible.

It's been over one week since this fight and I'm honored to say that all of us have peace and unity. No one talks about that day negatively. Our talks are of how we can work together in overcoming any obstacles we may face as we struggle to remain free from oppression. We stand in solidarity and unity. I pray that all of you in other prisons around the world can build a united front and that you all have peace behind bars. King love yesterday, today, tomorrow and always.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This an impressive example of what the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) wrote in their founding statement, "we are already 'united' — in our suffering and our daily repression." This quick turn around of hostilities into unity reflects the consciousness among those imprisoned at CCRCF.

There is no doubt that the presence of well-organized lumpen organizations (LOs) contributed to conditions to make this step toward unity a real possibility. This example is why we uphold the progressive aspects that are found in the majority of LOs. Comrades within LOs who want to develop the United Front for Peace in Prisons should work with us to develop the progressive aspects of their organizations into practical protocols for building the united front.

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[Gang Validation] [ULK Issue 42]
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Big Picture Behind Fighting Unjust Gang Validations

I'm responding to the articles by comrade Soso of MIM(Prisons) and the brother in Pensylvania in Under Lock & Key 41. This Security Threat Group (STG) label imposed on religious groups is a clear violation of established Constitutional law (i.e. freedom to speak and embrace religion as one chooses). Yet the First Amendment is being infringed upon daily under the guise that its members are gang bangers or gang-affiliated.

We gotta wake up because it's not about "security," "threats" or "groups." These imperialistic individuals are experimenting with tactics they can employ in an easy, yet draconian, way to violate the Constitution. Since when has embracing a religious organization become akin to joining a security threat group!? Do these asinine imbeciles know the purpose of religion is not only to serve their god, but to further organize themselves for righteousness!? It's networking with others. So where's the breach of security? Where's the threat? Where's the behavior of an unorganized belligerent group? We don't need binoculars to see what's going on. The picture is clear comrades. These imperialists are infringing upon a Constitutional right under the euphemism of "gang activity."

Look at the brother in Florida who wrote in ULK 41 "Fighting STG Label for Notes on Political History." Due to possessing notes on political history which the brother had taken on material he's been reading in his pursuit of learning and expanding his brain outside the box, he was inappropriately labeled STG.

Is the picture becoming clear?

Since when did the Constitution determine what political affiliations one can embrace and/or learn? Never! Or determine if one can possess notes on political history? Never! Huey P. Newton and the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense knew the constitution and not only taught it to the poor, but also employed it in launching their move to arm themselves and the people with weapons (Second Amendment) while policing the police to prevent police brutality on the poor in oppressed communities.

Always remember, comrades, to succeed in any war, it's our duty to not only know who we're fighting, but we're obligated to have an aim. The only way we can ever become victorious in war is to know what we're fighting for, as our fight cannot be in vain.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade raises some important points about our battle against unjust gang validations that apply to all our work fighting oppression. We need to understand the bigger picture of who we are fighting and why the system of oppression exists if we hope to do anything more than make small changes. It is the system of imperialism that puts a few people with power and wealth in charge, and this system requires various structures to keep it in place. Globally this is why the imperialists are constantly engaging in wars and military actions. And in the United $tates this is the reason we have such a vast criminal injustice system: to control the oppressed nations and any who speak out against imperialism.

Gang validations are just one part of this broad system of oppression. Prisons actually help the oppressed to gain consciousness and organize to the extent that being locked up puts people in a position to clearly see the system as their enemy, and in general population prisoners can work together, educate one another, and organize. Validation justifies isolation which makes it much harder for activist prisoners to spread information and organize others. By criminalizing lumpen organizing, they try to legitimize their repression, even to the prisoners themselves.

We must study history and our current conditions while we fight these battles against validation and long-term isolation. Through study we will see that the gang validations are directly connected to the repression of the power movements of the 1960s, the red scare attacking communists, and the countless invasions and inteference in other countries, involving horrible massacres and torture. Today the oppressors have it harder because they cannot put you in isolation just because you're Black or Brown. So the system had to evolve and now we have gang validation being used to justify extra punishment and torture across the United $tates.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 42]
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Step Up and Start Learning for Attica Commemoration

In response to the article in Under Lock & Key 41, "Summing Up September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity", I'd like to propose that this solidarity should be recognized 9-13 September annually, not just 9 September. The Attica uprising was initiated on 9 September 1971 and was quelled on 13 September 1971.

Those who aren't knowledgable of what caused the Attica uprising from 9-13 September 1971 should start learning. Our self-discipline to learn is the first step to standing outside these imperialistic boxes. Their box is abnormal and inhuman to the poor of all nationalities. Those in control units/SHU can contribute by conducting study classes on their gates (i.e. bars). Learn why the Attica uprising occurred and what made the courageous comrades make the sacrifices they've made without hesitation.

Comrades, to embrace solidarity, we are obligated to hold hands. Solidarity initiates within the individual. Solidarity cannot be reached globally when it's not achieved at least partially within self. This is a lifelong commitment. Although we may not be around to see the change — so what! We have a new generation that's looking up to us. They're the next generation of revolutionaries. We are to set the tone for them and this is done by revolutionizing our own thought pattern of selfishness. Selfishness and unity will never get along; they're lifelong adversaries.

So to win we want to join hands genuinely and let our adversary know we're unified in solidarity because we have learned what we're fighting for. We know what we're seeking, what sacrifices will be made, and the cause of our fight. We know why sacrifices have to be made.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is writing about the article we published in ULK summing up the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) annual September 9 commemoration of the Attica uprising. The organizers call on activists to take this day to promote the UFPP by building unity with fellow captives, and to demonstrate resistance to the criminal injustice system by fasting, refraining from work, ceasing all prisoner-on-prisoner hostilities, and engaging only in solidarity actions. This past year the demonstration involved fewer actions than in the past and we are asking all United Front activists to consider what we should do differently in 2015. This comrade's call for education is well timed as this is something we need to be spreading now, well before September, if we want to build a movement of supporters and activists. Write in for the UFPP organizaing pack.

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 42]
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Building Peace with the United Front

Together we can break the chains
Building a united front within prisons is not easy to do. It is a struggle that ebbs and flows. Sometimes one can be in a facility or yard where this work is easy and other times it may seem impossible. Like everything else in life that benefits the people, it is challenging to say the least. But the United Front for Peace in Prisons is a goal that is within our ability to obtain so we must make it happen.

As prisoners of the state we are all imprisoned by the same ruling class, so in that sense we are all on the same oppressed side in the U.S. dungeons. The class oppressors who construct these torture facilities are the real enemies. Amerikkka is what has had us, our parents, grandparents and ancestors colonized for so many years. It is the source of all our oppression. No prisoner should be in the dark when it comes to the true identity of oppressed people around the globe. In the world there are two sides, the enemies and us; everything else is trivial and must be ironed out.

Prisoners are not the only ones who struggle with understanding this elementary factor. Mao advised us of these two sides by saying:


"Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution. The basic reason why all previous revolutionary struggles in China achieved so little was their failure to unite with real friends in order to attack real enemies. A revolutionary party is the guide of the masses, and no revolution ever succeeds when the revolutionary party leads them astray. To ensure that we will definitely achieve success in our revolution and will not lead the masses astray, we must pay attention to uniting with our real friends in order to attack our real enemies. To distinguish real friends from real enemies, we must make a general analysis of the economic status of the various classes in Chinese society and of their respective attitudes towards the revolution."(1)

Mao described the conditions surrounding the Chinese revolution, yet like most lessons in Maoism, we can learn and apply them to our situation here in U.S. prisons. Our "revolution" at this time is transforming our environment and oppressive conditions, and bettering our way of life in these dungeons. But in order to do this we need to know our enemies from our friends. In our case, prisoners are our friends and the state is our enemy. The United Front for Peace in Prisons manifests our understanding of our friends and enemies in the material world.

How do we spread peace in prisons?

MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within created the United Front for Peace in Prisons as a basis for spreading peace. Although they provided the framework which later led to the peace accords that have spread within California prisons, they simply presented it to us prisoners with the understanding that it would depend on us to find a way to put this theory into practice. But peace cannot come from words alone. Growing peace in these hot houses will not arrive miraculously, it must be fertilized and fed, cultivated and harvested. That means revolutionary prisoners need to put in work for peace and get our hands dirty, stick them in the dirt and put our back into it.

Many times peace in prison is spread through people-to-people interactions. Creating relations with prisoners outside our nation and outside our circles or collectives helps spread peace. This builds bridges of communication with others. Of course peace should first be created amongst one's own circles, because it's hard to spread peace with other groups if you don't have peace amongst those closest to you.

Ensuring that peace takes root is largely dependent on educating the people. So many do not even know who their real enemy is and this is because political educators are in short supply within prisons. Passing someone a book is not the same as discussing what is in that book after the persyn has read it.

Peace means that people get used to the idea of us having the same captor and facing the same monster. People need to look at the big picture. When we look at the big picture and our young homies are taught to look at the big picture it alleviates many of the petty squabbles that are bound to arise in an intense prison environment.

Building peace really comes down to working together in ways which tackle our horrible conditions. As leaders, we can organize appeal events, spread information and publications on prison struggles, and help others who may need a helping hand whether it's a bar of soap, a stamped envelope or something to eat. Do what you can to help your fellow prisoner. Peace means thinking of other prisoners and extending humynity to one another.

What are the challenges of spreading peace?

We are deprived of peace by internal and external factors, and there are many things that get in our way. Sometimes those who are uneducated act or react in ways which are not conducive to propelling their own struggles forward. These behaviors often result from a colonial mentality which has been embedded in so many minds for so many generations.

So there is a combination of challenges which prevent peace. One main obstacle is of course that the state opposes peace, as a Georgia prisoner said in ULK 36:


"As of now, most of the leaders and the more influential participants are locked down in Ad-Seg and I don't find this a coincidence. The pigs hate the idea of us uniting in peace and not killing each other."(2)

This writer was describing a very real process of repression where those prisoners who are most influential and conscious and who have the ability and sway to enact peace are the very ones locked down in solitary confinement. This is a common tactic of the state. COINTELPRO used the same method, which we can study in books like FBI Files of Malcolm X, War Against the Panthers, and Agents of Repression, to name a few. Those who can electrify the movement or their people are targeted to be neutralized. Neutralizing something or someone means putting it out of commission, which can include death, prison or solitary.

The state creates these obstructions by watching the imprisoned captives, and when leaders arrive to a yard they kidnap them so that peace cannot be realized. They leave knuckleheads to create chaos because chaos between the captives means our captors can keep repressing us. Peace between the captives means the oppressor is in trouble.

Another challenge that we face is concealed in the crypto-Toms. These are the Uncle Toms of all nationalities who secretly work for the state, either in alerting the state when the masses are attempting to struggle against repression or in sabotaging peace efforts by stirring shit up and sparking crimes between prisoners. These inter-oppressed wars help strengthen the state, while setting back prisoner struggles by forcing us to spend years attempting to repair this chaos.

We should learn to identify these crypto-Toms who work for the pigs rather than for their nation. It's not just those who kick off anti-peace bullshit, but also those who partake in Tom language by spreading the ideas of anti-peace who are obstructionists.

Peace in California has been pushed by those who have been doing time for decades. It was not just a spontaneous event; this had been talked about for years. Building a united front for peace against a common enemy is the most logical action between any oppressed peoples anywhere in the world.

How should we proceed?

Peace between prisoners should not just be something that we read about or something prison intellectuals write about. Peace should be something that we live in our everyday lives. Individualism threatens peace the most because individualism keeps us blind to those who threaten peace ("it doesn't affect me, so i don't care"). We can only change our conditions for the better by struggling together.

The first step is in having the ability to think outside of ourselves and to realize what is best for us, our people, and our future homies that will be filling up these cells. Peace does not mean we have the same beliefs, it just means that we have the understanding that people with different beliefs do have shared interests and that the oppression that I face is faced by all U.$. prisoners in various forms by the same captor whose face changes from prison to prison, but whose actions for the most part do not.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 42]
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Success Comes with Unity

We are all comrades in this lifelong fight
and the only chance we have is if we unite

Education is key so learn and teach
without frivolous barriers that limit your reach

Brothers without guidance show them the way
those with beautiful speech teach them what to say

We all have a role to play in this movement of life
against this imperialist government that don't give us no rights

Not everyone is expected to pick up no guns
but no one should neglect to give up no funds

Even if you can only afford to give up a one*
donate it because without money no war can be won

It's time to stop playing games with what we believe
and start implementing all the things that we read

We can obtain all the things that we need
all we have to do is Unite, Educate, Organize, and Succeed

*$1.00

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[Organizing] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 42]
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Debating Violence in Prison Battles


I am a prisoner activist within the Colorado Department of Corrections, which sees me as a difficult, dangerous individual, and isolates and represses me in a police-style unit. Within the United States there is a response to prisoner activism of repression by prison administrators. This repression may involve some type of physical clash between prison staff and/or their prisoner stooges, and a prisoner activist. I put this forth as a counter to your point explicitly discouraging prisoners from engaging in any violence, as this position is not based on the reality of prisoner activism in U.$. prisons.

Prisoner activism here typically takes the form of formal institutional advocacy. Yet white supremacy, capitalism, and imperialism have never reformed themselves. And the struggle against these forms of oppression is a struggle for survival and self-defense. The prisoner activist struggle in the United States is a struggle against genocide.

MIM(Prisons) and its publications explicitly oppose the use of armed struggle at this time in the imperialist countries (including the united states). But this is not based on the reality of prisoner activism in this country, where there is an ongoing protracted intractable race and class conflict. I look to Under Lock & Key for guidance in my individual/personal prisoner activism.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer sets a good example of working with us in unity around prison struggles while debating our disagreements on questions of strategy. In this case the disagreement comes down to a question of the stage of struggle. We believe that violence will be necessary to overthrow imperialism, because, as this comrade says, "white supremacy, capitalism and imperialism have never reformed themselves." We will need to dismantle imperialism forcefully; those in power won't just step down peacefully.

But we can also see through many historic examples that revolutionaries who took up armed struggle too soon were quickly repressed, killed and/or imprisoned, and many times the movements lost more ground than they gained. We call this premature armed struggle "focoism," because it generally fails to first gain the support of the masses and build a strong revolutionary party and base. However, it is also possible for communist parties to make strategic errors in taking up armed struggle too soon before conditions are ready.

In prison we aren't really talking about taking up a military battle, but the analogy to violent engagement before conditions are ready is applicable in a general way. We see that prisoners who are quick to engage with their fists/weapons, end up in isolation, beaten, or even killed. These engagements don't generally win anything except possibly the respect of peers with whom the person no longer has contact.

This doesn't mean we tell prisoners to lie down and take abuse. Every situation is different and we can't possibly judge what each individual is facing and how they need to respond to survive. We can say that many people write to MIM(Prisons) talking about how they used to resort to their fists first and now they use their pen and voice and are much more effective with this new approach to fighting repression. It takes patience and discipline to make this change, and it's not easy when faced with both pigs and their lackeys provoking and even attacking.

Rather than debate the appropriate response to each dangerous situation, the broader point is agreement on our strategic stage of struggle, and the reality that we can't win a military/violent battle right now. We just don't have the strength yet. And so we need all of our comrades to stay alive and out of solitary to engage in education and organizing.

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[Police Brutality] [Organizing] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 42]
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Killing Cops and Revolutionary Activism of the Lumpen

body cameras are not enough
source: Reuters 2014
"The lumpen has no choice but to manifest its rebellion in the university of the streets. It's very important to recognize that the streets belong to the lumpen, and that it is in the streets that lumpen will make their rebellion."
- On the Ideology of the Black Panther Party, Eldridge Cleaver 1970

The recent killing of two New York City (NYC) cops must be viewed as a conscious act of war taking place within the context of national oppression, just as the killing of Eric Garner and countless others from the oppressed internal nations of New Afrika, Aztlán and the various First Nations at the hands of filthy pigs were and will continue to be acts of war that the police wage against the oppressed for the dominant white nation known as Amerika. Yet if we listen to the politicians we hear them desperately trying to switch the narrative of these killings as having nothing to do with the wave of recent protests currently being directed against police brutality and police repression since the murder of Michael Brown in Missouri on 9 August 2014. Instead they tell us that these killings are the result of a depraved criminal element who the police have all along been trying to protect us from.

In a recent public address NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the deaths of these pigs to be "an attack on all of us" and asked that protesters put their demonstrations on hold as it was now time to "move forward and heal divisions." Others, including the pigs themselves, have called on protestors to "tone down their language." One reactionary on a CNN roundtable even went so far as to categorize the killing of those cops as "an attack on the very heart of democracy and the people that uphold that democracy"! And that is a very funny statement to make as i could've sworn that the heart of democracy lies with the people and not with the special bodies of armed men. Instead of democracy we have power arising from society which places itself above the people and becomes more and more alienated from them. These arms of the state have been tasked with managing the irreconcilability of both national and class antagonisms.

But why are the politicians so anxious to stop the masses from making the connection between the state-sanctioned murders of Eric Garner (and others) and NYC pigs? Because they know that context is everything regardless of what the pigs, the politicians or any other member of the liberal and conservative white media have to say. The killing of those pigs was carried out by a subjective revolutionary force outside of an objective revolutionary scenario. Therefore, the lesson for us to take away from this is that the killing of those two cops was undoubtedly political, just as sure as all prisoners are political.

Does this however mean that we support such a strategy of attacking the existing power structure absent a revolutionary situation? No, because that is not an effective way of advancing the needs of the oppressed, nor does it advance our own revolutionary agenda. What is for sure, however, is that the death of two of NYC's "finest" is sure to be used as another pretext to round up and spy on political activists as well as to further clamp down on "crime" in the big rotten apple, which directly translates into more repression for the lumpen.

In The Correct Handling of a Revolution by Dr. Huey P. Newton, Minister of Defense for the Black Panther Party, Newton hit on the correct methods of both leadership and struggle within the New Afrikan community of his time. This analysis still holds good today and revolutionaries from the oppressed nations should take note:


The vanguard party must provide leadership for the people. It must teach the correct strategic methods of prolonged resistance through literature and activities. If the activities of the party are respected by the people, the people will follow the example. This is the primary job of the party. ...

There are basically three ways one can learn: through study, through observation, and through actual experience. The Black community is basically composed of activists. The community learned through activity, either through observation of or participation in the activity. To study and learn is good but the actual experience is the best means of learning. The party must engage in activities that will teach the people. The Black community is basically not a reading community. Therefore it is very significant that the vanguard group first be activists. Without this knowledge of the Black community one could not gain the fundamental knowledge of the Black revolution in racist America.

While leaving out some focoist rhetoric characteristic of the BPP which we fundamentally disagree with, this excerpt is part of the most correct aspect of the mass line and how we relate to the masses on a day-to-day and strategic level. V.I. Lenin, leader of the first socialist state, the Soviet Union, from 1917-1924, dealt with one aspect of the lumpen-proletariat in his time quite relevant at the present moment — their tendency to engage in spontaneous and disorganized armed struggle against the state and in "expropriation" of private property. Lenin vehemently condemned those Bolsheviks who disassociated themselves from this by proudly and smugly declaring that they themselves were not anarchists, thieves or robbers. He attacked "the usual appraisal" (2) which saw this struggle as merely "anarchism, Blanquism, the old terrorism, the act of individuals isolated from the masses, which demoralize the workers, repel wide strata of the population, disorganize the movement and injure the revolution."(3) Lenin drew the following keen lessons from the disorganized period of this struggle:


"It is not these actions which disorganize the movement, but the weakness of a party which is incapable of taking such actions under its control. The Bolsheviks (communists) must organize these spontaneous acts and must train and prepare their organizations to be really able to act as a belligerent side which does not miss a single opportunity of inflicting damage on the enemy's forces."(4)

In short, it's not necessarily that we disagree with the actions of Ismaaiyl Brinsley, rather his timing was off. It is exactly these types of actions by the oppressed nation lumpen which make them both the hope of the liberation movements of the internal semi-colonies, as well as the potential spearhead of the oppressed nations against a rising fascist threat here in the United $tates. In the end it doesn't matter whether these pigs wear cameras or not. What matters is how we respond, as that is the difference between liberation and more repression.


All Power to the People!
Lumpens Unite!


Notes:
1. The State And Revolution, V.I. Lenin
2. "Guerilla Warfare," V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, XI, p. 220
3. Ibid, p. 216-17
4. Ibid, p. 219

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[Asia] [U.S. Imperialism] [Culture] [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] [ULK Issue 42]
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Seth Rogen Tries to Capitalize on Imperialist Lies Against DPRK

guardians of peace hack sony
A few months back a damning article was posted on anti-imperialism.com about Western media propaganda. The article written by Alyx Mayer is a materialist dissection of journalistic attacks on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The analysis given in the article debunks the many rumors and other propaganda we're all acquainted with, such as the mass choreographed wailing at Kim Jong Il's funeral out of fear of reprisals, a universal male haircut like that of Kim Jong Un's, or a famous singer being executed by a firing squad, are just a few of many that we have heard broadcast on major media networks.(1)

More recently, the DPRK propaganda campaign has become a top story in the U.$. media as a group called Guardians Of Peace (GOP), who the FBI accused of being from the DPRK, made public a massive amount of data from Sony computers including emails, movie scripts, videos and persynal information. Sony was scheduled to release a comedy by Seth Rogen called The Interview this month that was a blatant anti-DPRK propaganda piece. Some of the emails leaked reveal that the U.$. State Department and the RAND Corporation think tank advised Sony on the content of the film, and appear to endorse the assassination of Kim Jong Un as the best way to enforce the regime change they desire in the northern Korean peninsula.(2) DPRK officials had already declared the movie "an act of war" this summer because it depicts the CIA hiring assassins to kill their head of state, Kim Jong Un. The United $tates has been behind the assassination of heads-of-state in Iraq and Libya, and the overthrow of a handful of other governments in just the last few years. We can't imagine any other interpretation of this movie coming out of the U.$. corporate media. Still, Amerikan patriot Seth Rogen, producer of the movie, said it shows "how crazy North Korea is." Crazy-jacketing has been an unfortunately effective tactic for imperialist propaganda, often utilizing cultural differences to tap into the racist ideologies of the oppressor nations.

A recent GOP statement read,

"We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places 'The Interview' be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.)

"Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY."(2)

Theaters responded by saying they will not screen the film, leading to Sony temporarily cancelling the release of The Interview. But the backlash has been large, with the majority view in U.$. media, social and corporate, being that Sony punked out. The message is construed as a demand for integrity of artistic expression. But materialists acknowledge that all art has political content, while the bourgeoisie works to obscure this fact. They then use the idea of artistic integrity when it works in their favor, as in this case. The focus on artistic integrity over political content meshes well with the individualism of bourgeois ideology. Overall, this has demonstrated the success of the anti-DPRK propaganda machine among Amerikans' consciousness, despite the utter lack of integrity in claims made against the DPRK as exposed by Alyx's article.

It comes as nothing new that western journalism completely distorts the truth. It deceives its own population by slandering other nations' governments it does not have under its influence. The United $tates does this to serve its own interests, that is to create a favorable image both domestically and internationally.

Hypocrisy is one of the many faces of U.$. imperialism. U.$. laws prohibit the media or journalists from reporting anything that's slanderous (not true), but it seems this is only pertaining to slander against itself. Alyx Mayer explained it clearly:


"As long as you're writing about the DPRK you have a license to print anything. What already frighteningly little journalistic integrity the bourgeois media can be said to possess is nowhere to be found on matters concerning this country. DPRK bashing is assured to drag in the page views and advertising revenue. ... Let this be a case study on the lengths that imperialist media will go to slander its enemies."

The latest drama around The Interview is certainly bringing in the page views and advertising revenue.

While The Interview is given a pass by many because it's supposed to be an outlandish comedy, the anti-DPRK propaganda is connected at all levels of the media. Within the first week of September, PBS network ran an hour-long documentary focusing on images smuggled out of northern Korea porporting to expose what life is "really" like in this isolated region. They show images of homeless children rummaging through garbage looking for food, and stores filled with products (sodas, bras and other clothing) for display only and not for sale. It gives an image of DPRK propaganda controlling their citizens' all around lives without any room for freedom of thought or choice. One can only guess where exactly DPRK citizens do get their livelihood materials if the warehouses they showed weren't selling products. Images of blackmarkets were shown where people can buy foreign DVDs, flashdrives filled with banned movies and TV shows at local flea markets, but is this the only place where the masses shop? An elite circle is said to be living in the nation's capital for which a nicely dressed female in traditional Asian clothing gets into an imported expensive car and even her chauffeur is well dressed but nothing else is said about this elite clique. This documentary is mostly put together by defectors and viewers can see the clear distinction they are trying to portray within DPRK society. A tier system of homeless children starving while an elite wealthy clique drives around in wealthy imported cars while warehouses of abundant drinks and clothing aren't accessible to the population. Now if that is the message they are trying to convey, then why not do a documentary in the United $tates or any other First World country that doesn't have international embargos? Or do one comparing the people who make computers in Asia and those who use them in the United $tates and Europe?

The documentary includes lengthy interviews with defectors from DPRK living in Seoul (the capital of the portion of Korea that has been occupied by U.$. imperialism for over half a century). One defector, a middle aged man, claims to have been held prisoner under suspicion of being a spy. He claims that he was beaten and tortured while captive. He said a wooden stick or plank was placed behind his knees and was forced to sit down, every time they did this to him he would hear his knee caps crack. Now wouldn't this be physically damaging? I would assume that those noises would be indications of broken knee caps and yet this man was without crutches or a cane. He was completely independently mobile. He even said soon after his release from prison (after no evidence of him spying were found) he fled DPRK soon afterwards. Another defector, a female in her early 20s, claimed her father got her whole family out of northern Korea because he wanted a better life for them to grow up without being controlled. She eventually joined a TV show in southern Korea, the content of which is a combination of a talent show and speaking out against DPRK. "All within this show are DPRK defector youth" slandering their former homeland for the benefits of being on TV and joining the ranks of the bourgeoisie, a TV program probably sponsored by the Republic of Korea government in the south. Bourgeois perspectives can only fool other bourgeoisie and those that are ignorant.

We revolutionaries have a weapon to guard against such superficial propaganda, and that is our world outlook. How we read and interpret the world is based on dialectical and historical materialism. Let us take a good analytical look at what is being reported in today's media. Even books that are being put out with a little political content must be compared to facts. The bourgeoisie has the habit of reporting certain international stories without facts on nations they oppose, whether it's DPRK, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela or any Middle Eastern country not in cahoots with U.$. imperialism. But like Marx said in 1867,

"Every opinion based on scientific criticism I welcome. As to prejudices of so-called public opinion, now as aforetime the maxim of great Florentine is mine: Segui il tuo corso, e lascia dir le genti. (Follow your own course, and let people talk)."(3)

Propaganda and criticism have always been bourgeois tools aiming to demonize the proletarian ideology. But as Lenin said,

"The Marxian doctrine is omnipotent because it is true. It is complete and harmonious, and provides men with an integral world conception which is irreconcilable with any form of superstition, reaction or defense of bourgeois oppression."(4)
It is the bourgeois media's purpose to vilify anything that threatens their domination; facts are unimportant with its propaganda. It is a fact that police in the United $tates can murder Black people with impunity, while Black people who defend themselves will be punished severely. Similarly, Amerikans defend their right to threaten the lives of heads of state while simultaneously justifying war because other countries feel threatened by Amerikan posturing. There are objective inequalities in these examples that the bourgeoisie attempts to hide, but that are not lost on the masses. As materialists we must take these reports on DPRK, or anything in general, with a scientific microscope, let us draw distinctions on the bourgeois perspective and our own.
"Draw two lines of distinction. First, between revolution and counter revolution... Secondly, within the revolutionary ranks, it is necessary to make a clear distinction between right and wrong, between achievements and shortcomings... To draw these distinctions well, careful study and analysis are of course necessary. Our attitude towards every person and every matter should be one of analysis and study."(5)

Independent proletarian news outlets are necessary to raise class consciousness in our society but also expose everything corrupt and illegal, of U.$. imperialism, with scientific criticism.

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[United Front] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 42]
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EZLN Prison Chapter Joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

My comrades and I of Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) Prison Chapter seek to consolidate with the United Front for Peace in Prisons. We comprehend the importance of growth, unity, and peace within the struggle and are moving to expand political consciousness amongst the oppressed. As of now we are separated and divided within the sensory deprivation chamber and often face blockaded correspondence due to "material that threatens the safety and security" (usually that "material" describes state oppression and advocates peace). However, such restrictions cannot deter our commitment towards the development of political consciousness and ultimately collective liberation.

The war on the oppressed is perhaps at its peak right now. The tyrannical ring leaders have recently unleashed a blitzkrieg of "long-term" isolation on the mass majority of those who are already in isolation. And here in Oregon they're moving to expand their deprivation empire. Only through collective organizing and solidarity can we find peace within.

-Subcomandante Carga

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[Culture] [New Afrika] [ULK Issue 42]
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"Party People" Problems

Party People
Written by Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, Steven Sapp, and William Ruiz a.k.a. Ninja
Directed and Developed by Liesl Tommy
Berkeley Repertory Theater
24 October 2014 - 16 November 2014, extended to 30 November 2014


Party People play Berkeley

"Party People" is a play about the Black Panther Party and Young Lords Party showing this month in Berkeley, California. The play was extended two weeks and has been a destination for many school field trips. Well-patroned, and intellectually accessible via the entertainment medium, "Party People" might well be the number one cultural piece shaping the understanding of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and Young Lords Party (YLP) in the Bay Area today. This is a major problem.

The premise of the play revolves around two young men planning and then actualizing a gallery event to commemorate the legacy of the Black Panther Party and Young Lords Party. Malik (a Panther cub whose father is locked up) and Jimmy (whose uncle was a Young Lord) invite several former party members to their gallery opening, and thus it doubles as a reunion of the rank and file. The play takes you through the day-of preparations for the event, which the party members help with, and through the event itself, which is attended by party members, an FBI informant, and the wife of a dead cop. Dialogue centers around the inter-persynal conflicts between party members and between generations, with conservatively half of the 2 hours and 35 minutes spent yelling and in-fighting between party members, and with their offspring.

The main downfall of revolutionary struggles of the 1960s was a lack of deep political education. Whether at the level of the masses, rank and file, or party leaders, a lack of political education allows political movements to be co-opted, infiltrated, and run into the ground by enemy line. In its heyday, the BPP grew so rapidly that much of the new membership did not have a deep understanding of why they did what they did. The play itself doesn't say that political consciousness needs to be raised, but it is a strong testament to that need. Unfortunately, neither does it contribute to that political education, which is likely due to the exact thing i am criticizing. "Party People" would have you believe the main legacies of the BPP and YLP were in creating exciting memories, and setting models for government programs. In "explaining" the origin of the BPP, the cast breaks into song: all it took to get it off the ground was shotguns, grits, and gravy.

Omar X is one of the more intriguing characters in the play. He operates more on intellect than emotions, and has an air of self-discipline and militancy. Omar enters the play as a self-appointed protector of the Black Panther legacy. He approaches Malik and Jimmy prior to the gallery opening, very skeptical of what they are going to say and how they might twist the history. Finally giving his approval to the art project, Omar by proxy grants legitimacy to the play itself. In real life, former Black Panthers Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins also both gave their seal of approval.(1) The People's Minister of Information JR Valrey, an outspoken member of today's generation of Black media who promotes the Panthers as an example to be followed, was more critical.(2)

The open brutality of pigs on party members is only given cursory examination, primarily through dialogue. Yet there is a graphic scene where Omar is tortured by several fellow Panthers, led by an FBI infiltrator. Recollecting this event in the gallery, 50 years later, Omar's comrades are still telling him "You were so outspoken and critical! Why didn't you just follow orders! We just did what we were told!" with remorse. It is apalling that in 50 years of reflection, these characters haven't figured out that dissent and criticism should be encouraged in the party, and that the real error here was that they themselves were "just" following orders. Again, the problem goes back to political development, whereas the play would have you believe that this brutality was just an unavoidable outcome of this type of organizing work.

Learning directly from the downfall of the Black Panther Party and COINTELPRO operations, rather than quash dissent, we would encourage political organizations to practice democratic centralism. Resolving contradictions through debate is the only way we can grow as political organizations. But instead of airing our dirty laundry for every infiltrator or wannabe cop to take advantage, as was common in the 60s, we take a democratic vote within the organization and then uphold the party line in public, while continuing to debate behind closed doors as needed.

Democratic centralism is also closely related to the mass line. Developing mass line happens when the party refines and promotes the best ideas from the masses, making the party their voice. The masses would include people who are workers in the party-led programs, but who have not yet reached a level of understanding and participation to join the party. One of the contradictions within the Panthers was that they had new people become party members, but then excluded them from the decision-making process. There was not a transparent decision-making process with a defined group of people. This led the rank and file to believe they should just do what Huey or Eldridge said, as was depicted in the play.

Security practices are again thrown out the window in Omar's criticism of Malik and Jimmy's stage names (MK Ultra and Primo, respectively). Omar says they should put their real names on their project, because aren't they proud of their work? Don't they want to be accountable to what potential lies they are about to disseminate? Is this just a game to them? Are they "really" revolutionaries if they are "hiding" behind their stage names? On the other hand, we strongly encourage revolutionaries inside the belly of the beast to protect their identities from the state. We forgive the BPP for making this error at the time, but Omar should have figured it out by now.

Enthusiasm is given to the question of gender and blaming of wimmin for the downfall of the parties. The dialogue states that all the men were on drugs or locked up or dead, so of course wimmin had to lead. But then when the parties dissintegrated, the wimmin were blamed. "Pussy killed the party!" is a sexually-choreographed song performed by the female cast, criticizing the machisimo and male chauvinism in both the BPP and YLP. But little if any mention is given to the female-focused programs of the Young Lords to curb forced sterilization and provide access to abortion for Boriqua wimmin. Selectively applying hindsight, "Party People" disregards the fact that these revolutionary organizations were the vanguard of proletarian feminist organizing in their day.(3)

At the gallery during the reunion, a white womyn demands attention for an emphatic monologue about her husband, a cop who was killed in a shootout with the Panthers. Subjectively i found this monologue to be too damn long and the response to be too damn weak. For the hundreds of times the word "fuck" is thrown around in this play, i half expected the Panther's response to this accusation that he had killed the cop to be "fuck your pig husband." Instead he calmly explains that he did not kill the cop and that he was imprisoned 25 years for a murder he did not commit, washing his persynal hands of the "crime." He then goes and sits down and everyone takes a pause to feel sad. This was a perfect opportunity to educate the audience on casualties of war and group political action. Instead the playwright chose to build empathy for our oppressors.

One of the most glaringly offensive themes in this play is the integrationist line slipped in subtly throughout, and hammered home thoroughly in the final blast of energy. A source of pride for the former party members is that their programs still live on today. No mention is made of the state co-opting these programs, such as free breakfast at school, in an effort to make the party seem obsolete. Feeding kids before school is of almost no cost to Amerikkka, and it's worth it if it convolutes the need for revolutionary independence. While focusing a lot on the free breakfast program, not once is it mentioned that these kids were also receiving a political education while they ate. Lack of political education is cause and consequence of these errors of the play.

The question comes up of what today's [petty-bourgeois] youth should do to push the struggle forward. What role do they have to play? What direction should they take? If I were a high school student watching this play, asking myself the same questions, i would not have left the theater with any better answers than i came in with, and i don't know that i would have gone forward looking to the Panthers or Young Lords for direction. Sadly, these organizations did give us direction, but in "Party People" it is altogether discarded.

On the topic of youth, there are three characters who are representative of the offspring of the parties: Malik, Jimmy, and Clara. Malik spends a lot of time trying to dress and speak like a Panther, but not a lot of time with his nose in books. Clara's parents are both dead, and although her tia tries to explain the importance of her parents' political devotion, Clara resents the YLP for stealing them from her. Clara wants to go to college and get a good job so she can "join the 1%." This "discussion" of the "1%" is the closest the play gets to an examination of class, unlike the BPP and YLP who had thorough, international class analyses.(4)

With all the examination of the contradictions between the different generations, and the time (yet not necessarily depth) given to Fred Hampton's murder by the pigs, Fred Hampton, Jr. is not mentioned one time in the play. Nowhere do they talk about the revolutionary organizing of Chairman Fred, Jr. in Chicago, Illinois with the Prisoners of Conscience Committee. You might not even leave the play knowing that Fred Hampton had a child. Considering the youth are looking for direction, and have all these feelings about their parents and relatives abandoning them for the revolution, why wasn't Fred, Jr. given a primary role in this play? Upholding his political work as an example might have put a lot of anxieties to rest.

Social-media-as-activism is correctly and thoroughly criticized (one of the few positive elements). Instead, a resolution to the youth's dysphoria and lack of direction is offered in a final rap by Primo, which highlights conditions of the oppressed nations inside United $tates borders. But he ephasizes that "I am Amerikan! We are all Amerikan!" over and over and over again, really sucking the audience in on this one. The closing message of the play was decidedly not, "I am Boriqua! You are New Afrikan! Amerikans, commit nation suicide! And let's destroy Amerikkkan imperialism for the benefit of all the world's oppressed peoples!!"

Modern lumpen organizations are mentioned briefly as part of the fallout of the parties. In its lack of direction, "Party People" does not uphold these organizations as holding potential for revolutionary change. Again another great educational opportunity missed. As a supplement, i would recommend the documentary Bastards of the Party (2005). This film details the development of the Bloods and Crips, from self-defense groups, through the Slausons, into the Panthers, and to today. In this film, the Watts Truce in Los Angeles in 1992 is focused on, and serves as an excellent model of the positive impact lumpen organizations can have on reducing in-fighting in oppressed nation communities and building power independent from the oppressor government.

It is evident from "Party People" that the petty bourgeoisie doesn't have much of a role to play in our current revolutionary organizing. Until they give up their attachments to the material spoils of imperialism, they will keep producing confused representations of proletarian struggle. I would advise today's youth, especially those who feel disheartened by this play, to read up on the real history of BPP and Young Lords,(5) and contact us to get involved in political organizing work to end oppression for all the world's people!


Notes:
1. Berkeley Rep, Party People.
2. JR Valrey, "Party People", San Francisco BayView, 31 October 2014.
3. "Maoism and the Black Panther Party" is a pamphlet written by MIM that gets more into the advanced gender line of the BPP, and Palante is a book on the YLP which also gets into this issue. We distribute both through our Free Books for Prisoners Program.
4. For more of our criticism of the 99% movement, see the article "Newsflash: Amerikans are the top 13%" which dispels the myth that 99% of Amerikans are in conflict with the top 1%. Instead we find they are in cahoots with each other against the well-being of the majority of the world's people.
5. For the BPP, see MIM's Black Panther Newspaper Collection. For the YLP, i would again recommend Palante.

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[Gender] [Abuse] [California] [ULK Issue 42]
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Sex Between Staff and Prisoners in California

The comrade who reported in ULK 40 on a lawsuit around sexual assaults in California prisons(1) wrote back to reiterate that California law prohibits such behavior. "An inmate cannot validly consent to sex with a prison employee", see California Penal Code Section 289.6 and California Code of Regulations Title 15 3401.5. This is actually a good example of a law that tackles Liberalism around the question of rape in one fell swoop by recognizing the systematic relationship between prisoners and state employees that prevents consent.

Despite this law, our comrade documents a history of administrative coverups of sexual abuse of prisoners by staff. Clearly the gender oppressed need more than words on paper to be free of the patriarchy. And for prisoners who "cooperate" with prison administrators, administrative coverups operate in the opposite direction. Our comrade points to Freitag v. Ayers, 463 F.3d 838 (9th Cir.2006), which documents the case of a female correctional officer at Pelican Bay State Prison who was discouraged by her supervisors from filing disciplinary actions against prisoners who would sexually harass her "as a sexual favor to gain [their] cooperation."

In the previous article by this comrade, we pointed out the possibility that New Afrikan bio-males (especially youth) may be considered gender oppressed if one looks at prisons on a statistical level. Yet, we do not deny that bio-male prisoners often play the role of sexual aggressor, both against other male prisoners and female guards. The example of Freitag v. Ayers echoes one of these hypotheticals that our critics threw at us to ask the question, "who is the rapist here?"(2) Yet in this case we see the patriarchy, in the form of the CDCR administration at Pelican Bay, actively enforcing the roles of both the SHU prisoner being held in an isolation cell and the female guard who must endure the prisoner's acting out. The obvious culprit here, and the federal courts agreed, was the patriarchal institution of the CDCR.

Prison is an extreme example, but it helps us see the patriarchy at work. As we said in our previous article on the lawsuit, even when the female guard is the clear aggressor, firing her does not do anything to lesson rape on a group level, though it might help some individuals for a period of time. There are many institutions that serve to enforce the patriarchy throughout our society that serve to undermine the gender oppressed's power over their own bodies. We must build independent institutions that serve the gender oppressed, in order to create a world where sex can be consensual.

A great example of prisoners doing this behind bars is in the organization Men Against Sexism which was in Washington state in the 1970s.(1) Our conditions today are different than those faced by Washington prisoners at the time, but we can still address gender oppression as part of our overall struggle to build unity.

Notes:
1. A California prisoner, "Defining Rape," September 2014, ULK 40.
2. Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons), "MIM(Prisons) Pwned by Sexual Liberalism?." November 2014.
3. PTT of MIM(Prisons), "Review: The Anti-Exploits of Men Against Sexism," ULK 29, November 2012.

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[United Front] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 42]
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Brown Berets - Prison Chapter of Colorado Join United Front for Peace

The Brown Berets - Prison Chapter of Colorado would like to join on to the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). We adhere to all that is listed and we see the need for the UFPP as a major building block not only to create a better culture, but to build better people.

Peace – We stand by this principle, because within our disunity and conflict the system will always prevail.

Unity – The guards are a solid unit, and back up their own 100% of the time. It's time that all of us convicted comrades see past our internal structures when it comes to defending against mistreatment and abuse by the guards. We will back all convicted comrades 100%.

Growth – Education and deliberation, this is a way to develop revolutionary mindsets to set us on a path toward communist ideology. It only works with structure and discipline.

Internationalism – We stand with all oppressed people, their political struggles and their fights for freedom. We will learn of the historical basis for these movements and side with all nations combating U.$. intervention, occupation, exploitation and imperialism. Free Gaza!

Independence – Not only is it important to build institutions apart from the United $tates, we also need to tell the truth by showing examples as to why this is necessary. We support all secession movements and support all liberation struggles within U.$. borders. The military occupied government of this monstrosity we call the United $tates has gone for too long and we support all who wish to break free.

Long live independence!
Remember Wounded Knee!
Unite!


MIM(Prisons) replies: As this comrade writes, unity is something the guards have and we need to work on. But this doesn't mean we should back up all prisoners 100% of the time. Sometimes people who sensibly should be on our side will act in ways that are counter to the interests of the oppressed. We don't have an obligation to back them in these actions. Rather than backing people based on identity (i.e. all prisoners) we should back people based on the correctness of their political line and actions.

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[United Front] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 42]
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New Afrikan Uhuru Movement Joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

I have incorporated the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons into the fabric of my organization here in the penal colony in the state of Maryland. We are the New Afrikan Uhuru Movement, and our aim is to elevate the level of consciousness of the convict class from that of a criminal mindset to a socio-political revolutionary consciousness.

We have adopted MIM as our educational ministry. Our educational curriculum is designed to render to each member, and civilian supporter, a contemporary approach to revolutionary ideology aimed at destroying this machine called capitalism. We are educating our comrades about the evils of imperialism, and economic exploitation and political alienation of the proletariat. We believe firmly in the dictatorship of the proletariat. We are resolved in the belief that the class system produced by capitalism must be destroyed. We believe that the western global aspiration of "democracy" is nothing more than a cover for hegemony.

Based on the implementation of the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons we have systematically reduced the level of violence and exploitation of prisoners against prisoners greatly. We have a long way to go but we believe that political education is the key to our liberation. Thank you for your continued support and count us among your extended branches.

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[United Front] [Will County Adult Detention Facility] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 42]
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Declaration of Unity for the United Front for Peace in Prisons

We, the members of GBW & Associates, and the residents of the Will County Adult Detention Facility who shall this day, and henceforth, willingly pledge their allegiance to this Declaration of Unity, and consequently to the United Front for Peace in Prisons, state that:

  1. The imperialist oppressors, having dominated over the poor, the impoverished, the weak, and the innocent, all to their great harm and injury, are deserving of no loyalty or fealty, and must be fought against utilizing every tool available;
  2. The principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons, to wit, Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism, and Independence, provide a core of unity among the oppressed masses in prisons in the United States; and
  3. These principles shall be adhered to by every person who reports to fight against imperialism and the tyrannical system of exploitation known as capitalism and the subsequent evils propagated by such system.

For the foregoing reasons, we hereby enter into covenant, and pledge to uphold the five principles, to defend the Declaration of Unity, and to promote the peace and welfare of all mankind.

We further pledge to defend and protect the poor, the weak, the innocent, and the oppressed utilizing any tools available; to utilize all possessed skills and talents to fight against imperialist oppressors; and to show our loyalty and devotion to any person reporting to do the same.

Be it enacted this tenth day of October: In the year of the common era two thousand and fourteen, by the unanimous consent of the undersigned GBW & Associates, residents of the Will County Adult Detention Facility.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This statement comes from a group of jailhouse lawyers specializing in prisoners' rights advocacy and litigation. Recognizing that they have skills specifically important to the legal arena of our anti-imperialist battle, these comrades have built an independent institution of the oppressed. This sets a good example for everyone: you should get in wherever you fit in. If you are an artist, get involved by creating revolutionary art. If you are a writer, submit articles for Under Lock & Key. If you are bilingual, help out with Spanish translation. And for everyone, constantly study and learn. Join the MIM(Prisons)-led study groups, and form your own local study groups. We can provide literature and study guides, but it's up to you to get involved, contribute work, and build independence.

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[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 42]
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Texas Hides Grievance Manual from Prisoners

I have late breaking news to report regarding the Texas offender grievance manual. There was a memo sent out to all Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) prisons from the Access-to-Courts Supervisor, Frank Hoke. Here is the note as written:


Effective immediately the offender grievance manual will no longer be available in the law library. As such, please remove all copies of the offender grievance manual from your shelves. Make a note on your holdings list it has been removed and in its place write 'summary of significant changes to the offender grievance program.' The next revised holdings list will not include the offender grievance manual. In addition, cut out the below notice and post it in your law library for offender review. Should you have any questions, please contact the office at 936-437-4816.

Added: Emergency grievances that are repetitive in nature or have been previously identified and or addressed in another grievance will not be considered an emergency grievance and will be processed as a regular grievance. If at any time grievance staff cannot determine the grievance is repetitive in nature, the grievance will be processed as an emergency grievance according to the guidelines established in the offender grievance operations manual.

Added: 3rd party allegations of sexual abuse. Note: allegations of 3rd party sexual harassment will not be addressed and removed. The term 'specialty grievances' has been removed. Non-emergency grievances shall be processed as regular grievances subject to all screening criteria

Revised: time limits: disciplinary appeals and step 2 grievances shall be processed within 40 days of receipt from offender

Added: grievances that do not describe a reported use of force that was excessive or unnecessary do not warrant any further action and shall be considered non-grievable *enforcing*: 1 issue per grievance

9/30/14 9:24am authority: Frank Hoke.

I am letting all comrades know about this because it affects us all, and now we have no access to what the grievance codes are, the rules of the grievance manual, etc. This is a step in the wrong direction.

I did receive some letters back in response to my grievance petition. One came from Congressman Lloyd Doggett who wrote "Thank you for sharing your concerns with me. I am honored that you have the confidence in me to assist you with this matter. However since Congress has no jurisdiction over state issues I have forwarded your communication to the honorable Susan King Texas State House of Representatives, PO Box 2376, Abilene, TX 79604. Again thank you for taking the time to write me." Administrative Review & Risk Management sent a note when they received the grievance petition. They marked "please utilize the offender grievance procedure to address your concerns." The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) mailed an interoffice communication to me that an OIG investigation will not be conducted in response to the grievance petition.


MIM(Prisons) responds: After four years of campaigning to demand grievances be addressed in Texas, we now have the prison administrators taking action. This action is not to address prisoners' grievances, as their laws and procedures require, but rather to stop prisoners from finding out what the rules say. Fortunately, we already have an extensive guide to fighting grievances in Texas, which we distribute to prisoners, and it contains all the information needed from the TDCJ's grievance manual. We won't let this administrative move slow down the Texas campaign. In response we call on all Texas prisoners to make use of our grievance pack to fight the system on every violation of rules and regulations. File grievances and demand they be addressed. Flood the prison and the appeals system with legitimate grievances and show them that removal of their rules will not stop this fight. Write to MIM(Prisons) for a copy of the Texas grievance materials.

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[Campaigns] [Legal] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 42]
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Right to Assist Others with Legal Work

The Injustice System
To the comrade who wrote the article titled "South Carolina Stops Grievance Challenge Process" in ULK 33, I would like to commend you and provide ammo. You say the pigs move you around to different segregated dorms when they find out you are assisting other prisoners with their legal work. The clearly established right to assist others with legal work has been in place for over three decades in Corpus v. Estelle 551 F2d 68 (5th Cir 1977). Even though South Carolina is in the 4th Circuit, case law from the 5th Circuit can still be cited as a persuasive authority.

As for the problem of unprocessing your grievances, take a look at your prison's policies and see if they make reference to an offender grievance manual. They might have criteria for making a grievance unprocessed. Check and see if there is information on access to courts and if the manual has criteria with words such as what that administration "must," "will," or "shall" do before unprocessing the grievance. This is how you determine a "liberty interest," if the policy mandates any constitutional process due under the 4th or 14th Amendments.

Also look at these cases: Tool Sparashad v. Bureau of Prisons, 268 F3d 576, 585 (DC 2002) and Herron v. Harrison, 203 F3d 410-416 (6th Cir 2006) on matters concerning grievance and retaliation.

Teach as much as you know to others wanting and willing to learn, and keep on pushing comrade! Keep promoting use of the pen in legal warfare! Remember, winners never quit and quitters never win.

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[Control Units] [Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 42]
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Unity Against Georgia Torture Units

I am currently housed in Georgia Department of Corrections's (GDC) Tier 3 program. This is the only Tier 3 facility in the state at this time. There are Tier 2 programs at every close-max facility in Georgia which means there are about 10 of these units altogether. These programs are sensory deprivation torture at its extreme.

There is no due process or even a set standard that GDC goes by to place prisoners in these programs. If you file too many grievances, don't get along with the administration at a camp, or if snitches and rats give information to staff about your activities that can't even be proven, Georgia will place you on the tier.

At Tier 3 there are "phases" to the program, but all prisoners for the first 90 days are locked in a cell with only a shower, toilet, sink, and bunk. All windows are covered with metal, and you are allowed no outside recreation for at least 90 days. During this period you are allowed no books, no magazines, none of your personal property except what legal work the facility deems necessary. There is no store call except stamps and paper (which are also limited), no phone calls, and no hygiene except state issue.

In the whole state of Georgia we are fed only breakfast and dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. With no store call on the weekends, they basically enforce starvation torture on us. If prisoners try to resist in any way they are pepper sprayed or beaten. Guards slam prisoners' arms and hands in heavy metal door flaps, curse at us, threaten to not feed us, and then when they don't feed us they say we refused our trays.

We have to fight this. I have filed three grievances so far in the 50 days I've been here, about the illegal classification and the fictionalized classification standards. All have gone unanswered.

There are 200 prisoners all on Tier 3 at this facility. All over Georgia there are probably 5,000 prisoners or more facing these oppressive conditions. I am a white ghostface and I am introducing my organization to the precepts of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. None of our policies, laws, creeds, or codes go against what the front stands for, nor does it go against what the MIM stands for or believes in.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Georgia's tier system is being used to target activists and anyone the prison wants to isolate. We have many comrades now locked down in isolation. If anything, the torture is breeding resistance and organization in Georgia. This comrade sets a good example, looking to educate and organize others, including any organizations that might join the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Coming together around the UFPP principle of Unity we can build a movement to take on long-term isolation units like they have in Georgia, as a part of the broader fight against the criminal injustice system.

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[Spanish] [ULK Issue 42]
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Amerikanos se Alegran Mientras el Militarismo de U.$ Amenaza Vidas Amerikanas

La propaganda de conflicto esta a niveles altos en los Estados Unidos, aparentemente no se ha tomado ninguna lección positiva del 11 Septiembre 2001. Se tomó por lo menos una década para que los Amerikanos perdieran interés en la Ocupación de Afganistán e Iraq por el EE UU Esto contribuyo a que casi dos-tercios de Amerikanos estuvieran opuestos al empuje de Obama para invadir Siria hace menos de un año. Ahora, por lo menos dos-tercios de la población esta de acuerdo con Obama en controlar el gobierno de Siria más bien que las Cabezas de periodistas Amerikanos se mantengan pegadas a sus cuerpos.

El militarismo se conduce con un sistema económico que esta construido alrededor de la producción de armas y requiere guerra para mantener su demanda. Embarques de armas han incrementado recientemente para I$rael, Ucrania, Siria, e Iraq en donde EE UU ha reasumido campañas de bombardeo que están destruyendo cientos de millones de dolares en valor de equipo militar Amerikano ahora en las manos del Estado Islámico. Cada golpe que se hace de cualquier lado en esa guerra es un dar para negocios Amerikanos.

Entretanto, Russia ha sido muy claro que no va a permitir que Ucrania se una a la Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte (OTAN - North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO). Los Estados Unidos y Russia son los poderes nucleares mas grandes del mundo. Aún así Obama esta empujando a Ucrania para que se una a la NATO, y el sentimiento Amerikano anti-Russo esta aumentando apoyándolo. Conflicto abierto con Russia solo incrementaría enormemente el ya inaceptablemente riesgo de un catástrofe nuclear debido al militarismo.

Los últimos 15 años han probado que el militarismo del EE UU no se puede parar con el movimiento Amerikano anti-guerra. Mejor dicho, revolucionarios en los Estados Unidos se deberían de enfocar en empujar la lucha por la liberación nacional de las semi-colonias internas en solidaridad con el Tercer Mundo. Campañas como la que apoya a Palestina por prisioneros de California son positivo para construir anti-militarismo en los Estados Unidos.

Actualmente los medios y políticos del Occidente promueven la linea de que el Estado Islámico es la amenaza más grande hacia la paz mundial. Están lejos de la marca. Ese papel siempre se ha mantenido en las manos de los Estados Unidos y su industria militar.

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 42]
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3BKingdom Joins UFPP

The Black Blood Brotha and Sistahood known as the 3BKingdom is a government of guerrilla revolutionary freedom fighters whose long-term objective is to be Black leaders over our destinies. With this objective in mind we know and understand this cannot be done without a revolution. The 3BKingdom uses knowledge of self and people to recruit people who were known for gang banging, educating them in order for them to become revolutionarily conscious, and making them true revolutionaries fighting for a true cause instead of being puppets for the establishment, killing and beefing with one another for nothing at all. As we continue to grow we understand that it is important that we make alliances with organizations who stand on similar principles in hopes to network and broaden our views to strengthen our solidarity amongst the masses so we can succeed in the revolution. We are against the establishment and we pledge our alliance to the united front to turn these concentration camps into guerrilla revolutionary freedom fighter training camps. I hope that you all accept the 3Bkingdom into the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

There are a few of my brothers here who have participated in your study group and it has received great reviews, so it is our decision to make all our members, once they pass a certain level of their studies, join MIM study groups.


MIM(Prisons) adds:We want to team up with United Front members to develop educational programs. We need local comrades to teach basic reading and writing first. Literate comrades can join our correspondence courses to develop their political studies. Once there is someone with some political background to lead local study groups, we can provide study guides and books. Your group can also develop its own study guides around what topics you are studying and submit them to us for possible distribution to other study groups. Let's grow together.

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[Security] [Abuse] [Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 42]
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Pigs Kill in Oregon, Punish Prisoners while Pretending to Investigate

I've been at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution for a relatively short time and since landing here I've been pretty amazed at the level of abuses carried out by the swine. They make up totally fictitious claims in order to write prisoners up for rule violations and throw them in isolation. In the past four months I've experienced this twice. Both times costing me visits with my family and broken or stolen property by the pigs. Once I was given a fine of $100. Others have been given fines plus 180 days in isolation and moved to extended isolation units called Intensive Management Unit where prisoners will spend at least a year in isolation.

In the regular housing units the swine routinely berate prisoners, threaten us with isolation and violence, put us in potentially harmful situations involving other prisoners, and they use any small rule violation committed by a single or two prisoners to throw whole groups of people in isolation. Most recently I've seen people get shoved into the isolation units for having the tongue of their shoe poking outside of their pants cuff or refusing to sit at chow hall tables belonging to other groups. I'm not arguing the "right or wrong" about divisive grouping or "ownership", I'm only pointing out the fact that pigs are purposely trying to manipulate us into harmful, potentially violent situations. If we refuse, we get shoved into isolation and given fines.

Because of the swine insisting on pushing us into conflict scenarios with each other at constantly escalating levels, people are beginning to lash out under the pressure. Unfortunately, for the extreme majority of prisoners, we really have no education in organizational strategy or structure; we've never been taught proper modes of function and effective progress. Unfortunately we've got this idea that taking lessons and direction from those more qualified than ourselves somehow diminishes us as individuals or makes us somehow inferior. Instead of making positive steps to educate ourselves and to apply ourselves productively, we fall right into the trap and lash out at each other.

Falling into that trap and lashing out at each other is actually the most counter-productive thing we could possibly do. Aside from reaffirming to ourselves that gang and race divisions are necessary for self-protection against our peers, it also confirms and justifies the pigs' assertion that we need to be constantly repressed, punished, abused — essentially victimized. They treat us like animals, so because of our refusal to take productive direction or self-educate, we resort to reactionary, self-inflicting outbursts. By reacting in these ways all we're doing is contributing to our own escalating repression.

Possibly the worst part of all this is all the fucking snitchery goin' on. Ben Franklin said "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." I whole heartedly agree. In the context of this environment here. The "temporary safety" these coward rats are seeking is safety from the pigs who would otherwise make their lives even more hellish than it already is. If you don't tell on your peers, the swine will target you, write you up, take you shit, or put you in the hole. But if you do tell, they let you be.

The reason I can say these cowards are not interested in safety from other prisoners, but from the pigs themselves is because the rats are mostly those so-called "good dudes." It makes sense too. It's the "good dudes" who are always in the loop, who know shit. The meek among us simply want to be left alone for the most part.

So there you have it. The pigs crack down on us, we talk about doing something about it, we get snitched on and the snitches get less cracked down on than the rest of us while the pigs crack down harder. Those of us who chose to retain our sense of dignity and self-respect in the face of all this while also valuing our sense of self-preservation are left with the recourse of keeping our mouths shut, our eyes shut, our ears shut and trying to attract as little attention to ourselves as possible while we all get crushed together — even the coward rats.

Well, yesterday things took to a new level. On 29 August, a Friday morning, two friends of mine got into a simple minor fist fight. Instead of firing a warning shot, the pig fired into the chest of one of them. I watched him fall and as he rolled on the ground another pig came up and sprayed him then jumped on him. I watched my friend struggle to get a pig off of him while he choked to death on his own blood.

It took several minutes for the medical staff to even get to the yard. While waiting, I looked at the proud pig standing like Captain Morgan with his rifle laid across his arm. When he saw me looking at him as I lay on the ground, he put his rifle up to his eye and pointed it at me. Hopefully he saw my mouth say "fuck you" through his scope.

Finally, when the medical staff showed up to the yard, they walked slowly, across a basketball court, while a nurse was giving my friend chest suppressions and mouth-to-mouth. They shuffled across the track, while we all yelled for them to run, to hurry, they moseyed across the soccer field. The swine cleared everyone off the yard before the medical swine would do anything to save my friend. By then he was already gone. He was a young kid in his early 20s, and a phenomenal artist in any medium you could imagine. He applied himself to his own personal development and excellence with passion and he studied hard and made a point of constantly improving himself on a daily basis. He was funny and brilliant and had an endless depth of potential. And he was the victim of an ignorant murderer whose only purpose in life is to maintain a system built on the misery of us and our families.

Now the whole institution is locked down. All of us — white, black, brown, red — have been slammed down in our cells, and they say we'll be slammed for at least a week. Why? Because one of them killed one of us. We'll be eating sack lunches. Our family visits will be canceled. They've been pulling people out for "interviews" all night. I watched the ambulance pull out of the parking lot from my cell window. It was driving slowly. No rush.

Sure, I blame the pigs. But even more, I blame all you slimy little rats who do the pigs work for them. You little worms who deceive your friends and inflict them with isolation at the hands of your enemies in exchange for scraps and pats on the head. As much as you fuckers disgust me, I'll also say though that it's not too late for you to stop informing on your friends and peers. The moment we can create a real and true structure of unity — even a disorganized one at first — will be the moment we have the power to shape our own communities.

Update: I was pulled out for an "interview" last night. It was a detective from the Oregon state police. They interviewed every prisoner who was on the yard when my friend was murdered. The detective told me I was the last one he would be interviewing, which I found interesting and a bit suspicious. He informed me that as a matter of protocol it's his duty to read me my Miranda rights before the actual recorded interview. He read it to everyone, just a routine, ya know. Okay, I said. Go ahead. Let me stress certain points of what he said: He said anything I say will be used against me. He also said I have the right to remain silent, and that I also in fact have the right to an attorney. When he finished reading me this list of my so-called "rights" what I said in response was: "I have no problem speaking with you, but I'd like to invoke my right to an attorney before we begin." He looked at me in surprise and said "well...okay then" and shut off the tape recorder. After it was off, he said "Wow, I've interviewed almost 200 people today and you're the only one who asked for a lawyer." I asked if anyone chose to remain silent and he said only about four or five people. I said "imagine that."

Thanks to you all in solidarity.


MIM(prisons) responds: We share this writer's call for unity among prisoners. The pigs will try to turn people against one another, and will take advantage of those who want a few privileges in exchange for snitching. Building unity is one of the key principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons: "We strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity." It is not enough for us to criticize the snitches. We need to build unity with all who can be won to the side of anti-imperialism, and by solidifying this core we will isolate the snitches and make their jobs harder.

The existence of snitches underscores the importance of a solid security practice. You can't be sure that someone overhearing your conversation won't run to the pigs with what they learn. As one of our USW comrades wrote recently: "So often we hear prisoners commenting on how great the power of snitches and provocateurs are, and it bothers me that we are able to concentrate so much energy on them instead of on the tactics of countering their elementary crosses, and their state." Security is a key part of self-defense for the revolutionary movement at this time. We cannot predict what tactics you need to use where you're at, but we urge all serious about revolutionary organizing to think carefully about security and communications.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [McConnell Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 42]
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Building Unity Fighting National Divisions in Texas

On a daily basis, we here at the McConnell Unit experience backlash for any and every thing we do to stand up for ourselves. I have been at a receiving end for some time. I have now been confined as a "security threat group (STG) member or leader" and am constantly being watched by the pigs. I am a considered a confirmed gang member despite ten years without any major disciplinary cases, gang involvement/activity, or fights.

Now, because of that my mail has gone missing, and has been denied without my knowledge. The mailroom staff has to notify and give you a pink paper to let you know your mail was denied and for what reason. My family has received two of their letters returned to them as "denied" yet I have never been called to the mailroom as per policy to be advised that I am being denied a letter. Plus the last thing I received from MIM(prisons) was the three past issues of ULK. As you can see I am targeted. I am used to it.

I spoke with the Gang Investigator two weeks ago. I told him that I am not gang related, have never been, and his response was plainly "we can start the process to get you off file, but it will take a year." This is after I have already gone through the process twice in ten years.

I have been pushing hard on our section for unity and peace amongst Latinos and Afrikan Amerikans. There is a lot of racial hatred on this unit, and no one seems to want to get along. Since 2007 I have tried and tried to make peace between two races who are always at each others' throats. I put up articles from ULK on a common area bulletin board so all these brothers can open their eyes to what they are too blind to see. I speak individually to different people and tell them they have the power to change the minds of these new "inmates" coming in and teach them that they are not inmates, they are human beings! Furthermore color is not a factor. All the pigs see is white uniform. All we see is skin color. And that is wrong, brothers.

We need to realize that together as one solid voice we can move mountains. We can be heard! We can achieve. Stop looking at each other with malice and hate. The pigs will take all your property, destroy your pictures, confiscate your commissary, and lock you up under false pretenses, yet some will overlook that only to fight the next brother because he owes a soup (25 cents) or changed the TV channel. Open your eyes! All of us!

We recently came off of a 30-day semi-annual lockdown. B-side on the unit is all lifers and medium custody prisoners. We had not been to store a week before lockdown, and after lockdown (on the 16th of July) we still have not been to commissary. Today is the 26th. So that's 47 days more or less. On the 21st we staged a sit in. We agreed that we in solidarity would go to lunch and all of us would sit down in the hallway until the majors and wardens came to speak to us. Fifty of us inside and out of the chowhalls, all in unity, sat down requesting the wardens to come speak. Sure enough all the lieutenants, captains, majors and wardens came to speak to us.

I told them (at all times) that it was a peaceful demonstration about our mistreatment on many issues but also concerning commissary being denied to B-Side while A side had gone twice to commissary and were fixing to go for a third time. Despite cameras to record us "initiating riots," and threats about being locked up and given disciplinary cases, we stood our ground. (Although some ran away at the first sign of the wardens coming and some did not actually attend the sit-in.)

The main warden speaking told us he would work on getting us commissary. He gave us his word and we in unity and unison got up and went back to our building. Our commissary schedule was dated as us not going to store until the 29th. But thanks to our actions we started going sooner, on the 24th.

We have 3 pods on our building and when we told the other 2 pods to help us they refused. We did it alone. Yet thanks to us they are going to store. Ironic that they believed our actions would be in vain yet enjoy the victory we achieved.

Basically we need to stand together. Not in violence. That only gives them the excuse that we belong in prison. Instead we all need to unite in solidarity. I would rather fight 5 years to live my next 15 peacefully and not mistreated rather than live all 20 under mistreatment and torture! And to all the brothers in here that sit back and take it: Why talk about war stories of you being this big bad "gangsta" out there who takes nothing from no one and give a story of "don't disrespect me" only to sit back and be compliant with the pigs?

Recently a Federal lawsuit against Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was filed regarding the inhumane heat in the prisons. TDCJ responded that it's not an issue because they employ huge fans, air blowers and cold water as preventive measures to ensure safety. What they didn't state was that only one of those fans works in every section (one sits idle) and the air blowers do not work either. And cold water is hard to get because the pigs don't let us fill the coolers up until they feel like it. So that excuse isn't even true! Open your eyes brothers in Texas. Enough is enough! The fight continues. Don't give up or give in. Never let race be a factor! Power to all people!


MIM(Prisons) responds: We echo this comrade's call for unity across all groups of prisoners so that we can join together in the fight against the criminal injustice system.

Rather than define people by "race" however, we talk about nations. Racism is the idea that there are different biological differences between people. The anti-racists still claim people are separated into different "races" even though they acknowledge that there is no biological or material basis to this claim. The concept of racial differences between people is a product of national oppression that was invented as an ideological justification for colonialism and slavery of the "lesser" races.

We recognize that there are distinct nations within U.$. borders with common language, culture, economics and geography, which face subjugation as a group. So there are different groups within U.$. borders, but we advance beyond the anti-racists by defining those groups materially. The oppressed nations within U.$. borders include at least the [email protected], New Afrikan and First Nations. Rather than trying to integrate these peoples into the oppressor Amerikan nation, like the anti-racists are doing, we work to liberate them from imperialism to take control of their own national territories and form their own independent states, free from imperialism and oppression.

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