Under Lock & Key Issue 47 - December 2015

Under Lock & Key

Expand ULK. Send us $50 concealed cash with an address and we'll send you a stack of each issue for the next year. help out
[Gender] [Congress Resolutions] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Attacking the Myth of Binary Biology: MIM(Prisons) Eliminates Gendered Language

Can't Hold Us Down

Resolutions on Gender Pronouns and Secure Communications

A couple resolutions passed at our 2015 Congress in July. One was focused on clarifying our policy on securing our communications outside of prisons. The full policy remains internal, but it reads in part, "Our policy is that we do not have cell relations over the internet if the other cell will not use PGP or equivalent encryption." This clarifies our existing practice.

The second resolution was proposed to change our use of pronouns to reflect the non-binary reality of biological sex categories. This proposal was taken as a task for further research as comrades were not well enough informed on the topic to put it to a vote at that time. Below is our final resolution on this question, as a result of further research and discussion.

Distinguishing Biology from Gender

As revolutionaries committed to fighting gender oppression, we distinguish between the biology/physiology of sex (male/female), and the socially constructed categories of gender (men/wimmin).

Our definition of gender places it firmly within leisure-time:

"Historically reproductive status was very important to gender, but today the dynamics of leisure-time and humyn biological development are the material basis of gender. For example, children are the oppressed gender regardless of genitalia, as they face the bulk of sexual oppression independent of class and national oppression.

"People of biologically superior health-status are better workers, and that's a class thing, but if they have leisure-time, they are also better sexually privileged. We might think of models or prostitutes, but professional athletes of any kind also walk this fine line. Athletes, models and well-paid prostitutes are not oppressed as 'objects,' but in fact they hold sexual privilege. Older and disabled people as well as the very sick are at a disadvantage, not just at work but in leisure-time. For that matter there are some people with health statuses perfectly suited for work but not for leisure-time."(1)

Our definition of gender has not changed. But with our growing understanding of the artificially binary definition of biological sex, MIM(Prisons) is changing our use of language to better reflect the reality of biology.

A Bit of History on Biology

In the past MIM line has treated the biology of sex as basically binary: males and females. But humyn biology has never been entirely binary with relation to sex characteristics. There are a range of interactions between chromosomes, hormone expressions and sexual organ development. The resulting variation in anatomical and reproductive characteristics include a lot of people who do not fit the standard binary expectation. Studies suggest that as many as 1 in 100 births deviate from the standard physical expectations of sex biology.(2) To this day anything deviating from the "normal" binary of distinct male or female is seen by mainstream society as a disorder to be corrected or covered up. Genital surgeries are conducted on newborn babies causing lifelong pain and suffering just to "correct" a body part that is seen as too large or small, or even just because a baby identified by doctors to be a boy might grow up unable to pee standing up.(3)

People who are born with variations in sex and reproductive organs that don't fit the typical binary are termed intersex. This term encompasses a wide range of biological expressions, including people entirely indistinguishable from society's definition of males and females without a chromosomal test or other invasive physical examination. There are even instances where someone would be identified female by a certain set of criteria (such as an external physical examination) but male by another set (such as a chromosome test).

The Value of Removing Biologically-determined Pronouns

From studying the history of humyn biology we learn that it's not possible to easily identify the biological sex of an individual. In fact, there's nothing wrong with having a spectrum of biological characteristics that we don't have to fit into two neat categories. Further, we do not generally see value in identifying biological sex unless it is the specific topic of discussion. We are committed to fighting gender oppression. And part of this fight involves teaching people not to be concerned with the biology of others, and instead to judge them for their work and the correctness of their political ideas.

Many languages are relatively gender neutral compared to english. Chinese is just one example. These languages do not suffer from confusion about the identity of people, and they are arguably much easier to learn and use in this regard. In Spanish, the transition to a gender neutral language has already begun with the use of @ in place of o/a in gendered words. While English does not offer us a similar gender-neutral option, we have a history of modifying the language to suit our revolutionary purposes. We have changed America to Amerikkka to identify the domination of national oppression in this country. And we have changed woman to womyn to remove the implication that a "woman" is just an appendage to a "man."

Building on MIM's Legacy

For most of MIM's history, it used gender-neutral pronouns of "h" instead of his, her, him, hers; and "s/he" instead of she or he. Ten years ago at MIM's 2005 Congress, a resolution was passed on gender-neutral pronouns, which read:

"MIM hereby extends its policy on anti-patriarchal language (including such spellings as 'womyn,' 'wimmin,' 'persyn,' and 'humyn') to cover the use of gender-neutral third-person singular pronouns. Henceforth feminine pronouns will be used for persyns of unknown sex who are friends of the international proletariat and masculine pronouns will be used for enemies of unknown sex.

"Examples:
'From each according to her abilities, to each according to her needs.'
'A true comrade devotes her life to serving the people.'
'The enemy will not perish of himself.'
'A labor aristocrat derives much of his income from superprofits.'

"This rule applies only to the otherwise ambiguous cases when sex is not stated. Accordingly, George Bu$h is still 'he' and Madeleine Albright is 'she,' although both are enemies. All MCs, HCs, and others close to MIM are 'she' at this time, since their real sex cannot be revealed, for security reasons.

"Traditional patriarchal grammar maintains that 'he' is the only correct 'gender-neutral' pronoun in all of the examples above. MIM's realignment of the pronouns along the lines of 'Who are our friends? Who are our enemies?' is more egalitarian and corresponds fairly well to the facts at this point in history."

While we see great value in the above resolution, in applying it to our practical work we ran into many problems. Regular readers of ULK may recognize that MIM(Prisons) has defaulted to the old MIM practice of using "h" and "s/he" pronouns.

The vast majority of MIM(Prisons)'s subscribers are cis-males, meaning they were classified as male at birth and they self-identify as male today. (Note that these criteria are not material tests of one's sex.) Much of our subscribers' reasons for being imprisoned in the first place is related to this male classification. And they are held in facilities that are "male only." Prison is an environment which heightens all of society's contradictions, and this environment tends to be even more violent in reinforcing social codes of conduct (including "male" and "female" social markers) than the outside world.

In our practice of running a prisoner support organization with our organizing resting heavily on the written word, we have seen it as too confusing to use "she" pronouns for our cis-male comrades. Further, the 2005 resolution is not clear on whether prisoners as a whole, who are of the lumpen class, should be referred to as "she" or "he." Historically the lumpen is a vacillating class, which is in a tug-of-war between bourgeois and proletarian influence. Determining if the lumpen are "friends of the international proletariat" is sometimes unclear. Thus the use of "h" and "s/he" was much more useful in our specific work.

We believe this new writing policy will have a positive impact for our transgender, transexual, and genderqueer subscribers and contributors as well. The preferred pronouns of these groups are often individually self-selected, as is how they present their gender identification. (Note that preferred pronouns and gender identification are not material definitions of one's sex or gender.) Defaulting everyone's pronouns to a singular set of gender-neutral pronouns reduces the subjectivism inherent in this type of identity politics. We hope our new writing policy will draw this movement into a more materialist and internationalist direction.

New Writing Policy

When referring to an individual in the third persyn, we will use either their name or the neutral pronouns of ey, em, and eir to replace s/he and h. Ey, em, and eir are singularized versions of they, them, and their and we believe these more accurately reflect the biological sex of humyns, in that they downplay the inaccurate binary which has developed over thousands of years of patriarchal history. We also think ey/em/eir will have the greatest ease of use, from the wide selection of gender neutral pronoun sets which have been proposed in the past.(5)

We define men and wimmin as those who are oppressors in leisure time and those who are oppressed in leisure time, respectively, and regardless of biological genitalia or reproductive capacity.(4) This is the strand of oppression called gender. When referring to people or individuals when gender is relevant, we will refer to them as men or wimmin and use he or she pronouns. (Similarly, we don't always reference other defining characteristics of our correspondents, but we do refer to someone as "New Afrikan" or "clean-shaven" when relevant.)

chain
[United Front] [Vermont] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

The United Lumpen Front for Peace & Unity in Virginia Prisons

[A comrade in the Virginia prison system sent us a proposal for a United Front among lumpen organizations in that state. When we sent some feedback on the statement we got this response explaining that so far it has been difficult to build support for the united front. The author also explains why this statement is focused on New Afrikan lumpen groups. MIM(Prisons) did not substantively edit the peace treaty except to remove one point of conduct prohibiting sagging pants. In discussion with the author we agreed that this is divisive on a point that is not critical to the united front. - MIM(Prisons)]

The inspiration for this peace agreement is the Agreement to End Hostilities that the imprisoned comrades put together in California back in 2012. Unlike the California prison system, there isn't a legacy of revolutionary formations in the Virginia prison system. There is virtually no code of conduct, no guidelines of discipline, etc. amongst the general population and even within the lumpen organizations here. Pretty much "anything goes." So the peace treaty is an attempt to establish a "Central" code of conduct or guidelines of discipline that all organization affiliates could accept and embrace, which will then establish unity and have us all moving in one accord.

When I say "us", I am referring to New Afrikans because as Huey Newton stated: "there can be no black-white unity until there first is black unity." And as it presently stands, there is virtually no black unity in the Virginia prison system as it pertains to the "struggle." So, before we can work towards black-white/black-brown unity, we first have to establish black-black unity.

I am sad to inform you that it was not a success on a large scale, although a few individual members from various lumpen organization embraced the peace treaty. I grant you permission to modify the peace treaty as you see fit. It is only an idea, and as with all ideas, they evolve over time and blossom into something transformative and revolutionary.

The United Lumpen Front for Peace & Unity in Virginia Prisons

The basis of any real and lasting unity amongst all lumpen "tribal" or "street" organizations inside Virginia prisons requires an agreement on the following points and guidelines. We must hold each other accountable if any one of our comrades fail to uphold these points and guidelines.

Points of Unity & Peace

  1. Peace: We organize to end the needless and petty disagreements, conflicts and violence between ALL lumpen organizations in the Virgina prison environment. Our captors (the pig administrators) use Willie Lynch style divide-and-control tactics so that we fight, oppose and oppress each other instead of using our time and energy on challenging and changing unjust and inhumane prison conditions. If we want to change our conditions, defend ourselves from racist oppression and regain control of our own lives and destinies, we must establish lasting peace in all Virginia prisons and organize across lumpen "tribal" and "street" organizational lines for our own survival.
  2. Unity: We must achieve power by uniting, bonding, and struggling side by side with people in other lumpen organizations who face the same oppression, the same genocide, and the same enemy for our own common interests and survival.

To maintain lasting unity, we must establish a mutual love and respect between all lumpen organizations, and maintain an open line of communication so that we can peacefully and strategically handle any conflicts or disagreements that may arise. This is especially needed in Virginia prisons because of how our captors (i.e. pig investigators) use snitches/informants to pass rumors that divide us and keep us oppressed. The reactionary pig administration uses such tactics because they see the end of their control within our unity.

Proposal of Guidelines to Achieve Peace and Unity Amongst Lumpen Organizations in Virginia Prisons

We must establish a committee made up of two people from all lumpen "rival" organizations. This committee will facilitate an open line of communication and networking between all lumpen organizations, and at all times work to maintain peace and unity in the event conflicts and/or disagreements arise. Therefore, those people appointed to this committee must have considerable respect and influence within their respective organizations. This committee shall meet once a month (or as needed) to address grievances, resolve conflicts and disagreements, and discuss strategies on how we can best fight oppression and improve our living conditions in a collective manner. In addition to the above, in order to create structure in our prison environment based on discipline and militancy, and draw a clear line of distinction between us and our common enemy, this committee should establish the following rules for all lumpen organization members:

  1. People from different lumpen organization should strive to eat together in the cafeteria, walk the yard together, work out together, study history together and smile and show love and respect for each other at all times. This will allow us to build a bond based on Black-on-Black bulletproof love and unity, and allow us to see each other as allies and comrades instead of rivals and enemies.
  2. Stop laughing, joking, playing, and engaging in casual conversations with ALL prison staff members. Don't initiate any conversation with them unless it's for the purpose of trying to get personal matters taken care of. If prison staff members speak, then it is up to that individual prisoner to choose to speak back out of courtesy, or not. This draws a clear line of distinction between us and our common enemy and will cause our oppressors/captors to take us seriously and have much more respect for us than at present. This also builds unity because it will give us the sense that we are doing something collectively.
  3. Stop throwing your hoods up, peacing each other up, stacking, etc. in front of (or in clear view of) all prison staff members. The wise should always move in silence and we should never expose who we are, what we are, or who our comrades are to the pig administration.
  4. No one should engage in the creation or passing of any rumors or gossip. The pigs use rumors and gossip to sow seeds of dissent and distrust amongst the oppressed. If a comrade attempts to create or pass any rumors or gossip it must be immediately reported to a committee member.
  5. Every accusation made against a comrade should be backed up with true facts and not based on assumptions or poor intelligence, information, or understanding.
  6. Everyone who has a minimum of ten years left to serve must attend the law library, study and learn the law, and work on their own case, or assist another comrade on their case.
  7. Workouts (exercises) at least three times a week should be mandatory for everyone with Black lumpen hood/tribal organizational ties. All Black lumpen hood/tribal organizations were birthed out of the Black struggle and the need to protect and defend our neighborhoods, ourselves and our communities. We must be in the best physical condition to effectively defend ourselves, our comrades, our people and our communities from racist oppression and white supremacy.

These guidelines are a work in progress, therefore they can be amended/modified to fit your specific environment or area for maximum effect as long as they adhere to the two points of peace and unity.

"Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution. Pass on the torch. Join us, give up your life for the people." - Comrade George Lester Jackson

chain
[United Front] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Organizing] [Tabor Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

North Carolina Soldiers of Revolution Organizing for Peace

I am writing to inform you of the work that I have been doing here at Tabor Correctional Institution in Tabor City, North Carolina. I am currently housed on Intensive Control (ICON) and I've been spreading the word to a few people in my block. One of the brothers in my block was the real confrontational type who would try to start arguments with different guys simply because the block was too quiet. Usually I would ignore his antics because I understood his cry for attention and fear of having to look in that proverbial mirror, i.e. being alone with his own thoughts. One day after hearing him verbally attack another comrade as well as just cursing out officers without cause I reached to him by calling him on his childish and misguided ways. At this time he told me he never got involved in the conversations that myself and a few others often had because he didn't know anything about it. I then told him the easiest way to learn about it was to ask questions, which led to me sending him two issues of Under Lock & Key. Now this same young brother is a part of these conversations about the various degrees of prison struggle. He is also a member of the Soldiers of Revolution (SOR).

I founded the Soldiers of Revolution (SOR) while housed on ICON. I did so after witnessing the relentless ongoing cycle of gang violence within the North Carolina prison population. I became a member of the Bloods organization in 1998 and in 2015 I renounced my position as a member of that organization to found the Soldiers of Revolution.

I founded this organization because of the gang violence but also because of the constant oppression the prison population endures with no one to teach them how to go about overcoming the oppression. I saw that while many gang members claimed to battle oppression they failed to do so because they were perpetuating it. I understood that they didn't know how to begin the fight against oppression because they were never educated on the many levels of oppression. So SOR was created to educate the masses as well as to be the voice and vanguard of the politically ignorant prison population in North Carolina.

SOR is a political organization founded on the principles of mass political education of all oppressed nations, the battle to end oppression, and peace within the prison population to end gang violence. We stand united in the face of oppression and fully understand that the first step to breaking the cycle is to initiate proper political education. Since we understand the importance of political education in regards to the struggle to liberate the oppressed nations, we have study groups and issue class assignments to further the desire to be politically conscious and active.

SOR is not a gang nor gang-affiliated, though some members are former gang members. As we are primarily a non-violent organization we do not condone or support gang bangin' in any fashion. We do not wish to perpetuate the lifestyles and stereotypes that plague many oppressed nations. We do not adhere to the doctrine of oppressing others to further our own cause. We will offer our assistance and stand united with other political organizations of the oppressed nations but we will not be ruled or governed by anyone but SOR.


MIM(Prisons) responds: SOR is doing important work pushing forward the political education and unity of oppressed nations, and underscores a point that is important for activists: oppression and violence are learned behaviors and we need to work hard to help humynity unlearn these terrible habits. We can't expect this change to happen overnight. In fact we know from the experience in China and the USSR that even after a socialist revolution a new group of people (many of whom were oppressed before the revolution) will attempt to take power for personal gain. This is not surprising since the individualist elements of the culture of capitalism will not be wiped out overnight.

The Chinese initiated a mass fight against the ongoing idological holdovers of feudalism, which they called the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, as they worked to create a culture of socialism. Everyone was encouraged to study politics and freely criticize their leaders. This vigilance is the only way we will eventually eliminate the culture of oppression and violence which permeates every aspect of society and pulls the lumpen into anti-people activities like bangin'.

Each individual who belongs to a lumpen organization needs to assess your own situation to decide whether it is best to stay in that organization and struggle from within to build the anti-imperialist movement, or if you need to leave your organization to push forward your revolutionary organizing. There is a place for all of these organizations in the United Front for Peace in Prisons, where we can all come together to oppose prisoner-on-prisoner violence and build unity among lumpen organizations.

chain
[Turkey] [Organizing] [Hunger Strike] [International Connections] [Political Repression] [Control Units] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Lessons from the Hunger Strike 2000-2007 in Turkey

by Informacioni Sekretarijat of Revolutionary People's Party-Front
Reprinted from http://en.rnp-f.org

Although the Marxist-Leninist theory advocates the validity of all methods of struggle for the sake of the revolution, one particular method is often ignored or frowned upon: hunger strikes. Western worker’s movement is proud of the acts of self-sacrifice by its militants as it's the basis of the most important historical victories, yet hunger strike is often seen as a waste of human lives with little or no value for the class struggle.

Such is the general opinion of the hunger strike led and organised by Party-Front of Turkey (DHKP-C) in the period of 2000-2007, also called "Death Fast". Seven years long, Death Fast has claimed lives of 122 revolutionaries and it was considered to [be] a victory. Something that fellow communist parties very often criticise and questioning the effectiveness of such methods of struggle.

However, to entirely understand and properly evaluate the Death Fast, it would be incorrect to limit ourselves to the superficial manifestations of the whole process. Given a perspective of over a decade since its beginning, we are in a good position to see its effects and give more clarity to the historical circumstances in which it took place. Let us consider it from the historical perspective, the perspective of the class contradictions and the state the revolutionary movement in Turkey was in during that period.

Historical Background

The years between 1999 and 2001 were politically very interesting years. There were a couple of reasons for this:

  • Turkish state was in a state of permanent crisis. Since almost 10 years there were nothing but impotent coalition governments that failed to win the consent of the people. They were forced to resort to violence but this quickly made them unpopular, which, in the long run, undermined their legitimacy.
  • In February 1999, Kurdish leader Ocalan was captured and delivered to Turkey by CIA. During his trials in 1999 he made a surprisingly submissive defence and offered collaboration to the state. This made a serious negative impact on the Kurdish movement and the other left-wing movements that are tailing the PKK. What had been experienced and felt after the collapse of Soviet Union inside the European communist parties, was now being experienced in Turkey after 10 years. Since 1990, apart from a couple of movements, majority of the radical left were reduced to legal, weak social democratic parties. And the imprisonment of Ocalan meant to deliver the finishing blow:
  • "Everything was in vain, state was too powerful to beat, armed struggle brought nothing but pain, the only solution was to be a member of EU, so that the country might be democratized." This was the general mood among the wide reformist circles.
  • In August 1999, a huge earthquake hit the Marmara Region which was the most industrialized, most populated part of Turkey. It killed approximately 50,000 people. Three months later another earthquake with the same severity hit the same region for the second time. The state was incapable of bringing any aid. They just swept the rubble of the buildings off towards the sea with the dead bodies of the people inside. It was soon revealed that the corrupt businessmen who were then backed by the state built the collapsed buildings. People were angry, but the revolutionary alternative was weak, stuck in prisons and some revolutionary neighbourhoods with some armed cells here and there.
  • In September 1999, the state forces launched a violent attack against Ulucanlar Prison. This turned into a massacre as the military forces killed 10 revolutionary prisoners from 4-5 different organizations and wounded hundreds of prisoners with real bullets. This was done to send a message to the revolutionary movements: "It is your turn."

By the end of 1999, the balance of the class forces was like this:

  1. There were the weak, scattered and ideologically low self-esteemed reformists, begging for EU involvement.
  2. There was the demoralized Kurdish movement, with its leader in prison, openly talking about disarming and disbanding the organization.
  3. There were the ruling classes with their strong military and police forces, but with a withering hegemony over the desperate population who has been looking for an alternative. And after the earthquakes not only the political crisis but also the economic crisis was at their doorstep.

And there were the radical/armed/revolutionary movements:

  1. Some of them, like Maoists, were still obsessed with the old strategy of storming the cities from the countryside, whereas the 70-80 percent of the population had now started to live in metropolitan cities rather than villages. They were also in a state of crisis and getting divided into smaller organizations because of disputes on strategy. Some other organizations were opportunists with a not-so-clear ideology about how to make a revolution: Now you see them heavily criticising the Kurdish movement, and now you see them tailing the PKK. Gradually sinking into legalism, reconciliation, hesitation.
  2. Finally there was the Party-Front (P-C). Although not as physically strong as the Kurdish movement, P-C had a kind of ideological hegemony over the other radical/revolutionary organizations and was constantly pushing them to take a solid attitude against the establishment. This was the case in 1996 Hunger Strikes and in the other prison resistances after it. When the other political parties stepped back or showed some signs of hesitation, militants of P-C encouraged them, criticised them in the prisons. And exposed them in its publications when they stepped back, which would harm their prestige among their own people.

In the year 2000 the crisis was deepening, the ruling classes knew that they had to take the necessary precautions. They were done with the reformists, they thought that they were done with the Kurdish movement and now, if these revolutionary/radical movements could not be bowed down, they would become an alternative for the desperate Kurdish and Turkish masses in case of a crisis. And if you wanted to destroy them, you had to start from their ideological hegemons, the P-C, that still continued to preach revolution, armed struggle and anti-imperialism.

Thus, the state prepared a plan to destroy the revolutionary discipline in the prisons: It decided to transform the existing prison system into a high-security prison system where the political prisoners would be isolated from each other in small cells. In this way, the ruling classes were hoping to destroy the organizational ties among the prisons, turning the political prisoners into isolated individuals.

Then came December 19, 2000. 20 prisons were simultaneously raided for three days with nearly 9000 soldiers. They used more than 20,000 gas bombs, thousands of real bullets against the unarmed prisoners. As a result 28 prisoners were killed, nearly 600 prisoners became permanently disabled in 3 days. The rest of the prisoners were forcedly sent to high-security prison cells.

It was not an issue of physical destruction alone. Compared to 60 million population at that time, there were only approximately 10 thousands of political prisoners in total. But still the prisons were like the headquarters of ideological production. Prisoners were writing [a] majority of the articles and books, composing songs, heavily training the future militants. Imprisoning stopped being a punishment and the militants knew that if they were sent to the prison, near to their comrades, they would undergo an extensive Marxist-Leninist training and continue their revolutionary activity.

On the other hand, the ruling classes at that time were trying to spread the ideology of desperation as opposed to revolution. "Nothing is worth to sacrifice yourselves" they were saying, "especially for socialism and revolution which has already collapsed". It was the end of history. The entire world was giving up. IRA in Ireland, ANC in South Africa, FMLN in El Salvador, Palestinian Liberation Organization, PKK in Turkey. The dream was over.

And one year after the Hunger Strikes began, 9/11 happened in US. Bush has declared the New World Order and clearly put that [b"“you are either with us, or against us".

What would it mean if the prisoners had submissively accepted this menace? Since 1980s it was one of the main tenets of the revolutionaries that if you are left in a position where you don’t have any weapons to fight, you should better die than to surrender.

P-C knew that from past experience: Those who surrendered to the impositions of the 1980 Military Junta were destroyed. They either became reformist, legal organizations or their militants were transformed into liberal, even right-wing intellectuals. Yes, they physically continued to live, but they had had a brain death. They had become the extensions of ruling class ideology.

They were the best propaganda materials for the ruling classes: "Look at these so called leaders of proletariat! They are telling you to fight until the end, but they do not want to make even a smaller sacrifice for their own cause. Is this what you are going to die for? Don’t be stupid young people."

However, when people resisted and died (either in hunger strike or an armed action) it made a huge impact, firstly among its comrades and among the people. It was the same in Kizildere in 1972 when Mahir Çayan and his comrades were massacred. The entire organization had been destroyed with them. But in just 2 years, hundreds of young militants swore to take their revenge. It was the same in 1984 and 1996 hunger strikes.

That was the basic thinking behind the hunger strikes: If you make the necessary sacrifice, you may die but at least it can make an impact that deeply influences the others to carry on.

Death Fast Logic

Two main causes can be emphasised over the others to explain the logic behind the death fasts:

  1. Death or permanent injuries were the risks of the hunger strike. But the same risk is carried by any other revolutionary activity, especially the armed one. On the contrast, the submission to the government and accepting high security prisons would result in what the government really aimed at: to destroy the organisation from within and incite the ideological crisis. The revolutionaries in prison that preached heroic self-sacrifice and struggle would be discredited in the eyes of the people outside of the prison and in the eyes of the guerillas and militants who risk their lives on daily basis.
  2. By design, these prisons were intended to interrupt the communication between the revolutionaries and isolate them from their comrades, from the external world, so that their thinking and behavioural habits would change and they will give up the idea of revolution later on. They are meant to destroy the revolutionary fervour and discipline, something which the organisation could not submit to. In such a case, giving up would mean willingly destroying the tradition of resistance inside the prisons, for the inexperienced, incompetent young militants would sink into depression and despair. What should they do, even when their "leaders", "wise comrades" surrender? The high security prisons would be seen as "hell [on] earth", as the horrible factories that produce tamed, subdued ordinary people out of the fervent, audacious revolutionaries once you go in. You can force the people to do everything, once you instil this "fear of imprisonment" in their minds.

The hunger strikes started [on] 20th of October 1999, after the state openly declared its new prison policy, and went on until 2007, when the state agreed to show some flexibility in its isolation policy.

From this perspective, we can say that hunger strike was a political victory. Because:

  1. Revolutionary movement and its militants managed to protect the tradition of resistance inside the prisons. Now in every single high security prison there is a very strong network of revolutionary prisoners who wake up, do exercise, study, write, and paint – according to one single schedule, although they may not see each other for years. They developed innovative and complex networks of communication inside the prison. In the former prison system, it is said that 60% of the revolutionary prisoners resumed the struggle when they were released, whereas this rate is now 80% according to some sources. The massacre and the new prison system created the opposite results for the ruling classes thanks to this resistance.
  2. Outside, the memories and sacrifices of resistance continued to live and both ideologically and emotionally strengthened the cadres, militants and sympathisers of the revolutionary movement. It was clearly shown that socialism is a cause that is still worth to die for and the revolutionaries in Turkey were ready to do this, while the Islamists and patriots who always talked about "making sacrifices for Allah or for the homeland" became part of the establishment.
  3. Regarding the other radical/revolutionary movements: 15 years later after the prison massacre and 8 years after the end of the hunger strike, now there is a huge ideological gap between the other left and the revolutionary movement, the P-C. Some of these organizations that refused to take part in the resistance splintered into pieces. Some of them went through an ideological crisis and legalised themselves, liquidated their illegal organizations. Many of them started to tail the Kurdish movement and became part of HDP as the Greek reformists did with Syriza in Greece. Revolution stopped being the main purpose, whereas imperialism stopped being their main enemy; they started to look for some excuses when the Kurdish movement initiated an open collaboration with US in Syria. For years they have not carried out a single legal democratic, mass campaign apart from their campaigns for the corrupt elections. Marxism-Leninism was thrashed. Their mass base waned.

When the hunger strike was ended 2007, none of the initial demands of the revolutionaries were accepted. A revised version of the demands, which involved the freedom to see other people for 10 hours a week, was agreed on. Compared to the main aim of the ruling classes to isolate the revolutionaries, to bow them into complete submission, it this was an important achievement too.

Conclusion

As to the question: "did it worth to sacrifice more than a hundred people just for this?" while ignoring the political and ideological victories of the Great Resistance. The purpose was to put an end to the revolutionary ideology in Turkey and they failed in doing this. Turkey did not become the next Guatemala, Palestine or South Africa as they wanted it to be.

Hope survived and although the revolutionary movement came out weakened, it did survive and grew stronger over the years. Now there are pro-Party-Front groups emerging in different fields of the struggle. There is a music band called Grup Yorum that organizes public concerts all around Turkey where they sing their revolutionary songs with hundreds of thousands people. An institution called Engineers and Architects of the People started to organize inside the revolutionary neighbourhoods, trying to put forward an alternative way of living with popular assemblies, public gardens, wind turbines to allow the community to produce their own electricity. There are attempts to organize the shopkeepers within a cooperative so that they can resist against the monopoly of the shopping malls and big supermarkets. In the last couple of years, a series of successful worker resistances were supported by the Revolutionary Worker Movement, which declares itself to be pro-Party-Front.
On the other hand, Party-Front itself continued its armed activities, some of which are widely publicized in the international media. It has militia bands in the main revolutionary quarters of Istanbul which fight against gangs, drug dealers and the state forces. These activities must have attracted the attention of the imperialists, so that some analysts started to speak of Party-Front as an "emerging threat" in Turkey. The US State Department issued a warrant of arrest for whom they think to be the top leaders of Party-Front. Imperialism declared that "up to 3 million dollars" will be rewarded to those who assist in capturing these people, whom the US considers to be the "most wanted people in Europe".

We will see what will come up in the following years.

With Solidarity.

Bahtiyar Safak

MIM(Prisons) adds: We are reprinting this analysis from http://en.rnp-f.org because of the relevance to conditions and struggles within Amerikan prisons. Our comrades behind bars sometimes find themselves in a position where a hunger strike is one of only a few potential avenues of protest against conditions that are brutal and often deadly. This article demonstrates the potential successes that can be gained from long-term hunger strikes.

However, it MUST be noted that these strikes in Turkey were in a very different political context than the one faced by prisoners in the United $tates. In Turkey in 1999 there were relatively large networks of revolutionary organizing in the prisons and a solid (and armed) network of support outside. Without those conditions the sacrfices made would not have had the same impact. In our current conditions in prisons in the United $tates we are not anywhere close to this level of organization. Hunger strikes in U.$. prisons are not focused on protecting such advanced political activity and organization behind bars, rather they are used to gain reprieve from conditions of torture and create opportunities for some organizing. Because of these differences we can not simply apply this analysis directly to our situation.

Our knowledge of the RNP-F is limited. We applaud what little we have seen of their work and look forward to learning more about their political line and practice.

chain
[New Afrika] [Africa] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Two Sides of Garvey

Amy and Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey and Amy Jacques
In response to the call to honor freedom fighters, it is an honor and pleasure to journal the commemoration of New Afrikan freedom fighter Amy Jacques Garvey.

So many today dismiss the Pan-Afrikan movement and its various bodies, both within and outside of U.$. prisons, as that of an unnecessary call and reference to an outdated idea. In the context of the proletarian political causes, it is often the ultra-leftist who has taken up this position.

However, in our attempts to fast forward the most correct methods of resolving contradictions, we acknowledge that they come in the form of class consciousness among nationalist leaders driven by internationalist struggles led by the proletariat. The Pan-Afrikan movement is one likely place where we find these elements.

Many prisoners are aware of the name Marcus Mosiah Garvey, but very few are familiar with Amy Jacques Garvey, the wife of Marcus Garvey and the bone and marrow of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Amy Garvey was a special person in the history of liberation struggles. Born 31 December 1895 in Kingston, Jamaica to a middle-upper class family, Amy Garvey was ahead of her time. Though "all identity is individual, there is no individual identity that is not historical or, in other words, constructed within a field of social values, norms of behavior and collective symbols."(1)

The mother of what author Ula Yvette Taylor coined "community feminism," Amy Garvey pressed the issue of lower class wimmin not only in serving their male counterparts, but also educating themselves to become political leaders in the nation. Today, lumpen wimmin of the internal semi-colonies still find themselves criticized for either being home-oriented or for sex. UNIA enjoyed support across gender and promoted equality of the sexes. Yet, in practice, this "community feminist" approach was a means of dealing with the expectations put on wimmin to be supporters of men while still being political leaders. While wimmin like Amy Garvey had to take on an unequal burden compared to their male counterparts, their actions served to break down the expectations of gendered roles, paving the way for others.

Amy Garvey empowered wimmin to confront racism, colonialism and imperialism, while contesting masculine dominance as well.(2) As she wrote, wimmin should use their "intelligence in a righteous cause" as they are needed to "fill the breach, and fight as never before, for the masses need intelligent dedicated leadership."(3)

Since the 1920s, Amy Jacques Garvey's organizing activities had sought to further the decolonization of West Afrikan nations as people of African descent endeavored to restructure their societies. The antecedents of these largely nationalist movements were well-established in Pan-Afrikan struggle that came into its own during the early 1940s, including the fifth Pan-Afrikan Congress. Meanwhile, other power shifts were occurring such as: the rise of the Soviet Union, liberation struggles in southeast Asia, the independence of China and the Asian-African Bandung Conference.(4) Indeed, within this political milieu, "West Afrikan nationalism and various brands of Pan-Africanism, could mix with everything from Fabian socialism to Marxism-Leninism."(5)

While engaging in the international arena, Amy Garvey also struggled against fellow comrades of the UNIA. She was well known for her refusal to hold her tongue on the contradictions that arose within, even at times writing critical positions of Marcus Garvey himself. It resembles so many of those within the belly of the beast babylon who struggle to liberate themselves in order to offer liberation to their people, only to be hushed by LO leadership.

Amy Garvey was from Jamaica and considered herself an Afrikan. She drove home the point that people of Afrikan descent in the United $tates (New Afrikans) and elsewhere were living as second-class citizens, largely as a result of economic oppression. Today we see the second-class citizenship that New Afrikans and [email protected] face as the biggest targets of social isolation by the U.$. prison system. The second class that the oppressed nations are being bred into today is what we call the First World lumpen class. In the imperialist countries, that is the class that has nothing to lose from a revolution except the very chains that bind them to a bourgeois system that doesn't serve them. "As the lumpen experience oppression first hand here in Amerika, we are in a position to spearhead the revolutionary vehicle within the U.$. borders."(6)

The 2015 release of [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán by a MIM(Prisons) study group introduces prisoners to the reality of their class identity with the lumpen of oppressed internal semi-colonies in North America.

"Kwame Nkrumah in his analysis of neo-colonialism in Africa defined it as: 'The essence of neo-colonialism is that the state which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.' Nkrumah stressed the importance of dividing the oppressed into smaller groups as part of this process of preventing effective resistance to imperialism as had already occurred in China, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba and elsewhere."(7)

Amy Garvey too considered the likes of Kwame Nkrumah as her comrade, alongside of Nnamdi Azikiwe, W.E.B. DuBois and George Padmore, just to name a few. She was a disciplined, arduous scholar whose objective was to fold Garveyism into existing progressive organizations, thus uniting a divergent Pan-Afrikan world.

Many of the ideas that are circulated amongst the lumpen organizations within the belly of the beast babylon are grafted from the ideas of the peoples parties like the UNIA, whether they admit it or not. The proof is in the pudding. Amy Garvey showed that one could stand on two legs and not buckle under the pressure of integrationist culture.

Amy Garvey held Marcus Garvey up while he served his prison bid in Atlanta, and took the driver's seat of one of the world's most influential Negro organizations in its time when wimmin weren't expected to be political. It is so similar to the anti-imperialist prisoner movement; prisoners aren't expected to be political souljahs.

Death to babylon-imperialism!


MIM(Prisons) adds: MIM said that Pan-Afrikanism should be a strategic question, and is not worth splitting over.(8) They also said that Pan-Afrikanism has historically been the most progressive of the "pan" ideologies. Clearly that the Pan-Afrikan mission has yet to succeed in the dire need for effective revolutionary leadership is evident in the recent revelations that

"In 2014, the U.S. carried out 674 military activities across Africa, nearly two missions per day, an almost 300% jump in the number of annual operations, exercises, and military-to-military training activities since U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2008."(9)

The imperialists continue to foment the tribal divisions across the African continent to wage proxy wars that amount to inter-proletarian killing on the ground. The overwhelming proletarian character of the populations in Africa gives Pan-Afrikanism its strong progressive character.

Notes:
1. Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities, Verso Books, 2011.
2. Yvette Ula Taylor, The Veiled Garvey, the life & times of Amy Jacques Garvey, University of North Carolina Press, 2002, p. 2.
3. Amy Jacques Garvey, "The Role of Women in Liberation Struggles", Massachusetts Review, Winter-Spring 1972, p. 109-112.
4. Ehecatl, "Lessons from the Bandung Conference for the United Front for Peace in Prisons", Under Lock & Key No. 43, March 2015.
5. Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Washington DC: Howard University Press, 1982, p. 277-78.
Hakim Adi, West Afrikans in Britain 1900-1960: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism and Communism, London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1998, pp. 160-170, 186.
6. A MIM(Prisons) Study Group, [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán, MIM Distributors, 2015, p. 14.
7. Ibid, p. 68.
8. 2002 MIM Congress, "Resolution on Pan-Africanism."
9. Nick Turse, "The U.S. Military's Battlefield of Tomorrow", TomDispatch, 14 April 2015.

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

On the Rise


As we reminisce in disguise about our
troubles
working with bloody knuckles
knowing everybody had to struggle
to get it
we used our muscles
and a pistol on our buckles
being the oppressor by dope
selling in capitalism just to hustle
comrades,
please listen
this is a lesson in our mission
a part of the intervention
no comrade has
ever mentioned
many lives are in this picture,
check out the new addition
children
born into oppression
by the second as we're speaking
about the oppressor
who is destined
to take lives into its sector
only to control them
by their lack of initiative
to join together
and be a weapon
as one, we stand tall
with the strength of a bullet
the words of communism
for the communists
who can pull it
united we stand
and no one lesser than the other
be a voice within this struggle
'cause we're equal to one another
like a Muslim to his brother
we're family by our choosing
against the oppression that we're refusing
united we stand
my fellow comrades
on the rise
to revolution!

chain
[National Oppression] [Campaigns] [Education] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Freedom Fighter: Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass on learning
For my essay I chose Frederick Douglass. I admire his inner strength, free spirit, and intelligence. I believe that he could see opportunity in every situation. For example, when his oppressors became so irate of his learning to read and write, he knew that things that are restricted are usually worthy of pursuit.

He overcame so many obstacles with so few resources, and he gives me motivation and inspiration to overcome and succeed, although my difficulties are minor compared to his. He was a great man and an unsung hero of freedom fighting. He must have thought to himself that it was better to risk death and fight for his freedom, than to conform to the wishes of tyrannical beings.

He fought and won. So much was against him and yet his spirit refused to be broken. He knew how powerful words can be. He learned them and mastered them. And once he'd won, he didn't let the realm of success lull him into complacency — a realm where many men venture and are swallowed, ending their reign of greatness. No, Frederick Douglass was a mossless stone; he never stagnated. Douglass continued pressing forward, not only bettering himself, but also bettering those he came in contact with and helping other oppressed individuals.

His written word will echo through the generations, inspiring thousands and perhaps millions. The American education system gives him only a cursory glance, then moves on to lies about founding fathers. Imagine if they lingered longer or more often on Frederick Douglass, and the valuable influence on those impressionable minds he would render. Frequently, I wonder about a stronger, less passive and more spirited generation. Like Frederick Douglass.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Frederick Douglass was born into slavery around 1818 in Maryland. Ey escaped slavery and went on to become a prolific writer, speaker, and newspaper publisher. Eir primary battles were against slavery and for wimmin's right to vote. Douglass had a similar path to radicalization as many readers of ULK, even though ey lived almost two centuries ago.

Douglass was taught the alphabet at around 12 years old from eir slavemaster's wife. Even though ey was discouraged from reading, sometimes with violence, Douglass continued to study and taught many others how to read as well. With the ability to read, Douglass became politicized through reading newspapers, which helped em develop into an internationally-acclaimed writer and speaker against slavery and oppression.

Even in the face of censorship and lack of programming, many U.$. prisoners build themselves and others up in the same way Douglass did. Present-day prisoners are not allowed to come together in a group to study, for "security threat concerns," which parallels Douglass's experience of having eir weekly literacy classes disbanded by the clubs and stones of slave owners. Nowdays, those who try to teach in spite of restrictions are locked in isolation toture cells.

Without good literacy skills, one can't file a lawsuit, or write grievances, or understand the prison handbook, or read Under Lock & Key; get the picture? Various sources state that 60-70% of U.$. prisoners are functionally illiterate.(1) Illiteracy affects the majority of prisoners, and thus hinders the organization of the majority of our subscribers' peers. Passing on an issue of ULK does little good if the recipient can't understand it.

Statistics from the prisoncrats themselves state that prisoners have a 70% chance of recidivism if they get no help with their literacy, whereas prisoners who do receive literacy help have a 16% chance of recidivism.(2) We wonder, why aren't there more programs for teaching reading comprehension and writing skills in prisons? It's clearly a continuation of the same exact national oppression faced by Frederick Douglass's generation.

That we are still having a conversation about building literacy among New Afrikans should give us a clue of the ineffectiveness of reformism and the necessity of complete communist revolution. After gaining state power, one of the first steps of this revolution will be to establish a joint dictatorship of the proletariat of the oppressed nations (JDPON), so that the most oppressed people in the world can dictate to those who have been oppressing others for centuries how society will be run. As was done in communist China under Mao, one of the primary functions of this dictatorship of the proletariat will be to build literacy at every single level of society, and especially among those who are furthest removed from the benefits of the economic system. One can't fully participate in society's development without literacy, and we need as many people as possible to participate.

We want to do as much as we can now to speed up the transition from capitalism to communism, and reading and writing are essential to this task. Building literacy also fits well into our immature Re-Lease on Life program, so those who are released can have a better chance of success and hopefully also a better chance of staying engaged in political work when on the outside. Even though MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within are on a much smaller scale than a JDPON, or even a single nation-state, we can still contribute to this goal while we build for a society where advanced literacy is taught to everyone systematically.

Douglass is just one individual example of a larger social phenomenon: when higher education meets a lack of opportunity, it produces radicalization and objection to the status quo. We know there is much more we can do to increase the reading and writing skills of oppressed nation lumpen in U.$. prisons, and to foster this politicization. But since MIM(Prisons) can only reach people with written material, we need our comrades behind bars to do the work on the ground. Anyone who is already teaching others basic literacy skills should get in touch with MIM(Prisons) to help us develop this Serve the People program. If you already have a study group, try to think how you can expand it to teach literacy as well. Tell us what materials we can send you to help you teach reading and writing to others. It is one of the ways we can improve the material conditions of our fellow oppressed peoples, and one way we can uphold the legacy of Frederick Douglass.

chain
[Education] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Freedom Fighter: Inspired by Malcolm X

MalcolmX
"Don't be in such a hurry to condemn a person because he doesn't do what you do, or think as you do or as fast. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today." - Malcolm X
I have chosen comrade Malcolm X as my freedom fighter, may he rest in peace.

Comrade Malcolm X was a man who grew up troubled by family issues. His father was murdered and his mother was slowly starting to deteriorate mentally. The comrade started to steal, and was running numbers, etc. This landed the comrade in prison where he continued to get into trouble, until he met a brother from the Nation of Islam who helped comrade Malcolm X to get himself together.

In time, comrade Malcolm X educated himself on the inside and eradicated all his bad habits. After his release he continued his work as a revolutionary, helping to build the Nation of Islam and fighting for the people. Later on in his life he was working on his own organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

Comrade Malcolm X had a major impact on my life. When I came to prison in 2005 I was sent to the supermax in Ohio, and I had the wrong understanding of revolutionary change, and I had a 7th grade education. I met a prisoner who let me read The Autobiography of Malcolm X and when I had finished, my whole life was changed. I started working harder to educate myself and to become more politically conscious and vowed to spend the rest of my life fighting against the oppressor.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade's choice of a freedom fighter underscores the critical importance that education and political literature play in raising the consciousness of our comrades behind bars. While people may have an intuitive grasp of the nature of Amerikan imperialism, the lumpen mainly see the option of violence and theft against the people as a way to respond to the conditions of their lives. This is not revolutionary, and in fact sets the struggle back. But even with limited access to educational material we see people like Malcolm X and this comrade taking up the revolutionary struggle.

For this reason we place a big emphasis on getting our newsletter Under Lock & Key and political books in to prisoners. Most of the money we spend is on these tasks. And we rely on our comrades behind bars to share the lit they receive, and turn others on to the revolutionary mindset to help build new freedom fighters amongst the lumpen.

chain
[New Afrika] [Youth] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Celebrate the Youth, Our Future Freedom Fighters

An approximate definition of a freedom fighter is someone who lays down their life in the struggle for freedom and self-determination. The hystory of the Third World is full of misery, disease, war, starvation and exploitation all because of imperialist exploitation of the global south. By growing up in these conditions, many become class conscious at a young age and are ready to stand up against oppression, and some become recognized for their dedication to the international struggle for freedom.

I could dedicate this article to the brave, selfless revolutionaries like Che, who in his adventures from Argentina to Mexico saw firsthand how U.$. imperialism was to blame for Latin America's backwardness. Or to Nelson Mandela who socially revolutionized South Africa and even gave his freedom for a better life for his people. Many have fought to end exploitation.

Really though I want to dedicate this paper to the youth, the future of the revolution. To those who at a young age saw misery and experienced hunger and at a young age dialectically understood that it was because the oil, or minerals in the dirt, were more important than the lives of the people living on that land.

During the Cultural Revolution it was the youth who attacked the power-hungry revisionists in the party. Chairman Mao said that the youth are the future cadres of the revolution and we must protect them and educate them to keep the struggle alive.

These bourgeois politicians talk a good game but do they really want change? According to a recent interview Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recognized that society has betrayed the youth. He told CBS This Morning that statistically the United $tates has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the so-called developed world.(1) Today's culture in Amerika is all about flashy cars and jewelry and social media with the popular #YOLO. The parasitic culture could care less what goes on outside their borders as long as they get theirs.

The biggest refugee crisis since WWII is taking place in the Middle East all because there's a power struggle between the west and the east. It's sad that 25,000 children traveled alone from Syria to Europe, not knowing if there will be a tomorrow.(2) The bourgeois media is quick to water down First World intervention and call the Assad regime the enemy of world peace, but who is bombing whole cities killing dozens of innocent people at a time?

Never in the hystory of the Third World have they experienced long periods of peace. Dialectically dissecting the hystory of the Middle East we see that post-WWII the paper tiger (U.$. dollar) has had its hand in the Middle East supplying guns and aid to fight wars for imperialist interests. How hypocritical is it to call yourselves the true examples of democracy when you're ready to go to war for a couple barrels of petroleum at the expense of innocent lives.

Only through the example of the Cultural Revolution, with the structure and discipline of Mao Zedong thought, can our youth have a chance. It was the policy of Mao's China that the interests of the youth be protected and that they be organized in order to fully participate properly in the social progress of the nation. Education is the key for progress, and the youth are the future of that progress. Oppose imperialism. To protect the future we must first make sure there's a future.


Notes:
1. 18 September 2015, CBS This Morning, Sanders' surge.
2. 18 September 2015, Refugee Crisis. ABC News, Nightly News.

chain
[Principal Contradiction] [Syria] [Middle East] [U.S. Imperialism] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

The Syrian Civil War: Inter-Imperialist Rivalry

The Syrian civil war, the biggest conflict in the Middle East if not the world, has many wondering what the outcome will be. The United $tates has backed a group in the Kurdish area that has called for the expulsion of Arabs (1) and has armed fundamentalist religious forces that threaten the Syrian government, headed by Bashar al-Assad. Meanwhile, the government-controlled capital of Syria, Damascus, has been a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews are allowed to co-exist, united by the same desire to save their nation from the forces that be. The Syrian Constitution is based in the mission of Pan-Arabism and specifically prevents the formation of political parties "on the basis of religious, sectarian, tribal, regional, class-based, professional, or on discrimination based on gender, origin, race or color."(2)

The Assad government opposes becoming a puppet to U.$. imperialism and was never for the creation of I$rael and its occupation of Palestine. As history has shown, with a policy like that comes economic, if not military, aggression. The East and the West are in a tug-of-war over influence in the Middle East and it's only going to get worse. The so-called U.$.-type of "democracy" has proven again and again that it does not work; imperialist pseudo-democracy will not work in Syria just like it hasn't worked in Afghanistan or Iraq.

The pro-West bourgeois media claims Assad rules with an iron fist, but the West has backed the destruction of secularism and political pluralism in the region. Syria is more democratic than Saudi Arabia, a U.$. ally and the biggest dictatorship in the region. If the United $tates is really so concerned about iron fists, maybe the capitalists should look past the petroleum barrels and look at Saudi Arabia, the anti-democratic Sunni dictatorship that is nominally leading a repressive war in Yemen and was involved in the brutal repression of recent revolts in Bahrain.

For centuries Sunni influence has dominated the sectarian Muslim world, but now the table has turned and the Shia militias have taken up more territory than they've had in centuries, which has the Saudis in an ideological war with Iran. Assad is blamed for all the casualties in the war but even the foreign aggressors can't deny that it's their coalition planes dropping the barrel bombs on innocent civilians, threatening the Syrian government with war if they intervene.

The United $tates has spent $5 million on a Pentagon-sponsored training program to arm the Syrian opposition forces, but four years later there is still no success in their campaign. The Pentagon has admitted that the program was a failure. From the beginning of the war the U.$. State Department's policy towards Syria was "Assad must go now." But since it's looking like this is not going to happen any time soon Obama said Assad doesn't have to leave right away, there can be a transition of power. What bureaucratic bullshit.

All this has to do with Russia and Iran's strong presence in Syria and their strong stance on supporting Assad. The Iran-backed Shia militias are doing most of the fighting on Iraq's border with Syria, and they have made it clear that as soon as they've dealt with the Islamic State they're prepared to fight the real enemy: U.$. imperialism. Russia has recently opened up an airbase in western Syria, the biggest Russian base ever built outside the old Soviet territory. Just recently they've started conducting their own airstrikes against the Syrian opposition forces in eastern Syria, far from Islamic State-held territory.(5) Now the United $tates sees how determined Russia and Iran are in making sure the Syrian government doesn't collapse. Both sides are willing to sit down for talks on how to avoid each other on the battlefield but can't decide how the war should end. One thing is for sure: if Assad leaves, the war still won't end.

The real victims of this ideological, semi-colonial war are the innocent people of Syria. Since the beginning of the war, 250,000 people have died and more than 9 million people have left their homes. According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 3,000 to 6,000 people leave Syria every day. So now because of the war the biggest refugee crisis since WWII is happening with no end in sight.

Other major casualties are happening among the Kurdish people, who have been fighting for freedom since before the war and have suffered much death and destruction because of the war. I'm not talking about the comprador landlord class that sold out to imperialism. I'm talking about the exploited who were suffering way before the war, and do not have interests aligned with imperialism, despite their misleaders.

As anti-imperialists we oppose U.$. aggression in Syria as well as anywhere in the world. Chairman Mao said "political power comes out of the barrel of a gun." So as long as there is exploitation there will always be war. As materialists we must use scientific theory to educate one another on the importance of solidarity with the Third World and opposition to the bourgeois warmongers.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is correct that our principal contribution here should be in making it hard for the United $tates to stay involved in Syria and elsewhere. And while we cannot determine the forces on the ground elsewhere, we can see who is in the anti-imperialist united front and who is with the imperialists. In that light, we have a couple comments related to some popular narratives on this conflict.

First, there is a myth promoted in the Western media that violence in the Middle East is due to centuries-old religious conflict. This myth paints the current war(s) in an ahistorical way; they have always existed, and may continue to exist unless the imperialists can somehow tame and modernize these backwards peoples.

The reality is that these are some of the most religiously diverse countries because they are close to the birthplaces of so many of the world's most popular religions. Countries like Iraq and Syria not only were quite diverse and harmonious, but were relatively well-developed; not the bombed-out desert caves we see in the media.

The narrative that focuses on religion does so to hide the real politics and economics behind the conflict. In particular, hiding imperialist meddling. It also attempts to convince the West, from atheist to Christian, of the barbarity of these "foreign" cultures. It is important to remember that the principal contradiction on the international scale is imperialism vs. the oppressed nations, and not between religions or genders.

Many have used the role of wimmin in the Islamic State in contrast to the Kurdish regions to justify support for the Kurds. As Frantz Fanon noted in his study of the Algerian revolution, the conditions of armed struggle forced the involvement of wimmin in military operations, regardless of cultural beliefs to the contrary. In other words, the national struggle, if genuinely aimed at liberation from imperialism, will force the gender contradiction forward with it. The converse is not true, which is how we know which contradiction should be prioritized. It is true that more wimmin holding guns can be a good sign of the progressiveness of the organization, but even in the Third World this is not always the case.

This leads us to another myth that we want to clarify for our readers, which is that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is a Marxist, or even a Maoist organization. While having Marxist-Leninist roots, the PKK fully capitulated to the Turkish state after the capture of their leader Abdullah Ocalan in a joint U.$.-Turkish operation in 1999. He officially changed the leading ideology of the PKK to a libertarian “Democratic Confederalism” in 2005. But as early as 1998 Ocalan was denouncing communism, and promoting the route of U.$. development for the oppressed nations.(6)

The PKK has its roots in Turkey, which has a long history of Maoist activity that continues to this day. Yet none of the Kurdish-controlled areas are currently run by anti-imperialist organizations. The U.$.-backed Erdogan regime in Turkey does have a complex relationship to the PKK and other Kurdish forces. While they have provided support to Kurds fighting the Islamic State, in recent months, they resumed violent attacks on the PKK within Turkey. For this reason and many others, the current alliance of Kurdish forces with the U.$. empire is not an optimistic choice for the Kurdish people.

chain
[Abuse] [Censorship] [Florida] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Punishment for Reporting Abuse in Florida

Regarding the rejection of Under Lock & Key 45, I have yet to see the publication. Yet allegations that it depicts "sexually oriented content" make no sense to me. We may be able to use this false review and classification as a means of obtaining relief against arbitrary censorship. I am currently in confinement and was unable to make a copy of the grievance and response for my safe keeping.

My current confinement is a serious retaliation against me resulting from an incident on September 8, when a prisoner who was in handcuffs was brutally assaulted by a Sergeant A. Arana. Shortly after the assault I wrote a kite to a prisoner in confinement, informing him that a few other prisoners had witnessed him being brutalized by Sergeant Arana. I listed the names [of 3 other prisoners] in the kite, informing him that he needed to write a grievance to the Inspector General ASAP, listing those names as witnesses, that he gotta go all the way through with it, that he could sue and that I was writing the secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections Julie Jones asking her to look into his brutality.

On September 12 all those names I mentioned in the kite and myself got rounded up and placed in confinement under investigation. The Captain showed me my kite even though it was not written using my government name. I was being placed under investigation for "conspiracy to defraud the state." No such charge was delivered. Everybody else was released on September 16, and I was released from confinement on September 18.

Once released I learned that Sergeant Gaucin, Sergeant Arana and Sergeant Sanders were telling prisoners on the compound that I am an FBI snitch. They are obviously trying to get me stabbed or killed. While being escorted to confinement on September 12, Sergeant Gaucin searched me and found an FBI/Department of Justice Civil Rights Division agent's business card. The agency has visited me twice due to my reporting on brutality of prisoners. So I carry the card and give prisoners their information if they need it. I wrote the Secretary a letter about being called a snitch by officers. On October 2 I was placed in confinement under protective management. On October 5 I was released.

The very next morning, October 6 at 8 a.m. count, Sergeant Juliano approached my cell. The cell door was already open. Sergeant Juliano ordered me out of the cell. I stood at the rail outside of the cell in perfect view of the surveillance cameras. Sergeant Juliano opened my locker and started dumping all my property on the floor, loudly stating: "You snitch, you baby rapist, I don't want no snitch in my dorm, you're getting out of my dorm right now, you wanna write up my officers? If you don't stop writing up my officers, I'm gonna fuck you up myself, you damn snitch, you baby rapist," making sure he was heard by the whole wing. He continued, "I'm not Sergeant Arana you snitching mother fucker, you're going to jail."

I was placed in handcuffs while he found my address books stating, "you won’t be writing the Secretary and FBI and whoever else you like to write about what's going on here, you won't be seeing these anymore, snitch bitch," putting my address books in his left cargo pants pockets.

I was escorted to the Captain's office by Corrections Officer (C/O) Hunter who stated, "you need to mind your own business, you write too many grievances, you talk to much."

At the Captain's office I informed the Captain of everything that was said and done by Sergeant Juliano and C/O Hunter. The Captain simply informed me that I was being placed in confinement pending a disciplinary review (DR) for disrespecting Sergeant Juliano; something I never did.

On October 7 the DR was delivered. Sergeant Juliano stated that while counting, he smelled smoke in the area of my cell and asked me if I was smoking. He claimed I replied, "Bitch, ain't nobody smoking, get the fuck out of here and go do your job."

On October 8 the DR hearing team informed me that I was being sentenced to only 15 days rather than 30. They really wanted to let me go, but they said that they feared for my safety and would decide what to do by the time my 15 days would be up. I'm waiting to see how it works out.

No matter how it goes I'm filing a civil claim for retaliation. I had just filed my tort claim in state court, been given a case number and awaiting a response on my application for indigency. The tort is about loss of my personal property last October.

We are putting the pressure on the pro-imperialist goons (pigs) down here by simply letting the Secretary know what's going on. The move is picking up. However, they might skip me soon, that's how it always go.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This report of both unfounded censorship (for content that does not exist in Under Lock & Key!) and punishment for reporting on conditions of confinement are ongoing problems in Florida prisons. We've initiated a campaign against the censorship in that state, but we know that it will likely come with retaliation against those who choose to participate in the struggle. We will use the pages of ULK to expose the Florida injustice system, but we also need legal help to take on the broader anti-censorship battle. It is of critical importance (and also legally protected) that our comrades in Florida, facing this sort of abuse, be able to receive political education and communicate their stories to the outside world. Fighting the censorship is an important part of the battle. If you are in Florida and want to get involved in the censorship battle let us know.

chain
[Control Units] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Support the Illinois Fight Against Solitary Confinement

I was recently made aware of the settlement agreement in the California solitary confinement case. I agree with Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) in the article in ULK 46 "Torture Continues: CDCR Settlement Screws Prisoners". The agreement that was reached is not worth a grain of salt. It still permits the use of solitary confinement within California. The fact that the agreement seems to eliminate indefinite terms of solitary confinement is not a real accomplishment at all. It is merely camouflage. This "concession" hides the fact that no real victory has been made. A prisoner can still spend up to 5 years at a time in solitary confinement within California prisons. We must continue to fight back.

Earlier this year three prisoners within the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) filed a class action lawsuit challenging the use of solitary confinement within IDOC. In mid-2013 approximately 2,500 prisoners were being held in solitary confinement within IDOC. These numbers may seem small compared to the situation in California but Illinois has a significantly smaller prison population.

This lawsuit creates another chance for prisoners to combat the oppressive conditions of solitary confinement. I am asking that prisoners across the United $tates send any information that they can to Uptown Peoples Law Center, 4413 N. Sherridan, Chicago, IL 60640. Address your letters to Allan Mills. He is the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the Illinois lawsuit. If this lawsuit is successful it could be the beginning of the end of solitary confinement everywhere.

Let us practice unity and show that state lines do not alienate us from each other. There are several prisoners who were directly involved in the struggle against solitary confinement in California and elsewhere, who have access to resources and support groups that could be useful in the Illinois struggle. Unite and fight against imperialist oppression. Dare to struggle! Dare to win!


MIM(Prisons) adds: The fight against long-term isolation in Illinois is definitely part of the broader fight against control units everywhere. Even if it's hard to win in the imperialist courts, this doesn't mean we stop fighting, especially when we have the legal resources to take on the fight.

But we still need to be clear that even if we could shut down all of the solitary confinement cells in the United $tates, this would still be only a small part of the criminal injustice system. We need to approach this battle as a part of the larger struggle to take down the imperialists more broadly so that they don't just come up with a different way or a different population to torture and oppress.

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Caught Up in the White Man's Noose

Caught in da white man's noose
I'm struggling like a lion, gotta fight to get loose.
Boom!
Hear the gun blast, I hit the ground with a gasp
and now I feel a strong hand on my back
I'm pulled up, stood up and spoke to like a friend.
I turn around to see a man who was once an enemy
with the smile of amends.
I thought "for sure this is the end"
cuz in the beginning it was flag against flag, us against them.
I braced myself when I saw him raise a handgun from his waist.
I thought "damn son its your time to be erased,"
so I kept a poker face
and waited for death to overtake.
He handed me the gun and loosened the rope around my neck.
Is he crazy? "nigga don't you know I can blast you in yo chest" I said
"Well comrade don't you think if I wanted you dead,
I would've never fired lead through that thread?"
I stood there confused, is this the truth, a truce?
He said "listen man, wake up and see the light.
It ain't a war between me and you, that realization is overdue.
It's a war against these pigs oppressing me and you."
I now see the truth.
It ain't about your flag, my flag.
Its about a united front for peace in the streets.
Independence, liberation, revolution,
free me!
As well as us from being brainwashed, preprogrammed,
and stuck in a life with no quest for the truth.
Damn I was caught up in this white man's noose
and it took my enemy in the street to cut me loose
and show me the truth
and when I get that white man who hung me...
Boom!!


Abysmal love to all y'all united for peace from the
abysmal ghost guerilla mafia nation

chain
[Mexico] [Police Brutality] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

The Fight Continues: One Year Anniversary of Students' Disappearance in Mexico

September 2015 marked a year since the mass kidnapping of college students in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Yet very little is said about it on the national news here in the United $tates. In fact, since last year I have caught nothing of what the families of the disappeared students are up to. How are they coping? Is justice of some sort still being sought? Well fortunately we still get reports on Mexico from the Spanish news and the small community of that region has not laid down hope, nor are they sitting down with arms crossed. The state of Guerrero has made it clear that they don't trust the Mexican government's competence in finding their loved ones' remains but also in bringing down those who are responsible for the mass slaying of 43 college students out of Ayotzinapa. On 26 September 2014 many students went into the town of Iguala in shuttle busses to protest against the local government. Something they had a reputation for doing. Usually these protests would be broken up by police and the crowds would disperse, but this night was different as the mayor must have had a different method to eliminate the frequent protests from those students in Ayotzinapa college. It was mentioned in the media that the protests were becoming a nuisance not only for the mayor Jose Luis Abarca but for the rest of the population as well. The protesters were stopping traffic, disturbing businesses and constantly shouting revolutionary slogans, waving their red flags with hammer and sickles. Instead of the usual police methods of dealing with the protesters, on September 26 the police just opened fire, killing six people. And then they rounded up the students and turned them over to the local cartel to deal with. The mayor was in cahoots with the local cartels. After an international outcry both the mayor and his wife were arrested and are still behind bars. Many police officers were interrogated by federal agents and that's when the story along with the names of those involved began to come out. After being turned over to the "G.U." by police officials, the 43 students were taken to a nearby garbage dump and strangled. Subsequently their bodies were burned and thrown in bags to be dumped at the lake. This story does not add up because it's difficult to get rid of 43 bodies just like that. The population in Iguala remain skeptical of the reports released by the government. How can they not be when it was their own mayor and police officials who were responsible for their loved ones' disappearance! Can it be possible that there are still higher government officials responsible for the students' death out there running the investigation as if it were a unique incident? It is plausible given the prevalent nature of corruption in Mexico. [h]Who were the 43 students? [/h] Collectively they were preparing to become teachers. It was going to be their way to reach the masses. Ayotzinapa rural university was founded in 1926 as part of a new revolutionary government's ambition to educate all Mexicans, especially in the rural areas. Since opening, Ayotzinapa has served as an advanced educational privilege for the exploited and oppressed masses in the rural areas of Guerrero state. The university offers underprivileged youth opportunities other than just being rural peasants. This campus is a place where ideas are discussed around social, political and cultural issues and of course methods of how to change circumstances in favor of the masses. It comes as no surprise that Ayotzinapa produces some of that region's most active agitators. Revolutionary discussions are a normal thing: "Los Normales Rurales" (the normal rurals) are a product of this university that has been a boiling pot for youth who are introduced to Marxist-Leninist revolution. We see images of Marx and Engels, students walking around campus with a Karl Marx t-shirt emblazoned with a hammer & sickle, and Che Guevara and Maoist murals on campus walls. Even universities for relatively privileged youth are often a breeding ground for radicalism, so it is no surprise that higher education for the poor would feed the revolutionary movement as people become educated in the systems of oppression and the successful and failed options for fighting back. Los Normales Rurales were protesting their local government i.e. mayor and cronies. They were revolutionary propagandists attempting to reach the masses through actions. Like Mao Zedong's China produced the barefoot doctors to provide adequate health care to the rural areas, Ayotzinapa University is producing teachers who will eventually find locations in other rural or urban areas. They will take teaching positions, and, armed with revolutionary theory and knowledge of their national context, they are vital to organizing the proletariat, the peasantry, the students and other sympathetic classes. [h]Responses to the massacre[/h] The Mexican government run by Enrique Peña Nieto only made a cursory attempt to serve justice. This was the way the Mexican government handled the massacre of its' citizens at the hands of its' own officials. That area was infested with corrupt government officials and continuously disappeared citizens by the cartels. The search for the missing 43 students only produced the location of more than a dozen mass graves or "fosas." Many citizens in Iguala are too afraid to speak out and voice their grievances but not their comrades, other "normalistas" still at Ayotzinapa. They are clamoring for the masses to join their fight against a corrupt and murdering government! The protests were captured and televised and [email protected] all throughout the country got involved, protesting against government officials especially those of the reactionary party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI) who Mexicans hold just as responsible as the cartels who carried out the disappearances. PRI is an incorrigibly corrupt party run by the nation's big bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie has its allies who can carry out their dirty work and would rather eliminate any opposition to their existence. The context in that country is ripe for a revolution! The contradictions between the masses and government is at the point of antagonism. Recently during elections in Guerrero many students along with the masses wearing ski masks destroyed government offices. A concise response to who they wish to elect! The masses in Guerrero have become politicized like the masses in Michoacan state. Forming their own self-defense militias. The masses in Guerrero are on a likeminded path and still searching for the 43 normalistas, and finding more and more "fosas" with bodies. A leader of one of these self defense groups was just found murdered recently! The loved ones of the 43 normalistas are still agitating as strong as they were a year ago. The Mexican government wants to sweep the incident from almost a year ago under the rug. Not the masses. It may seem like enough for Enrique Peña Nieto, but the Ayotzinapa campus has now become more intense in their revolutionary struggle. For the 43 fallen comrades and the population as a whole the protests persist and the masses have become more receptive to revolution in Guerrero than ever! None of this is reported by English news outlets and while the Spanish news downplays its reporting, revolutionaries in the United $tates must keep up with current events in the international context. Many comrades in [i]ULK[/i] have expressed solidarity with Palestine, Syria, and Iraqi muslim fighters because of imperialist aggression towards them, yet we have a growing crises happening in Mexico that gets scant attention because it's the norm down there. And there's little mystery on why there are so many undocumented [email protected] in the U.$. to acquire better employment opportunities and escape that country's social crises. As internationalist revolutionaries we should advocate and support Ayotzinapa's current struggle to liberate its community from oppressive forces like the Mexican government and drug trafficking groups. USW conveys its revolutionary solidarity to Ayotzinapa!
chain
[United Front] [Organizing] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Arkansas Study Group Responds to UFPP Discussion

I hope this letter finds you and your family in good health and high spirits. I received the information on how to form a study group and a copy of Fundamental Political Line of MIM(Prisons) you sent. Thank you. It has been very helpful. I also received Under Lock & Key No. 45.

The study group I started only has three people involved so far. It's difficult because we are currently being housed in administrative segregation, so we basically have to yell back and forth to one another. But it's not all bad. Having to yell to one another might get others involved in our discussions because they might hear something that touches base with them.

The material we used in our first study group was ULK 45. After passing it around we discussed some of the articles. One of those articles was "UFAO Links Up with UFPP [United Front for Peace in Prisons]."

The comrade in the article did some good things, like setting up a "poor box" and doing tournaments, but we feel that he stopped making progress when he waged a war against officers and a lumpen organization (LO). The comrade said that by a member of one LO breaking into the boxes of two other LOs, somehow his treaty was broken. I'm curious, did the comrade investigate the incident to determine whether the theft was sanctioned by the leadership of the one LO? If the theft was just an isolated incident then it should not have had any effect on the treaty. That's assuming, of course, that the treaty in question was a peace agreement reached between the leadership of each LO in that particular barracks or at that particular unit.

We believe that if it was just an isolated incident then the comrade should have let the leadership of the LO the thief belonged to hand down punishment. However, since the comrade is the leader of the UFAO, he could have called together a "committee" to determine how the situation should be handled. We feel that if the comrade would have just prevented the thief from participating in, or benefiting from, UFAO function, he would still be in population pushing the cause forward.

We've learned from the comrade a lot of positive things we might try out in the future, like the poor box, but we also learned to never rush a decision, especially one that could possibly result in a "war." We believe that all decisions made should be in line with the progress of our cause, and any decision reached should be a collective effort to ensure the best path forward is taken.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In our response to the UFAO article that this Arkansas study group is responding to from ULK 45, we asked others to share tactics for how to handle a breach of a peace treaty without resorting to violence if possible. Everyone's conditions will be different, and what works in some facilities might not apply to others. This writer's suggestion of approaching the leading members of the treaty-breaker's organization is one potential option.

Even though the specific agreements you adopt will vary, it's a good idea for everyone forming a peace treaty to discuss this question in advance, before an actual breach of the treaty happens. That way you'll already be in agreement about how to handle a situation like the one explained by UFAO in ULK 45 where the peace treaty was thrown out the window, a "war" was initiated for retribution, and the leader of the peace treaty ended up in solitary confinement.

We hope to continue this discussion of how to make our efforts to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons as fruitful as possible. Send in tactics that have worked in your peace-building efforts to maintain course when it seems to be going off the tracks.

chain
[Aztlan/Chicano] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

[email protected] Power Marks 100th Anniversary of Plan de San Diego

Back Cover
Revolution in Texas! Revolution in Utah! Revolution in Arizona! And Revolution in California!

It is with these hystoric words once shouted by [email protected] revolutionaries a hundred years ago that we proudly echo this sentiment today as we announce the completion of [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán, on this anniversary of the Plan de San Diego. A hundred years ago, so-called "bandits" and "heathens" in the conquered territory of the United $tates, known as Aztlán, declared their war of liberation from Amerikan imperialism. And just as the Plan de San Diego grew out of heightened national oppression both on a domestic and international level, so does [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán come out of the depths of Amerika's dungeons at a time in which the [email protected] nation, and indeed the world, risks being swallowed whole by various imperialist factions; principally Amerikan imperialism.

Those once thought to be our old guard have come closer and closer to unity with our oppressors than to our own people, yet the [email protected] lumpen pushes through, rises to the challenge and presents us with the most correct political analysis to the most pressing questions facing Aztlán today. Vendidos (sell outs) might say that revolutionary nationalism is an ancient and dead phenomenon no longer relevant in a "globalized world." But it is exactly because of this "globalization" (i.e. imperialism) that this work is more needed than at any other time since the last round of national liberation struggles inside of U.$. borders.

[email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán has been in development for well over three years and is a collaborative effort between [email protected] revolutionaries from northern and southern Califas-Aztlán and MIM(Prisons). Our comrades on the outside facilitated, guided and made possible this manifesto. This work is an example of the political unity between both major regions of Califas-Aztlán that must come to bear by the imprisoned [email protected] lumpen on an Aztlán-wide basis before we are ready to put this ideological unity into practice.

Throughout the creative process of this book there were indeed many times in which we found it difficult to continue this collaboration. This was due not only to the same old tired divisions amongst [email protected] in California that have been keeping the imprisoned Raza from uniting as one, but due to ideological and political immaturity as well. However, through all of this, [email protected] revolutionaries from both major sections of Califas-Aztlán managed to resolve our differences through the tools and weapons refined for us by the great protagonists of oppressed peoples' movements everywhere: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. But above all, the reality that bound us throughout this work was not only our common oppression but the want and need to one day see our people free. And so, largely through the method of unity-struggle-unity and the dialectical materialist frame of thought did we finalize this important task. And as great as this work is, and as much of a watershed moment we are celebrating, we remain very much aware that this is just the opening shot to the quickly flourishing revolutionary nationalist movements within Amerika's prisons.

This book is in service to the imprisoned [email protected] lumpen in order that they may finally have a general framework from which to build ideological unity and from which to politically grow and wrest state power from Amerikan imperialism and the white settler nation.

Just as author Benjamin Heber Johnson makes the statement, "In fifty years the projected ninety-six million Latino residents of the United States would, if considered a nation, follow only Brazil and Mexico as the most populous country in Latino America" so will it probably take as long to see the fruits of our labor.(1)

The [email protected] nation is comprised of oppressed Raza and it forms a part of [email protected] America. [email protected] Unite!


Note: "Revolution in Texas," Yale University Press, 2003.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Get your copy of [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán today! We are hosting a one-time study group with the authors, so ask for the book ASAP so you'll have time to participate.

chain
[Legal] [Jester III Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Indigent Mail Restrictions Silences Prisoners

The prison oppressors have maliciously transferred me to Jester III Unit here in Richmond, Texas. I have filed numerous grievance complaints and indicated filing a Section 1983 civil lawsuit, due to prison staff violating my Constitutional rights.

I had to wait about 15 days before I was allowed to write to you all, because the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) indigent program only allows me to mail out 5 personal letters a month. Once I have submitted the 5 letters, I'm forced to wait until the next 30-day period starts. I have filed a grievance, and hope a class action lawsuit is presented to the court so that I can join in.

According to Guajardo v. Estelle 432 F.Supp 1373, prison officials must furnish postage and stationary to indigent prisoners weekly, without a waiting period. By denying me communication with my family, friends and advocates, it hinders me from informing people of the extreme mistreatment I'm constantly subjected to here.

I respectfully request the recent issue of Under Lock & Key be mailed to my new address, plus any study material to help me teach the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (Independence, Internationalism, Growth, Unity, and Peace) within the prison environment. I greatly appreciate my beloved comrades' assistance and highly need support. I will write to you and other comrades in the struggle as much as is possible or allowed.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is all too common that laws are set, but that the problems continue because prison officials simply don't follow the laws. As this correspondent writes, there are already legal standards for how indigent correspondence should be handled in Texas. Yet the Texas Board of Criminal Justice modified TDCJ's correspondence rules in opposition to this law.

In communication with Mumia Abu-Jamal, in Mumia's book Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A., Ed Mead explains this phenomenon well:

"[The courts] may order that you have more peanut butter on the main line but they're not going to do anything significant or fundamental in terms of serving the public interest. And that is the limitation of jailhouse lawyering, you can get yourself out but there will be another one to replace you. You can get a friend out; there will be another one to replace him. You can file a prisoner rights suit but they'll just not enforce it... or if it's enforced, after a while it just dissipates, like a puddle of water evaporating and nobody really notices that it's gone."

For those issues that people notice are dwindling away, such as the restrictions on indigent mail in Texas, what role can lawsuits play in ensuring these rights are protected? Our correspondent would like to join on to a Class Action suit on this issue, and surely there are plenty of Texas comrades who would be interested in something similar. Ed Mead breaks it down:

"[T]he courts are a part of the State's apparatus of repression... and the State is the means by which one class suppresses the interests of another class. And since the police and the prisons are a part of that and the courts as well, none of these enforcement mechanisms are going to abolish themselves. Once you get beyond the point of litigating over 'we want more peanut butter on the main line,' if you're looking for substantial issues, then the courts aren't the place to go...

"And the way I look at it is that the prison is the factory that turns out the product. And that product is angry people who are released to the streets full of rage, which gets taken out on their family members, their neighbors, and the community. And to try to treat individual products that the factory spews out, it's spewing them out faster than you could possibly fix the problem. You need to focus on shutting the factory down. And the courts aren't going to be of any assistance in that."

In the context of our anti-imperialist organizing, we see lawsuits as having two functions. First, they can be a way to organize people by bringing them into political struggle, and demonstrating the limitations of the injustice system. Second, when successful, lawsuits can help to make space for this revolutionary organizing. Lifting the severe restrictions on indigent correspondence would definitely be better for people who are submitting articles to Under Lock & Key, participating in our correspondence study groups, or just keeping their ULK subscription active. And we're sure that most of our comrades behind bars don't just write to us! But even if this restriction were lifted, as it should be, there would just be some other injustice being thrown our way. Or eventually the law would be "forgotten" and we'd have to go to court over the same thing, again.

Ed Mead is a former prisoner, jailhouse lawyer, founder of Prison Legal News, and long-time revolutionary. Ey presently publish the newsletter The Rock and recently had eir autobiography published by Kersplebedeb. With Ed's vast and long-time experience in the anti-imperialist prisoner-focused movement, ey has this to say about putting our legal efforts into a broader context of struggle: "The main thing is to put jailhouse lawyering in a context of class struggle. And when you put it in that context its limitations become abundantly clear."

Mumia reflects on Ed's perspective on jailhouse lawyering,

"For this one man, jailhouse law was a doorway into other realms of social reality, where the courts, for all their pomp and ceremony, were largely irrelevant to the larger social struggles rippling through society. What Mead learned was that jailhouse law was simply a means; it was not an end. It had, in Mead's view, severe limitations."

To move beyond these limitations, we expand our scope. While this legal system fails us, we instead aim to set the stage for communist revolution on these shores. We have various campaigns and projects centered around this goal, which we report on regularly on this website and in Under Lock & Key.

chain
[Education] [Abuse] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Message to Clements Unit: to Continue to Exist We Must Resist

Folks are dropping dead like flies here in Clements Unit. Due to a faulty grievance system and benign inspector general investigations, the whole entire unit staff are literally getting away with murder. It seems like when one pig gets in trouble he/she gets promoted. Take officer (now Sergeant) Garret E. Rockholt for instance. In 2013 he cold cocked a prisoner in the medium custody unit of this prison. Not only was he caught red-handed, this incident gained him praise and eventually got him promoted to a Sergeant in the Ad-Seg building where he walks around with his chest out boasting about his charades as a former Officer.

Next we have Officer (now Sergeant) Desmond Finney. As an officer he had a reputation for beating and slamming handcuffed prisoners. Notably, one ended up with black eyes and another had a tooth knocked out. Not only was he beating our peers but he also denied several the chance to eat whenever he worked the pod. Now this clown has been promoted to Sergeant and the deck for corruption is constantly getting stacked.

These are just a few examples of the rewards for bad behavior that need to stop. But comrades it's going to take more than just words and hope. Unity is key and unity is mandatory with any effort towards changing prison conditions and prison behavior. We can't afford to let differences between one another dictate how pervasive things get and we need to focus on how to liberate one another. As comrade Mao said, "to gain public opinion and seize power."

Since 2013 we've had one peer murdered, one left to die, one found in his cell where he'd already been dead for several hours, one left with a broken arm and another a broken finger. None of these instances were peer-on-peer attacks; they were all due to the intentions and neglect by the very pigs that are supposed to prevent these things from happening. It's obvious that we can't count on them to protect us, so the only obvious alternative is to protect each other collectively and with honor.

Getting involved in study groups and reading, learning, and teaching the works of Marx, Lenin, and Mao is sure to create an understanding of how to lead. So if you haven't begun to study and don't know where to start, if you've read this you just began.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Study groups are an excellent way to build unity and political leadership. Getting people to agree that unity is good is pretty straightforward, but building a long-lasting movement that's strong enough to stand up against all obstacles put in our way requires deep political study. We run correspondence study groups and also support prisoner-led study groups behind bars. Write in to get materials for either of these methods of study.

For prisoners of the Texas Department of Criminal inJustice (TDCJ) there is also an activist pack which has info on the various campaigns United Struggle from Within has running in TDCJ. This activist pack doesn't just contain information to help fight for your rights; it is a great organizing tool to share with others in your facility to get people working together and building tangible unity.

We hope to develop activist packs for other states where comrades are fighting similar struggles. In Texas the campaigns center around the inability to have grievances properly addressed, a $100 medical copay for healthcare, and a limit on indigent envelopes to 5 per month. If you have an idea for a campaign and resource that can be developed in your state, write in to get involved. If you're in Texas, you need to get this Texas activist pack! It's costly to print and mail so if you are able to send us a donation, that would be greatly appreciated.

chain
[Censorship] [Gang Validation] [Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center] [MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution] [Connecticut] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Validated for Participating in MIM(Prisons) Study Group

UnauthorizedStudy
It's been a while since I have reached out, the delay was due to me acquiring a class A disciplinary report which regressed me from Phase 4 (a month from finishing) to Phase 1 (15 months to completion). Why, you may ask? Due to the fact that I was participating in a MIM study group and happened to spell Afrika (with a k) and Amerikkka (with a k) differently, which was deemed disrespectful to the security risk group (SRG) designation "Crips." After losing trial on the disciplinary report I was given 60 days loss of mail and 60 days loss of commissary as well as 10 days punitive segregation. Also it led to anything MIM-related being confiscated as well as banned in Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center and MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution. I have appealed their findings and also included a copy. The copies with this scribe will furthermore prove censorship here in the state of Connecticut. I have also exhausted all administrative remedies and I'm currently in process of filing a lawsuit against Corrigan CI for violation of my First Amendment rights. If you have any case laws that may help my pursuit of justice it will be greatly appreciated. I'm also trying to recover ULK issues #28, 30, 31, 33, 36, 37, 38 and some MIM Theory magazines titled #4, #5, and #14. I will continue to contribute through any means I'm able to.


The enclosed disciplinary report states:


"Description of violation: On May 8, 2015 at 6:10 p.m. in accordance with Administrative Directive 10.7 I, Officer Lorenzen, reviewed an outgoing letter written by Inmate XX. In this letter Inmate XX shows his continued affiliation to the Security Risk Group Bloods by using a total of six five pointed stars which are identifiers used by the Bloods. Twice in this letter Inmate Patterson replaces the letter 'C' with the letter 'K.' This occurs on the bottom of the first page of the letter where he writes 'Afrikans.' The second place this occurs is on the third page of the letter where he writes 'Amerika.' This shows disrespect to the Security Risk Group Crips and is a behavior clearly associated with the Security Risk Group Bloods.

"Inmate XX makes the written statement, 'As of now as the leader of our study group...' This statement clearly shows that Inmate XX recognizes himself as holding a leadership position over other Security Risk Group Members. In the letter he also states, 'We meet twice a week during our recreation period for 15 minutes...' This statement further shows that he is recognized as a leader of Security Risk Group Members that have the same recreation period as him.

"The use of letter replacement, five pointed stars, as well as leading and organizing Security Risk Group Members are behaviors clearly associated with a Security Risk Group which is a violation of Administrative Directive 9.5. For this Inmate XX is being issued a Class A Disciplinary Report for Security Risk Group Affiliation."

The prisoner's appeal was denied.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We will support this comrade in eir righteous battle to have basic Constitutional rights recognized. Whether you're Maoist or Crip, the way you spell can get you punished in the U.$. injustice system. And organizing others to come together to study, well that is a very serious offense for the most oppressed in the good ole' U.$.A.

chain
[Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Freedom Fighter: Latin King Leaders

As a Latin King Political Prisoner (LKPP) housed here in Mississippi I've learned over the years the true essence of my calling, as member of the lumpen class. Thanks to MIM and all who continue to submit the knowledge needed for us to read and study, I've gained a lot of understanding on how to deal with not only the staff within this prison but other prisoners as well. I recently posted on the board a memo for all prisoners to honor Sept 9th as "Prisoner Memorial Day." Also for "Black August." I know in my heart that others must feel something of what took place those few days. When I see someone read it, I bring up the subject to 'em later. It seems that being in a minimum security prison like this there are not many guys too concerned. But I continue to write to my brothers elsewhere and talk to them here on yard or class about certain topics.

As a freedom fighter I have endured many challenging obstacles and thanks to the encouragement of other freedom fighters elsewhere I've been able to overcome them successfully. Although some of the issues I've had to encounter are only a fraction of a struggle compared to what many of our brothers/sisters have had to go through in other prisons around the world. I'm half Cherokee, half white, and a member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation since 1987. I've been an avid reader of MIM Notes since my King Brother El Rey Krazy from chi-town first introduced me to my very first step on this golden path of prosperity.

Many things have changed over the years throughout this prison system and abroad. I see that us 'freedom fighters' are still remaining strong and getting stronger. I personally want to acknowledge our comrades of the ALKQN New Jersey state who have enlightened me on the political essence of our nation's history and where we stand in today's society, as well on how to combat oppression within this prison system. Of course my salute to MIM(Prisons) as well.

Many years ago a fellow comrade and freedom fighter from New Jersey, King Arch Angel, provided me with a small publication that was put together by the LKPP called Combat Liberalism. At that time, 2001, there were a lot of things going on that we were involved in such as the protest of the military bombings on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, the U.S. bombings in the mountains of Tora Bora, in the Middle East, and some issues we as a nation were dealing with internally. I used that publication in study groups many days, although when I went in the hole the pigs threw away all of my material. I still remember the teachings those brothers provided me with. So I want to send my undying solidarity, love, honor, and respect to the true freedom fighters who have had a major impact on my life: Honorable King Arch-Angel, King Special from New Jersey, King Krazy, King Ghost from 21st Cal(Chi-town), and King Ren Rochell Ill. I wish you all well and I thank you for your truth and solidarity.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a good example of honoring those who have helped us gain education and knowledge along the way to our political growth, and recognizing these people as freedom fighters. All who engage in this struggle against imperialism are freedom fighters, they don't need to be famous, and we can acknowledge their contributions without revealing their legal identities. It is important to recognize that history is made by the masses, but leaders play a critical role in sharing information and raising consciousness. The freedom fighters honored by this comrade all did the important work of helping to raise consciousness of their fellow LKs. The bond between MIM and the ALKQN goes back several decades, and MIM(Prisons) has also worked with many Latin King political leaders. King Arch-Angel (RIP), did amazing work educating comrades of all LOs while in prison and continued that work amongst the youth after his release. So we would also like to honor eir legacy as a freedom fighter. We look at the work of all these comrades as an example of what we hope to see growing inside all lumpen organizations, moving people towards revolutionary analysis and actions.

chain
[Censorship] [River North Correctional Center] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Virginia Censorship Battle Seeking Way Forward

Censored
Enclosed is a Facility Notification of Disapproval of Under Lock & Key No. 45. The effort your group puts forth, and your commitment to your ideology are examples of dedication. But the continual rejection of your materials by the prison is costly to your limited resources. And my returning them to you without getting to read them is costly to me. You should receive a package from me containing materials the prison withheld from me.

I propose you cease mailing your materials to me. I am still going to contribute articles for you to publish. I have an issue of ULK that I've saved in order to show others who you are, what you represent, and so forth. I will use this to encourage them to work with you.

I have considered filing a lawsuit. But upon reviewing decisions in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, it is plain that the court sides with the prison system except in cases involving religious books. (The one non-religious victory: the court did rule in favor of a prisoner denied Ulysses by James Joyce because the prison permitted Playboy and the prison's claim that Ulysses was disapproved for sexual content is ludicrous and hypocritical.)

When it comes to political materials – especially radical views – the court is extremely conservative. The Fourth Circuit (which hears appeals from the nine federal district courts in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) also has the dubious distinction of being the harshest toward prisoner complaints.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We are working with this comrade and a few others in Virginia to determine how best to proceed with the censorship against MIM(Prisons) in that state. We agree that the legal track record in the Fourth Circuit suggests that it's not worth the effort for a prisoner to file a lawsuit fighting the censorship. There is some precedent for organizations and individuals outside of prison having better luck and we do have some strong comrades like this one who can help with legal work. But we need an outside lawyer, knowledgable individual, or organization who can help spearhead the fight in Virginia. If anyone reading this has people on the outside who would be willing to work with us on this important battle, please let us know. And if you are in Virginia, be sure to tell us whether or not you are receiving your copies of ULK, and if you'd like to help with this battle.

In the end this comrade is right that it is only in the long battle that we can really win, when we take power for the oppressed out of the hands of the oppressors. But in the short term, making it possible for comrades to get study and organizing materials behind bars is of critical importance because this is how we can build the movement. Education is our principal task, and this education is hard to accomplish without the ability to communicate and study.

chain
[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

"New" Torture Tactics at Pelican Bay

SolitaryIsTorture
I want to inform you about a new torture tactic being used here in the Security Housing Units (SHU). Since August 3 [2 weeks ago] the staff have been doing what has been termed "security/welfare checks" which entails staff walking by every prisoner's cell every 30 minutes 24/7 and pressing a button that has been installed next to our cells. Due to the design of the SHU the sound everyone and everything makes is louder than it should be and at night we are woken up every thirty minutes due to staff opening/closing the pod door, which is extremely loud, stomping up the stairs to the top tier and back down, and making a loud bang sound when hitting the button next to our cells as they are hitting metal on metal.

During the day it's the same thing except the wand makes a high-pitch beeping sound when hitting the button. So 24/7 it's non-stop excessive noise that doesn't allow us to sleep longer than 30 minutes without being woken up. I feel like I'm living in a dream 24/7 as I'm always stirred and feeling the effects of being denied sleep and not being able to go through my normal sleep cycles. Anyone with common sense can see this is cruel and unusual punishment. The ironic thing is staff say it's to prevent suicides. Yeah let's make a bunch of excessive noise all day and night and not let anyone sleep longer than 30 minutes at any given time, that should prevent suicides. If it's driving relatively stable prisoners crazy I'm sure it's pushing those with mental health issues over the edge.

Also by doing this, even though it's misguided and unnecessary, the CDCR is admitting that the SHU makes people more likely to commit suicide if they need to check on everyone every 30 minutes. I have filed an administrative appeal on this to have it stopped or modified and plan to file a lawsuit if we are not allowed to sleep normally again. In the mean time I'm writing friends/family to call the prison/CDCR head quarters and complain about this, and I'm writing all prison organizations and public servants to make them aware of this new form of torture being conducted.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This sleep deprivation torture tactic has been reported on from San Quentin for some time, and we recently received word from a comrade on pending litigation on this issue:

"I am challenging a blatantly obvious psychological torture program put in play by Jeffrey Beard, Secretary of the gulag system in California, as a payback to the SHU guys for the hunger strikes. The CDCR had to throw us, death row, under the bus too, to make it less obvious who the target really is.

"There is a program whereby they come and shine lights in eyes, bang and yell, using a 'beeper' stick to hit the cell tray slots, every 20 to 30 minutes, all day and night.

"In my moving papers I proved it is utterly pointless as stated, as a suicide prevention program. Anyone knows you can commit suicide during the half hour between walks, and also in our unit it takes them over 20 added minutes to get the keys, get shields, and race in and pounce on a guy hanging by the neck. It is specious.

"So I filed saying this is far too onerous to be a mere act of stupidity, it is a malicious torture of the SHU units only (including PSU, psych wards, all lock-up units). If this does not cause suicide, what would? Ha!"

This latest tactic of inhumane sleep deprivation reinforces our point that the settlement of the Ashker v. Brown lawsuit will do nothing to end torture in California prisons. As the comrade above points out, this is not rogue COs, this is facility policy. We received reports over a year prior about the new Guard One torture program. As one comrade pointed out at the time, most deaths in cells are due to medical neglect.

Calling this a "new tactic" is a bit of a misnomer. This same exact system of "security checks" every 30 minutes has been used in recent history in Texas and North Carolina. Though in these cases they seemed more targeted, and the comrade in North Carolina grieved the abuse and won. In fact, this type of sleep deprivation dates back more than 50 years when prisoners suffered similar conditions in Walpole, Massachusetts. All these examples go to show that the system is inherently oppressive, and only by overthrowing imperialism will we ever begin to see humane treatment of prisoners.

We view the latest behavior by guards at Pelican Bay as a form of retaliation against the prisoners held in SHU, to show them who is in charge and that torture is alive and well in spite of the "successful" settlement. Exposing this consistent mistreatment of prisoners in California is a must to counter the narrative that the modern prison movement has succeeded in transforming the CDCR, or the conditions they submit their prisoners to, in any way.

The acute threat of this form of torture requires an immediate response.

A concerted effort has been taken up by a number of groups supporting the California prison movement to contact the warden to demand an end to this torture.

Write to:
Warden Clark E. Ducart
Pelican Bay State Prison
P.O. Box 7000
Crescent City, CA 95531-7000
email: [email protected]
call: (707) 465–1000 ext. 9040

chain
[Organizing] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Celebrate Freedom Fighters by Becoming a Freedom Fighter

PeoplesFighters
There are many freedom fighters who have struggled throughout hystory in so many ways. Some used organizing, others the gun and many have used the power of words. Freedom fighters come from a variety of political ideologies and different nations, but what ties them all together is their decision to serve the people. They do this not just in their lives, but in their legacy and what they have accomplished in their lifetime.

This issue of Under Lock & Key is dedicated to freedom fighters of all types. The inspiration for this issue comes from a comrade who wrote in to suggest that everyone write an essay celebrating one freedom fighter who has influenced them. We are printing some of the responses we got in this ULK.

Who are some Freedom Fighters?

Looking at the [email protected] nation we have freedom fighters like Elizabeth "Betita" Martinez, Corky Gonzalez and other [email protected] who fought for the liberation of Aztlán. They dedicated their lives to the nation and still serve as examples to those of us who struggle today.

The New Afrikan nation has freedom fighters like Malcolm X and Angela Davis and others who have set great examples and continue to do so for the oppressed. New Afrikan struggles continue to build on past struggles.

The First Nations have freedom fighters like Leonard Peltier who struggled against Amerikkka in many ways. Peltier today sits in a prison cell because of being a freedom fighter.

Boriqua has freedom fighters like Lolita Lebron and Oscar Lopez Rivera. Lolita went to prison for struggling against Amerikkka and Oscar still sits in a U.$. prison for his work to free Puerto Rico.

All of these people come from the oppressed internal semi-colonies here within U.$. borders. They have inspired people living under U.$. imperialism for decades. But there are many other freedom fighters around the world who have made an impact on all of our consciousness regardless of their political line. People like Leila Khalid, Che, Fanon, Giap, Zapata, Pancho Villa and so many others have showed us what people's fighters look like.

Are there Imprisoned Freedom Fighters?

For many amongst the oppressed nations these colonizer's kkkamps are where freedom fighters end up. Some imprisoned freedom fighters are prisoners of war (POWs), targeted because of their anti-imperialist work on the streets. These freedom fighters will always be found in U.$. prisons because the oppressed will always struggle in so many ways against the oppressor nation. This will continue as long as U.$. imperialism exists.

Other freedom fighters gained consciousness behind the bars and have risen up to lead the movement from within. Many of the freedom fighters in U.$. prisons today can be found in control units because the state targets imprisoned activists. Freedom fighters within prisons are often those who were amidst or leading such prison rebellions as the hunger/work strikes which swept the dungeons of Califas, Georgia, Ohio, etc. in the last few years like a hurricane of collective rage. These prisoners were craving freedom!

Freedom fighters within prisons are those who do not fear the enemy oppressor nation. They do not fear speaking up for prisoners even when they are being attacked by the state. A freedom fighter is anyone who makes a decision to struggle for a better environment within prisons.

How Do Freedom Fighters Awaken the People?

When we think of freedom fighters and our connection to them many conjure up people in hystory who inspire us to rise up. I know when I began to read up on people like Zapata or Pancho Villa it compelled me to read more about the Mexican Revolution. As a [email protected] it helped instill a national consciousness in me. It helped me to understand that it is good to resist Amerikkka and that colonization is bad, not good, despite the bribes.

But there are freedom fighters in the here and now. I would say that every reader of ULK is a budding freedom fighter, and those who contribute in any way to ULK are freedom fighters. We are freedom fighters because we work to free the people.

Reading the hystory of the Mexican Revolution and the freedom fighters who made it happen put me on the road to where I am today as a [email protected] revolutionary. The first time I was handed MIM literature was in a control unit. A New Afrikan handed me a MIM Notes newspaper and after reading it I was turned up! That persyn who introduced me to MIM was a freedom fighter. This is what freedom fighters do: they work tirelessly to build more freedom fighters.

Being a freedom fighter is not doing it for a come up. The people who become freedom fighters are not getting paid to do so. This is a voluntary act, a way of serving the people, often with everything we have.

The legacy of freedom fighters lives on long after we are no longer alive. We help build consciousness while we are alive through our actions. For future generations our actions, thought and struggles will serve as study material and inspiration. Everything we do should educate the people. This means our fellow prisoners on the tier, those on the yard, and our nations at large. Our lives should help develop as many people as we can, in prison or outside of prisons. Freedom fighters should make a difference in all who come to know them, even our outside supporters.

Why the State Fears Freedom Fighters

We should understand that freedom fighters are enemies of the state. It is the freedom fighter who is trying to get FREE from the state. The oppressor nation is what is preventing us from being free, so they would naturally see us as a threat. It's why they label us "security threat groups" and other such names, because our actions and goals threaten their power.

It is important to understand that our existence with the oppressor is not compatible. As long as we are alive we will continue to experience oppression in so many horrible ways. Many will become demoralized, especially when being a freedom fighter does not put you in the majority. Freedom fighters are a small minority within U.$. prisons and U.$. borders. But this should not discourage any one of you. Truth is grasped by a nucleus, a cadre, and not by the majority at first.

When the Bolsheviks first rose up they had a little over a hundred cadre. The Chinese cadre also started out as a handful. But as Tani and Sera put it: "Only those who refuse to see revolution as it actually is, can fail to see the connection between the breakthrough of world socialism and the rebellion of a very small, oppressed nation."(1) Here it is highlighted that a small oppressed nation has the ability to affect world revolution. A minority can affect the majority. The state understands this and it is for this reason that they fear our freedom fighters.

As I was writing this article on freedom fighters I heard on the radio that Hugo "Yogi" Pinell has been killed! Yogi was a real freedom fighter. Rest in power Yogi.


Notes: Kae Sera and E. Tani, False Nationalism False Internationalism, Seeds Beneath the Snow, 1985, p. 19.

chain
[ULK Issue 47]
expand

El 9 de Septiembre, Un Día de Solidaridad

El 9 de Septiembre, el día del preso, ya no puede seguir silenciado. Este día haciendo su gran apariencia el 9 de Septiembre, esta haciendo su camino lento pero fijo entre las organizaciones presidarias y otros movimientos macizos de costa a costa.

Cualquier preso suscrito a Under Lock & Key (Bajo Llave y Candado) o las otras revistas gratis a los presos pueden atestiguar a todas las cosas que recuerdan del día que los presos se pararon unidos para después ser tumbados para poder pararse año tras año. Para muchos que saben de las insurrección de Attica, solo al escuchar el nombre de Attica se resusitan los cuentos dichos de las protestas del oriente donde pocos hermanos de una mezcla de organizaciones se pusieron en una posición de pelear por algo y no caer fácilmente. Una protesta en la cual muchos presos políticos toman inspiracion hoy en su sed para tomar de las aguas de la libertad. Lo de Attica se convertió legendario.

Muchos presos han sido forzados sepultados en las tumbas de la bestia, mejor conocidas como las unidades de control por estar cometidos a mantener viva la memoria del día que los presos lucharon por una causa común, haciendo la historia. Estos presos, forzados a las tumbas de la bestia que hablaron desde el sepulcro al sistema de injusticia hicieron la fuerza silenciosa que vibró en las prisiones americanas.

En lo que pasó el tiempo, también pasaron los movimientos macizos, sus jefes y las organizaciones en cargo de servir los intereses de los presos. Las lineas de los partidos involucrados con conmemorar el aniversario de Attica se cruzaron y se exponieron. El sueño de reformas y rehabilitación atrazaraon a muchos a una posición sumisa a los intereses del enemigo del preso, el estado.

Detalles de las insurrección del 9 de Septiembre y ciertos individuos involucrados empezaron a significar menos y menos. Los hechos históricos, jefatura y goles se convirtieron en chisme de "por culpa de tu carnal, mataron a mi padre. El estado entiende la importancia de detener la corriente con la táctica de división y desde allí se marco la linea entre el preso político y el preso que solo quiere terminar su sentencia para regresar a lo que ellos ven que es la libertad. Este segundo grupo no querían tener nada que ver con el primer grupo, porque estos viejos presos políticos se vieron como demasiado extremos en sus ideas y objetivos. En el otro lado de la moneda, el preso político no quería tener ningún trato con este preso sumiso que empezó a parecerse al sobrestante del sistema que da privilegios y premios por el buen comportamiento al que no moleste el sistema. Hasta hoy en d¡a estas li¡neas son la contradicción principal entre las masas prisioneras y los pocos líderes políticos.

Attica sirvió como ejemplo a los dos lados de la cerca. El poder está en la unión. Con el respaldo de la gente de Attica en el 1971, el tiempo suficiente para los presos ocupar la yarda y unos cuantos dormitorios. En el enfrentamiento con la policía estatal los presos exigieron ser tratados con decencia humana.

El resultado fin fue el asesinato de muchos que sabían que lo único que perderían eran sus cadenas. El efecto de Attica le corresponde a todo preso. El efecto de Attica vive con el preso hasta hoy. Que el preso refresque su memoria con todas la insurrecciones posibles con la paz como el objetivo.

Este no es el tiempo para que los presos peleen entre ellos mismos. Tampoco, en los estados unidos, deberíamos estar preparandonos para una guerra armada. Tenemos que aprender que los presos no deben de cazar a otros presos con practicas explotativas que resultan en conflictos que traspasan las viviendas de prisión y afectan más que las facciones locales. El preso tiene que considerar las condiciones de toda la clase presidiaria de la que todos somos parte, y allí decidir en que dirección nos vamos a mover unidos.

Attica dió nacimiento a muchas grandes demostraciones e insurrecciones en los estados unidos. Recientemente en Texas, California, Carolina del Norte y Georgia.

El Día de la Solidaridad está plantada en la realidad que el preso en ciertos tiempos tiene que poner aparte sus diferencias con otros presos para poder mancomunar sus energías y recursos para las causas que contribuyen a derribar el sistema como es conocido. Y después de eso si quieren regresar a sus vidas parasíticas pues que se las arreglen con sus gentes.

El Día de Paz y Solidaridad 9 de Septiembre es el día de conmemoración del preso; el festejo del convicto. Es el día que todos los presos podrán cruzar las líneas de división que han crecido durante los años. El preso en este tiempo podrá festejar en su anticipación del entretenimiento, educación, aplicación y apoyo de una masa prisionera con voz que hablará contra la injusticia del sistema de prisiones americanas.

USW invita a todos que están comprometidos a los cinco principios de la United Front for Peace in Prisons (Frente Unida para la Paz en las Prisiones - UFPP) que participen en las celebraciones del 9 de Septiembre. Sometan arte de alta calidad a nuestra asociación de artistas en la lucha, para ser imprimidas y circuladas en tu prisión regando el mensaje de paz el 9 de Septiembre. Nuestros compadres MIM(Prisiones) ofrecen libros políticos gratis con cuales tu grupo puede estudiar o dibujar sus interpretaciones de la lectura. O pueden escribir una declaración ilustrando su forma de celebrar el 9 de Septiembre.

Estamos en la época de hablar y elevar la voz por los presos. Si el preso puede fortalezerse con sus experiencias compartidas como la de las insurrecciones del pasado, sus voces podrán hablar a los intereses alineados con los oprimidos del mundo entero y se puede comenzar a derrumbar el sistema estado por estado.

Es allí cuando el poder será reinstalado a los más capaces de representar los intereses del conjunto entero sin miedo de realización o represión por sus partes como líderes. El día de paz y solidaridad del 9 de Septiembre preparará a todo los presos para el día que todos tendrán que decidirse si se van a parar por algo o caerse por cualquier cosa.

chain
[Spanish] [Mississippi] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Pelea en Mississippi guía a Frente Unido de Paz y Unidad

Yo, un miembro honorable de la Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (Todopoderosa Nación Reyes y Reinas Latinos - ALKQN) mando mi imperecedero amor, fuerza y sacrificio. El 14 de Diciembre la unidad 2 de la Chickasaw County Regional Correctional Facility (CCRFC) explotó en una guerra entre la nación Folk y People. La mayoría de nosotros estábamos dormidos. Siendo quien soy y mi obligación a mi gente, yo hice lo que tuve que hacer. El fin resultó con 2 de nosotros mandados al centro de emergencia. Recibí 8 puntadas y 4 grapas en 2 partes de mi cabeza.

Unos cuantos días antes de este incidente unos cuantos estábamos discutiendo materia que les estaba leyendo de ULK 41. Muchos de nosotros hemos estado presos juntos en tres de las prisiones más violentas de Mississippi (Missippi State Prison Unidad 32, East Mississippi Correctional Facility, y Wilkinson County Correctional Facility). Todos en estado de "security threat group" ("grupo de amenaza a la seguridad" - STG) y alto riesgo. Fue la American Civil Liberies Union (Unión Americana de Derechos Humanos - ACLU), activistas de prisiones, la sabiduría, conocimiento y ánimo de MIM(Prisiones) quienes ayudaron a cerrar la unidad 32 y conseguir que me trasladan a una prisión de mínima seguridad como CCRFC. También tomó el buen comportamiento de mi parte.

Después de la pelea cuando me estaban trasladando del hospital a la prisión, el teniente y el jefe me preguntaron en cual unidad me sentiría más seguro. Les dije que quería regresar a dónde ya estaba. Me llamaron loco y no me querían meter en donde estaba anteriormente. Me preguntaron que por qué yo quería regresar, les dije que es allí dónde yo vivo, nosotros nos sabemos cuidar. Este es un asunto entre los Folks y los Peoples no los puercos.

Lo que me vino a la mente fue un articulo de la primera corona de la Black Order Revolutionary Organization (Organización Revolucionaria de la Orden Negra - BORO) titulada "¡No Saquen, Organícense!" en ULK 41. Eso es lo que hicimos: solucionamos solucionar nuestros problemas e hicimos lo necesario para mantener a los puercos fuera de nuestros asuntos. Ellos se interesan más en quién tiene que y quién hace qué. El día después de la pelea, las escuadras de canallas nos registraron nuestras viviendas buscando contrabando. Claro que el guardián salió en las noticias y dijo que fue un motín que empezó con un individuo abusador que mandaron a correr de la zona. Todos sabíamos que la American Corretional Association (Asociación Americana de Correcciones - ACA) justo paso por aquí y no quería lucir mal por eso fue que mintió.

Estoy de acuerdo con el punto que hizo BORO: cambio no pasara de un día a otro. Tomara tiempo y vamos a cometer errores. Si podemos seguir juntándonos con el entendimiento que estamos en la misma lucha, vamos a poder resolver nuestros asuntos pacíficamente si es posible.

Ya ha pasado más de una semana desde la pelea y estoy honorado en decir que todos vivimos en paz y unidad. Nadie habla de ese día en luz negativa. Nuestras charlas se tratan de cómo podemos trabajar juntos para vencer cualquier obstáculo en nuestra lucha de mantenernos libre de opresión. Nos paramos en solidaridad y unidad. Rezo que todos en otras prisiones en todo el mundo puedan armar una frente unido y que todos tengan paz tras las rejas. Amor de Rey ayer, hoy mañana y siempre.


MIM(Prisiones) agrega: Este es un impresionante ejemplo de lo que United Front for Peace in Prisons (Frente Unida Para Paz en las Prisiones - UFPP) escribió en su declaración fundadora, "Nosotros ya estamos 'unídos' — en nuestro sufrimiento y nuestro represión diaria." Este cambio rápido de hostilidad por unidad refleja el conocimiento entre los presos de CCRFC.

No cabe duda que la presencia de organizaciones amontonadas (LOs) contribuyeron a las condiciones para hacer posible tomar este paso adelante para que la unidad fuera una realidad. Este ejemplo es porque nosotros defendemos los aspectos progresivos que se encuentran en la mayoría de las organizaciones amontonadas (LOs). Camaradas adentro de las LOs que quieren desarrollar el Frente Unido para Paz en las Prisiones deberían trabajar con nosotros para desarrollar los aspectos progresivos de sus organizaciones a protocolos prácticos para armar el frente unido.

chain