Upon entering the custody of Atchison County Jail, I was on several different medications, including insulin, glyburide, clonadine (high blood pressure), metaformin, hydrocodone 7 (neuropathy nerve damage), and other medications that I can't recall. It wasn't even 2 weeks before all my medications were dropped but my metaformin. Common sense will tell you without my medications my blood sugar, blood pressure and pain was all increased. Instead of readjusting my meds, I was placed in lockdown for medical observation which lasted a week, and my condition didn't improve any at all.
I arrived here in August 2016, and an A1C test should have been done soon after my arrival. However, it wasn't done until November 2016. The next day I was told by the nurse my A1C came back as 11.8 when it should be around 6.0. The nurse commented that it was the second highest that she has ever seen. That same day they decided to drop my sugar checks to 1x a week when common sense would tell you it should have been increased, not decreased. It was 2x a day. I should also be on a low carb diet but instead I'm on pretty much on an all carb diet.
I have been complaining about my eyesight and requesting an eye exam but being told my eyesight is not bad enough that I need an eye exam nor am I at risk for an eye disease. Yeah nothing about that statement makes any sense, one of the first things to go with diabetes is eyesight.
Since being here they still haven't tested my kidneys, cholesterol level, or dental. They did check my neuropathy once but wouldn't do anything for it. They checked my blood pressure a few times which has been high every time but they refuse to give me medication. I get charged $10 every time a nurse sees me. I'm charged for meds but this place will not give you a 30-day supply upon release.
I have filed two lawsuits because of this and have been retaliated against. The jail will not provide me copies, notary, or access to law library. I'm not allowed to work to pay off my fines. I put in for a sentence modification but was denied because captain told court I am a behavior problem although I have not been in any trouble at all.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Lack of medical care leads directly to disabilities and worse health problems, as this writer so clearly demonstrates. As the "Disabilities and Anti-Imperialism" article explains, this medical neglect is a product of capitalism, where the needs of the people are ignored if they run counter to the needs of capitalist corporations to profit.
Wealthy people have access to good healthcare within the United $tates, but marginalized communities, like prisoners and lumpen on the streets, are shut out from this service. And as we regularly hear in the debates over the Affordable Care Act, many middle-class Amerikans are also lacking access to affordable healthcare because of the individualist profit-driven system.
We know that providing good healthcare is possible on a broad scale, but it will require first a government that is truly working in the interests of the people, rather than one focused on maximizing profits for the First World. We have a good example of health care truly serving the interests of the people in China between 1949 and 1976 under socialism. They focused on preventive care, sanitation, and education, combined with a massive campaign to get health care out to people in the countryside who were previously unable to access doctors.
Before 1949, life expectancy in China was just 35 years and the illiteracy rate was 80%. In 1979 life expectancy rose to 68 years and illiteracy had declined to less than 7%. As a part of the dramatic improvements in health, the Chinese infant mortality rate was reduced to a lower level than in New York City.(1)
Essentially China achieved health for its population comparable with much wealthier countries by the end of the 1970s by focusing on serving the people rather than serving the profits of the wealthy. Building such a system of health care came only after the forceful removal of imperialist powers from China and the destruction of the former institutions of rule.
Nowhere is the necessity for the societal advancement to communism more apparent than in the realm of disability considerations. No segment of society, imprisoned or otherwise, is in greater need of the guiding communist ethos proclaimed by Marx: "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need." This humynist principle applies to no demographic more than the disabled.
When communist society is realized, the intrinsic worth of each and every persyn and their potential to contribute to society will be realized as well. In return, communist society will reward the disabled population by adequately providing their essentials and rendering all aspects of society open and accessible for their full utilization. In a phrase, communism will respect the disabled persyn's humyn right to a humane existence. We communists strive for the elimination of power structures that allow the oppression of people by people. The disabled population, as well as all peoples that have hystorically been subjugated by the oppressive bourgeois system of capitalism/imperialism, can then work toward the implementation of a truly democratic society.
Considering MIM(Prisons) recognizes only three strands of oppression in the world today (nation, class and gender), able-bodiedness is a cause and consequence of class, and in countries with more leisure-time it is intimately tied up in the gender strand of oppression. This essay intends to analyze disability as it relates to class, gender, and the prison environment.
Disability and Class
In the United $tates the greatest source of persynal wealth is inheritance. It can be said the ability to create and maintain able-bodiedness may be inherited also. For the most part, class station is determined by birth. By virtue of to whom and where a persyn is born, their access, or lack thereof, to material resources is ascribed. The bourgeoisie and labor aristocracy have access to nutrition and healthcare the First World lumpen and international proletariat and peasantry do not. The likelihood of a positive health background renders the labor aristocracy and other bourgeois classes attractive prospects to potential employers, lenders, etc. This allows them to continue to enjoy nutrition and healthcare not common to the lumpen, proletariat, and peasantry.
It would be extremely uncommon to find a First World lumpen, an international proletarian, or a peasant with a membership to a health and fitness club. This privilege is reserved for the bourgeois classes, including the petty-bourgeoisie and its subclass the labor aristocracy. This, of course, further enhances the prospect of maintaining good health, and compounded with employer-supplied healthcare, does act as prophylaxis against the onset of debilitating and degenerative physical ailments.
It would be unreasonable to ignore the possibility that a member of the bourgeoisie might be genetically infirm, or a labor aristocrat debilitated by an accident. But, due to their class position, these classes are better prepared and equipped to minimize the adversities resulting from such an unfortunate occurrence.
Able-bodiedness may also affect upward class mobility. An able-bodied First World lumpen that can find employment might enter the ranks of the labor aristocracy. A blue collar labor aristocrat may be promoted to a managerial position, and so forth. Of course other factors, such as national background, do play a role in one's mobility (or stagnation for that matter), but disability also plays a significant role.
Disability and Gender
Gender only comes to the fore after life's essentials are secured, thereby standing out in relief on its own aside from class/nation. In the First World leisure-time plays a major role in gender analysis. MIM(Prisons) defines "gender" as:
"One of three strands of oppression, the other two being class and nation. Gender can be thought of as socially-defined attributes related to one's sex organs and physiology. Patriarchy has led to the splitting of society into an oppressed (wimmin) and oppressor gender (men).
"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. ... Older and disabled people as well as the very sick are at a disadvantage, not just at work but in leisure-time. ..." - MIM(Prisons) Glossary
This system of gender oppression is commonly referred to as "patriarchy," which MIM(Prisons) defines as:
"the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over wimmin and children in the family and the extension of male dominance over wimmin in society in general; it implies that men hold power in all the important institutions of society and that wimmin are deprived of access to such power."(1)
Professor bell hooks's description of patriarchy in eir work The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love has also contributed to this author's understanding of gender oppression:
"Patriarchy is a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females, and endowed with the right to dominate and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence."(2)
Professor hooks's definition of patriarchy not only recognizes terrorism as a patriarchal mechanism, but that patriarchal forces do not intend only to oppress, dominate, and subjugate females or even just females and children, but patriarchy's pathology is to hold down anything it regards as weaker than itself. Patriarchy is a bully.
Children are one of the most stigmatized and oppressed groups of people in the world. Patriarchal society considers children physically disabled due to their undeveloped bodies and therefore susceptible to patriarchal oppression — regardless of the biology of the child. This firmly places children in the gender oppressed stratum. Due to disabled people's diminished bodies (and/or cognizance), disabled people can be categorized similar to children subjected to patriarchy, ergo, disability falls into the gender oppression stratum as well as class.
Patriarchy and Prisons
U.$. prisons are, from top to bottom, patriarchal structures. Prisons are institutions where the police, the judiciary, and militarization have crystalized as paternalistic enforcer of bureaucracies of patriarchy; prisons, the system of political, social, cultural and economic restraint and control, are fundamentally patriarchal institutions implemented to enforce the status quo — including patriarchal domination. Disabled prisoners in Texas have long been labeled "broke dicks," illustrative of their "less-than-a-man" status in the prison pecking order.
There are laws mandating disabled prisoners not be precluded from recreational activities, or any other prison activity for that matter. Yet enforcement of these laws are prohibitively difficult for disabled prisoners, especially prisoners with vision or hearing disabilities, or cognitive impairments. The disabled have few advocates in bourgeois society; they have virtually none in prison.
The likelihood that prison officials discriminate against and abuse disabled prisoners is readily apparent. What is most disheartening is able-bodied prisoners are often the perpetrators of mistreatment against disabled prisoners, frequently at the behest of prison administrators so as to procure favorable treatment. In fact, the most telling aspect of the conditions of confinement imposed on disabled prisoners is the abuse of the disabled prisoners at the hands of able-bodied prisoners. The able-bodied prisoners are quick to manhandle and overrun disabled prisoners in obtaining essential prison services which are commonly inadequate and limited. When queued up for meals, showers, commissary, etc. the able-bodied prisoners will shove and elbow aside disabled prisoners; will threaten to assult disabled prisoners; and have in fact assaulted disabled prisoners should they complain or protest being accosted in such a fashion. All this invariably with the knowledge and/or before the very eyes of prison administrators and personnel.
It is far too common for the victims of sexual harassment and assault in prisons to be gay, transgendered, and/or disabled. Whether the perpetrator be prison officials or fellow prisoners, this practice is condoned by the culture of patriarchy and the hyper-masculine prison environment.
In the Prison Justice League's (PJL) report to the U.$. Department of Justice titled "Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Use of Excessive Force at Estelle Unit" the PJL outlined the routine and systematic abuse of disabled prisoners by prison personnel at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Regional Medical Facility for the Southern Region, Estelle Unit.(3) Prisoners assigned to the Estelle Unit per their disabilities are regularly and habitually denied medical treatment for their disabilities, ergo oftentimes exacerbating the causes and effects of the disabilities which brought them to Estelle initially; are denied auxiliary aids so as to accommodate their disabilities as required by law; are physically assaulted by prison administrators and staff, or their inmate henchmen; and with egregious frequency are murdered at the hands of state officials.
Since the PJL's report and subsequent Department of Justice investigation, there has been a bit of a detente in the abuse visited upon disabled Estelle prisoners by prison personnel. But the pigz are barely restrained. Threats of physical violence directed at disabled prisoners are still a regular daily occurrence, and prison personnel assaults on disabled prisoners are still far too common.
Another recent example of the persistent difficulties disabled prisoners face, even with the courts on their side, can be seen in the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) recent settlement negotiated with the Montana Department of Corrections (MDC), after it neglected to fulfill Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements from a 1995 settlement, Langford v. Bullock. In 2005, the ADA requirements were still not met, and despite the Circuit Court's order requiring Montana to comply with the 1995 settlement, it is not until 2017, and much advocacy later, that negotiations are being finalized between the ACLU and MDC. We can't dismantle systems of gender oppression one quarter-century-long lawsuit at a time. That's why MIM(Prisons) advocates for a complete overthrow of patriarchal capitalism-imperialism as soon as possible.
Another patriarchal aspect to be observed in prisons is ageism. As children are included in the gender-oppressed stratum, so should the aged. As the able-bodied prisoners' ability to work subsides due to age in the First World, especially in the United $tates where the welfare state is minuscule and the social safety net set very low, the propensity for a once able-bodied persyn to be relegated to the ranks of the lumpen is intensified. As the once able-bodied persyn becomes aged and disabled, their physical, as well as mental, health becomes more and more jeopardized, accelerating the degeneration of existing disabilities as well as increasing the likelihood of creating the onset of new ones (e.g. the First World lumpen are notorious for developing diabetes due to poor diet and lifestyle issues).
Disability as a Means of Castration
Holding people in locked cages is an acute form of social control. Solitary confinement creates long-lasting psychological damage. And prison conditions in general are designed (by omission) to create long-lasting physical damage to oppressed populations. Prisons are a tool of social control, and exacerbating/creating disabilities is a way prisons carry this through in a long-term and multi-generational fashion.
Prisoners, who are a majority lumpen population, are likely to already have unmet medical needs before entering prison, as described above in the section on class. Then when in prison, these medical needs are exacerbated because of the bad environment (toxic water, exposed asbestos, run down facilities, etc.); brutality from guards and fellow prisoners; poor medical care including untreated physical traumas, improper timing for medications (see article on diabetes), and just straight up neglect.
Mumia Abu-Jamal's battle to receive treatment for hepatitis C, which ey contracted from a tainted blood transfusion ey received after being shot by police in 1981, is a case in point. Mumia belongs to an oppressed nation, is conscious of this oppression, has fought against this oppression, and thus is last on the priority list for who the state of Pennsylvania will give resources to. And medical care under capitalism is sold to the highest bidder, with new drugs which are 90% effective in curing hepatitis C coming with a price tag of $1,000 per day. In a communist society these life-saving drugs will be free to all who need them.
Disability in the Anti-Imperialist Movement
The fact that people with disabilities will be treated better after we take down capitalism is obvious. Our stance on discrimination against people with disabilities in our society today is obvious. What is less obvious is the question of how we can incorporate people with disabilities into the anti-imperialist movement today, while we are so small and relatively weak compared to the enemy that surrounds us. This is an ongoing question for revolutionaries, who are always pushing themselves to be stronger, better, and more productive. After all, there is an urgency to our work.
Our militancy tends to be inherently ableist. With all the distractions and requirements of living in this bourgeois society, we have precious little time to devote to revolutionary work. We are always on the lookout for things and people that are holding us back and wasting our time, and we work diligently to weed these things and people from our lives and movement. Often when people aren't productive enough, due to mental or physical consequences of capitalism and national oppression, we can't do anything to help them — especially through the mail. No matter how sympathetic people are to our politics, and how much they want to contribute, we just don't have the resources to provide care that would help these folks give more to overthrowing imperialism. Often times all we can do is use these anecdotes to add fuel to our fire.
Disabilities amongst oppressed people are intentionally created by the state, and a natural consequence of capitalism. If we don't take any time to work with and around our allies' disabilities, then we are excluding a population of people who, like the introduction says above, are in the greatest need of a shift toward communism. We aim to have independent institutions of the oppressed which can help people overcome some of these barriers to political work. At this time, however, the state is doing more to weaken our movement in this regard than we are able to do to strengthen it.
[Of note, the primary author of this article has devoted eir life to revolutionary organizing in spite of being imprisoned and with multiple physical disabilities. Even though it is extremely difficult to contribute, it is possible!]
Title II The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), codified as Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 12131 (42 USC §12131, herein after §12131), applies to "any State or local government, any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or States or local government..." (§12131[A][B]). The ADA defines a "qualified individual with a disability [as] an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, the removal or architectural, communication, or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in program or activities provided by a public entity."(§12131).
Disabled prisoners in state facilities come under the auspices of ADA provisions.
"[S]tate prisons fall squarely within definition in 42 USCS §12131(1)(B), of 'public entity' subject to Title II, (2) text of ADA provides no basis for distinguishing recreational activities, medical services, and educational and vocational programs provided to prison inmates from 'services, programs, or activities' provided by other public entities ...[.] [T]itle II's definition of 'qualified individual with disability' [...] which refers to 'disability' requirements and 'participation' in programs, does not exclude prisoners."(Pennsylvania Department of Corrections v. Yeskey, 118 S.Ct. 1952)
In the landmark case Ball v. LeBlanc, 792 F.3d 584, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held: Under the ADA, Louisiana state prisoners on Angola's death row were to be considered disabled if:
"[They have] 'a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.' (42 U.S.C. § 12102[A]). The statute defines a major life activity in two ways. First, major life activities include, but are not limited to: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, thinking, communicating, and working.
"Second, a major life activity includes 'the operation of a major bodily function.' Such functions include, but are not limited to: the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, endocrine, and reproductive functions. The prisoners can prove themselves disabled if their ailments substantially limit either a major life activity or the operation of a major bodily function."(42 U.S.C. § 12102 [A][B])
The ADA requires prison officials to reasonably accommodate disabled prisoners in regard to all activities afforded able-bodied prisoners. "[D]eliberate refusal of prison officials to accommodate inmate's disability-related needs ([in] virtually all [ ] prison programs) constituted exclusion from participation in or denial of benefits of prison services, programs, or activities. '[P]ublic entity' under 42 USCS §12131(1) includes prisons."(United States v. Georgia, 126 S.Ct. 877; Loye v. County of Dakota, 625 F.3d 494)
Though the ADA bestows on disabled state prisoners the right to reasonably participate in all prison activities, probably of paramount importance to disabled prisoners is participation in requisite programs that must be attended per consideration for early release from prison to limited liberty on parole. The ADA ensures disabled prisoners access to these activities as well.(United States v. Georgia, supra.; Yeskey, supra.; Jaros v. Illinois Department of Corrections, 684 F.3d 667; Gorman v. Bartch, 152 F.3d 907; Paulone v. City of Frederick, 787 F.2d 360; Raines v. Florida, 983 F. Supp. 1362)
An organizational tactic that disabled prisoners might employ in combating discriminatory exclusion from prison programs, activities, and/or services, could be to pursue litigation as a class, or group, of plaintiffs pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) Rule #23. To identify as a class, disabled prisoners must establish "numerosity, commonality, and typicality."(Kerrigan v. Philadelphia Board of Elections, 248 FRD 470; Marcus v. Department of Revenue, 206 FRD 509)
In short, a contingent of disabled prisoners must convince the Federal court there is a significant number of "similarly situated" prisoners being denied their rights and entitlements guaranteed by the ADA, thereby identifying a class the court can certify as such.(Armstrong v. Schwarzenegger, 261 FRD 173) Once a class has been certified, any injunctive relief enforcing the ADA encompasses all prisoners identified as the class of prisoner plaintiffs.(Schwarzenegger, supra; Benjamin v. Department of Public Welfare, 807 F.Supp.2d 201)
Monetary damage awards can be obtained if the state actors are deliberately indifferent to prisoners' disability or if violations of the ADA are intentional.(United States v. Georgia, supra; Tennessee v. Lane, 124 S.Ct. 1978; Panzardi-Santiago v. University of Puerto Rico, 200 F.Supp.2d 1).
The ADA enjoins prison systems to provide disabled prisoners auxiliary or adaptive aid devices ensuring disabled prisoners are reasonably able to participate in prison programs, activities, and/or services. (Robertson v. Las Animas County Sheriff's Department, 500 F.3d 1185). This means if you are disabled or impaired as recognized per the provisions of the ADA, the state must provide you with implements and apparatus so as to assist you in participating in common daily and required programmatic activities.
In sum, to prevail on an ADA violation claim, a disabled state prisoner would submit to a Federal district court with jurisdiction a civil rights violation complaint pursuant to 42 USC §1983 (United States v. Georgia, supra) (a §1983 form can be obtained from the clerk in the district in which the civil suit is to be filed) citing §12131 as statutory provision authorizing the claim. In the complaint a prospective plaintiff must show they are a qualified person with a disability, they were excluded from participation in or denied benefits of a prison system's programs, activities, and/or services, and the exclusion and/or denial of benefits was due to the prisoner's disabilities.(United States v. Georgia, supra; Panzardi-Santiago, supra; Constantino v. Madden, 16 FLW Fed D 321)
Prison administrators are to be trained, and to train or to have trained prison officials and personnel that are to supervise and have contact with disabled prisoners.(Gorman, supra) Moreover, it is important disabled prisoners be aware non-medical prison officials can in no way supersede any medical directive affecting a prisoner's disability or accommodation thereof. (Chisolm v. McManimon, 275 F.3d 328; Beckford v. Irvin, 49 F. Supp. 2d 170; Saunders v. Horn, 959 F. Supp. 689; Arnold on Behalf of H.B. v. Lewis, 803 F. Supp. 246)
The above is a very brief and truncated overview of the ADA as it applies to state prisoners and should not be construed as a comprehensive examination of disability law as it pertains to prisoners. This article is no more than a primer meant to initiate disabled prisoners with their legal rights and remedies. If a disabled prisoner is experiencing abuse and discrimination at the hands of prison officials, the disabled prisoner should take it upon themselves to research pertinent precedents and authorities necessary in remedying the situation and pursue those via the various avenues of relief.
The U.S. Department of Justice provides a free 211 page booklet entitled "ADA Title II Regulations: Non-discrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services." The booklet can be had in large print, audiotape, Braille, and DVD. The booklet can also be provided in Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Or it could be, that is until the Jingoist xenophobe Trump took the imperialist helm. The DOJ can be contacted at:
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Sec.
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20530
There are a number of non-governmental organizations that assist disabled prisoners on a pro bono basis. The DOJ can provide contact information for disability rights advocates in your area.
Finally, the law library at your facility may have available for review the annotated version of §12131. This annotated edition of Title II of the ADA provides synoptic court rulings of the rights afforded disabled prisoners.
Very important is to document and keep records of all acts of disability discrimination and violations of the ADA — incidents, names, dates, witnesses, etc. This can best be accomplished via the administrative grievance procedure at your prison, while at the same time executing the required exhaustion of administrative remedies prior to filing suit.
In closing, it is my sincere desire that this overview proves to be of effective utility to those disabled prisoners facing the barbarous conditions of existence imposed on them by the enforcers of the carceral state.
To any able-bodied prisoners that may read this brief overview, I would remind you, an injury to one is an injury to all!
I'm writing from Arizona solitary confinement, aka SMU2, to let others know what is going on with the corrupt medical grievance process. Recently a memo was passed out that all medical grievances are now to be treated differently and go through Corizon staff, which is the contracted company that provides health treatment to Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC). This process consists of only 2 steps, which are an "informal resolution complaint" and then the "grievance." Both are to go through the Facility Health Administrator (FHA), which allows for no transparency nor checks and balances. Since this change in the grievance procedure, not one "informal resolution complaint" form has been replied to in accordance to ADC's Department Order #802 "Inmate Grievance System", that is set up to oversee this process.
So after the FHA does not respond, one has to move on to the grievance per this policy. The grievances are not delivered back for 1 to 2 months, and this only due to me writing to a CCO3 (counselor) to inquire about replies. The replies are pretty generic and consist of responses like "your complaint has been forwarded to..." "your complaint is substantiated..." etc. and that the grievance is resolved. Yet nothing is done and there is no type of appeal to this, so no other remedy can be sought as the process is exhausted here.
Before, the process wasn't much better but it would go through 4 steps as a way to oversee this process. I have sought remedy through this process on many occasions, so many as a matter of fact that I have actually had 2 meetings with the FHA. At the latest one, she personally resolved a grievance by renewing one of my prescriptions. Yet these prescriptions were not renewed and instead were allowed to expire without any type of tapering or alternative treatment in place. So I am at a loss as to what my next step is, as even when a grievance is granted it is not followed through on.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a couple of other law firms actually have a lawsuit on behalf of ADC prisoners named Parsons v. Ryan which is not even being adhered to, as the ACLU recently filed a motion showing that ADC was not in compliance with this lawsuit. Being that the suit is not for monetary compensation to the actual plaintiffs, being us, the ACLU gets their so-called expenses paid as well as the fine, which in this last case was a cool $2 million.
ADC would rather pay the fine than provide adequate health care as it is much cheaper to do so, and they will continue to do so because it will save them a ton of money! I have written the ACLU in Washington and the Arizona ACLU, as well as the Prison Law Office out of San Quentin who are the attorneys in charge of the lawsuit and all that they do is forward my informal grievances and HNRs to each other as well as shoot me one another's addresses for me to contact them. The replies are to grieve it, which I have, and the grievances were substantiated and granted yet I am here in my little cell without treatment as I write these very words.
Any ideas of what to do next would be greatly appreciated! I let the FHA know that this type of deliberate indifference and derelict of duty would not be allowed in any other type of medical treatment setting. Therefore why is it allowed here in SMU2? If anyone has suggestions on how to proceed please contact MIM(Prisons) for me, thank you.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer provides yet another good example of the failure of prison grievance systems as well as the courts. In this case Arizona has set up a system that just wastes prisoners' time while offering no accountability, even when grievances and Court Orders are granted.
It is for situations like this that the campaign to demand our grievances be addressed was initiated. We have a petition pertaining to Arizona State Prison that could be modified for this battle in solitary confinement. While these petitions don't often win the battles for us immediately, they help us build support by spreading the campaign to others and giving them specific actions they can take. At the same time we're all too well aware that prisons don't have an interest in addressing grievances. Anything that costs more money or requires more services, or that forces COs to treat prisoners with respect and dignity, is going to be a hard battle. The criminal injustice system is set up to do the opposite, and so we will have to fight for each right. Write to us to get a copy of the Arizona petition to modify for this battle.
While grievances and courts fail, we learn the same lesson over and over again — that legal battles will not get us where we need to be, to a world without oppression. Court cases and grievance campaigns sometimes win some victories, that is true. But for long-lasting change we really need to organize with each other, build unity, educate and struggle together to force change. We hope this correspondent will take this failure of the courts as inspiration to try a different method of resolution.
The Nevada Council for the United Struggle from Within (USW) is putting the call out for prisoners at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) to end all the hostilities, and to join together in the ongoing grievance campaign and ultimately the mass 1983 civil complaint campaign, that is now underway at HDSP.
The conditions of confinement at HDSP must be challenged. Over the years, our constant infighting has distracted us while our conditions of confinement have gotten progressively worse. We are now faced with a situation where we remain confined to our cells up to 22-24 hours a day, are not given proper cleaning supplies, are denied the use of our toilets, are housed with those who should be being treated for their mental illnesses rather than being overly medicated, etc.
This campaign has already begun, with many individuals having filed grievances, while the final stage of filing a civil complaint is already under way. Our main focus is and must be the lack of programs, education, and work abilities which deny prisoners housed at HDSP the credits which shorten their sentences.
We are in the position that we are in because our national groups have failed to be properly mobilized around an internationalist class consciousness. We have focused on individualistic issues. We as prisoners have allowed this to happen to ourselves. With each new restriction imposed, no action or protest was organized. We are as much to blame as anyone else. Without organized opposition, the administrators have reached new heights of repression and disregard of our needs.
But the United Struggle from Within Nevada Council has taken steps to organize this grievance campaign. We are calling on all nations within the walls of HDSP; PC, GP or otherwise, put aside your differences and conflicts. We are not enemies. We are allies, and share a common interest in fighting back against what we are faced with every day.
So, we are putting out the call. Let's stop all hostilities and join together in raising our voices as one and demanding that we be treated as humans.
Comrades within the USW in Nevada have already united with a few nations in this struggle. There are already over 30 grievances filed! Change will occur, but only if each of us do our part to fight back.
To aid you in this struggle, we have compiled examples of the grievances that have been filed. The examples cover all three grievance levels. We are also writing up an example civil complaint, which can be utilized to challenge the NDOC in court.
If you want change, fight for it. Join our campaign. Stop all hostilities, and pick up the pen!
MIM(Prisons) adds: Nevada was where the first September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity originated in 2012. It's good to see comrades in Nevada keeping it moving. Any prisoners of the state of Nevada can write us for a copy of the example grievances.
When it comes to unification in prisons, there is one topic that needs to be addressed: discrimination. For some reason, prisoners have a tendency to discriminate against other prisoners for a plethora of reasons. Race, color, creed, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are just a few. The one I would like to discuss here is sexual orientation.
I use the word "orientation" instead of "preference" because this is a unique situation in prison. So many times people become homosexual in this environment out of necessity, or force, rather than by choice. Unfortunately, the prison systems in this country are disproportionately black, and this largely contributes to the large number of whites who fall prey to and are trapped in the prison sex slave industry. Some do it for protection and security, and some are just bullied and coerced into it. For many it's just a means of survival.
The drug trade is also thriving in the prison environment, which is another trap for those who struggle with addiction issues. They are able to support their habits by exchanging sexual favors for a "fix." In addition, the drug dealers are able to get their hands on female hormones such as estrogen, which they dose their sex slaves up with. These drugs can have long-term, even life-long effects which increases a lot of the guys' sense of worthlessness.
Many times, the reason that white prisoners are abused this way is due to black prisoners' desire to retaliate against the predominantly white-run system that has oppressed and persecuted them throughout their life. While this desire is certainly understandable, their attacks are misdirected. We shouldn't discriminate against anyone for any reason because, as prisoners, we are all ultimately in the same situation. We should struggle together toward the same goal.
There are definitely people in prison who elect to practice homosexuality out of their own free will. We shouldn't exclude them as comrades either. We must all unite and fight the system that has taken everything away from us.
Let's put our differences aside, regardless of what they are, and let's stand united as equal partners and bring this tyranny to an end. We're all human beings and none of us are better than the rest. It's time that we realize that and stop judging and classifying each other. Let's focus our energy on the proper target: Imperialism and the Prison Industrial Complex. United we stand, divided we fall!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This is an excellent reminder of the importance of fighting against gender oppression within prisons. This comrade is right on that we need unity, and we must fight the use of sex to coerce, punish, or just overpower others. We don't care if people are straight or gay or any other form of queer, as long as they are on the side of anti-imperialism and building unity rather than division.
While the U.S. Department of Justice affirms this writer's assertion that many victims of sexual assault are white (and numbers are even higher for people who are "two or more races"), we don't have access to data on the national background of perpetrators.(1) Even if it is true most perpetrators are New Afrikan, we also can't conclude whether this would be because of a psychological desire for retribution, or simply a statistical likelihood because so many prisoners are New Afrikan in the first place.
To push the fight against rape in prison forward, we have the example of Men Against Sexism (MAS), a prisoner organization in the 1970s that fought sexual assault, providing protection for vulnerable prisoners and attacking the culture of sexism. Ultimately MAS had a significant positive impact at Washington State Prison which in turn impacted prisons across the state. MAS demonstrated the potential power of conscious prisoners coming together for an important cause.(2)
The USW-NV study group spent much time discussing the topic of gender, sexuality, and what our position on it must be. This discussion came about because a comrade heard SCO Franco and another officer discussing two trans women that live in another pod. SCO Franco, with a number of racial and homophobic slurs, stated that he was looking for a reason to write them up because "no fag would be on my tier prostituting themselves unless I am getting something." These pigs were making a big joke out of it. This comrade spoke up, and as a consequence his cell was searched, and he lost some items.
We have determined, through our discussions, that gender is more than simply genetic. It is not a matter of choice, nor can one be "cured" of homosexuality. We are born who we are, and any person or institution that challenges this must be struggled against.
Based upon this and many other discussions, we have reached out to the LGBTQ community both within the Nevada DOC, and the greater community, in an attempt to build solidarity, and show them that they are not alone.
The LGBTQ community, especially within prison, is a very preyed-upon community. Inmates avoid them, assault them, or simply exploit them, while the pigs ignore them. Within prisons, members of the LGBTQ community have lost any identity, and instead have become "them," "fags," or "MOs." This is unacceptable. As such, we have taken an active role in promoting a call for the organization of the LGBTQ community into statewide groups. This call was put out by a great LGBTQ group called Black and Pink.
We have aided in the formation of a NV LGBTQ group, have and will continue to associate with them openly to show our solidarity, and will, if the need arises, defend this group or its members, in whatever ways needed. Be it from the pigs, or other inmates.
We call on all to follow, stand up against all forms of oppression, exploitation and hatred. Contact Black and Pink and show your support, and reach out to the LGBTQ community at your prison. Stand with them, help them organize, and join our United Struggle from Within.
Black and Pink is an LGBTQ organization that publishes a monthly newsletter, and helps those members of the LGBTQ community who are incarcerated. The NV-USW has reached out to them in hopes of starting an open chain of communication. We have not heard back as of yet, but please contact them and call on them to join the United Struggle from Within. You can contact them at Black and Pink National Office, 614 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, MA 02125
I'm responding in regards to ScHoolboy Q of the Hoover Crips in Los Angeles mentioned in Under Lock & Key 56. I'm a real 74 St Hoover Crip from the 70-99, with the real 83 St Hoover Crips, 92 St Hoover Crips and what is now known as 52 St Hoover Crips. This ScHoolboy Q is living off the fame of something he knows nothing about. He can not tell you about the struggle or how the Hoover Groover became the Hoover Crips or why the Crip culture of the 2 years are so disrespected by the neighborhoods they claim to be from. Let's not put rap and money into the struggle. The quote is Crips don't die, they multiply. That is the correct wording of the Crip saying. The stuff these rappers are saying take away from the true street life of Crips and the struggle to free the hoods they live in or the cop culture they had to fight with each day. Please let's stay with facts when referencing the struggle. He ain't kill no one, has not been shot, or has he shot anyone? He knows nothing about Hoover and that a fact.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We always welcome our readers assistance in staying with the facts. The mention of the Crips in that review was meant to highlight the connection to a positive New Afrikan struggle. In doing so we reinforced ScHoolboy Q's self-identity as a Crip, something we cannot speak to. We can observe that today he's making news for calling out United Airlines for putting his little dog on the wrong connecting flight, while real Crips are doing long bids in cages.
Being a "real Crip" in itself is full of contradictions. A lot of senseless loss of life has occurred in neighborhoods like the one this comrade came from. But we do respect the voices of the OGs that lived that struggle and are allies to the anti-imperialist struggle. It's no coincidence that we see many who come from that life pledging their lives to the people. The worst criminals kill thousands around the globe and never express any remorse.
In the past we spent a good amount of time trying to work with some comrades to document that history for a book on the lumpen that was never completed. But we still welcome the stories from comrades like the one above, that will allow others to learn from the history and evolution of lumpen organizations in this country. The Crips are an interesting phenomenon as they are known internationally, and the name is repped by many who read our newsletter who do not know the history and struggle this comrade speaks to. It is a true cultural heritage of the New Afrikan lumpen in Los Angeles, the good and the bad. We hope that comrades from that culture can use it for good.
In 1492, the European colonization of Turtle Island, which they'd call the Americas, began with the voyage of Christopher Columbus, in command of the Niña, Pinta, and the Santa Maria. This recon expedition arrived in the Caribbean and landed on the island of present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which they named Hispaniola. In 1492, Columbus returned with a second, larger force, comprised of 17 ships and 1,200 soldiers, sailors, and colonists.
By 1535, Spanish conquistadors had launched military operations into Mexico, Central America, and Peru. Using guns, armor, and metal-edged weapons as well as horses, siege catapults, war dogs, and biological warfare, the Spanish left a trail of destruction, massacres, torture and rape. Tens of millions of indigenous peoples were killed within the first century. The Mexica (or Aztec) alone were reduced from 25-million to just 3-million. Everywhere the death rate was between 90-95% of the population.
For all native Americans, the coming of Europeans to the New World marked the beginning of a long, drawn-out disaster. Their cannons and rifles gave them the ultimate power to inflict their will on the indigenous people. Even as they learned from the indigenous people how to survive in their new environment, Europeans saw their own way of life as the only "true" civilization. Indeed, so powerful did the notion of European superiority become that today they celebrate the "Discovery" of the New World by European explorers. Too often, we forget that what happened in 1492 was not the discovery of a New World but the establishment of contact between two worlds, both already old.
Was the European, or "Western" way of life really superior? This question remains a subject of stormy controversy throughout the world. Much of the resentment against Europeans and North Amerikans expressed by people in the Muslim world, for example, is based on the history of invasion, conquest, and domination by Western powers, a subject to which our RAZA and ALL indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere are familiar. European invasion and settlement spelled the doom of indigenous societies.
Amerikkka has always been a hegemony, a term which refers to dominance or undue power or influence. A hegemonic culture is one that dominates other cultures, just as a hegemonic society is one that exerts undue power over another society.(Gramsci, 1992/1965, 1995)
A classic study of the emergence of an ideology was Max Weber's analysis of the link between Protestantism and Capitalism, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1974/1904). Weber noticed that the rise of Protestantism in Europe coincided with the rise of private enterprise, banking, and other aspects of capitalism. Weber hypothesized that their religious values taught them that salvation depended not on good deeds or piety but on how they lived their entire lives and particularly on how well they adhered to the norms of their "callings" (occupations).
The most important norms in Western civilizations are taught as absolutes. The Ten Commandments for example, are absolutes: "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shalt not steal," and so on. UNFORTUNATELY, people do not always extend those norms to members of another culture. For example, the same "explorers" who swore to bring the values of Western civilization (including the Ten Commandments) to the New World thought nothing of taking Indians' land by force. Queen Elizabeth I of England could authorize agents like Sir Walter Raleigh to seize remote "heathen and barbarous" lands without viewing this act as a violation of the strongest norms of her own society.(Jennings, 1975; Snipp, 1991) Protest by the indigenous people often resulted in violent death. But the murder of indigenous people and the theft of their land were rationalized by the notion that the indigenous people were inferior people who would ultimately benefit from European influence (the same ideology that justifies in their minds the wholesale murder of our Raza throughout the barrios of Aztlán by the police). In the ideology of the conquest and colonial rule, the Ten Commandments DID NOT APPLY (then or now).
So when you hear Trump making statements like, "Make Amerikkka Great Again!", make no mistake about it, what he is in fact saying is, "Make Amerikkka White Again!"
So in commemorating the Plan de San Diego, when asked the question, "What's this gotta do with me?" "Everything you're talking about happened a long time ago." RAZA, it has everything to do with YOU! It's time for the sleeping Giant to WAKE-UP! And say YA-BASTA! We have a rendezvous with destiny!
In this New Katun! This is OUR SIXTH SUN! As [email protected] growing up in occupied Aztlán. This is why [email protected] and Raza are discriminated against, marginalized and imprisoned at higher rates than Amerikkkans.
We must build for the Reunification and Liberation of Aztlán!!!
We have been plagued with this Amerikkkan disease LONG ENOUGH!!!
VIVA LA CAUSA VIVA LA RECONQUISTA!!!
MIM(Prisons) adds: By the time this issue of Under Lock & Key hits the cell blocks across the United $tates, August will be upon us. In addition to the 38th annual Black August, commemorating the New Afrikan prison struggle, this August we mark the beginning of a campaign to commemorate the Plan de San Diego. This Plan called for a united front of oppressed nations living on occupied Turtle Island to take up arms against the settlers and reclaim land for the oppressed. If you haven't already, write to MIM(Prisons) to get Plan de San Diego fliers to distribute. The flier calls on [email protected] comrades to study, build with others, write articles, make art and develop [email protected] consciousness inside prison.
The building of consciousness and unity this August should lead up to the 9th of September when all prisoners are encouraged to mark the United Front for Peace in Prisons Day of Peace and Solidarity. Last year, September 9 was marked with many actions across U.$. prisons to commemorate the Attica uprising. Let's build on that momentum! Keep us updated by sending in your reports on what you achieved during Black August, Commemoration the Plan de San Diego and on the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity.
For diabetic prisoners, prisons can perform up to 5 fingersticks and insulin administrations per day. A problem is some prisons have blanket policies of only 2 fingersticks and insulin administrations per day, and diabetics are frequently and indiscriminately transferred out to these prisons even though more than 2 fingersticks/insulin administrations per day are necessary to adequatly control their diabetes.
I think the medical treatises, and the other sources cited in the enclosed hand copy of the grievance I have recently filed at my prison will enable diabetic prisoners, as well as prison administrators who are not medical professionals (i.e. the warden, etc.), to recognize when a 2-fingerstick policy is an inadequate regime of treatment.
I also think the illustration of how diabetes and extremely elevated glucose levels harms the body (as evidenced by levels over 300 points, and the accompanying signs and symptoms of elevated glucose) is enough of a showing of physical injury to satisfy the Prisoners' Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA's) "physical injury" requirement necessary to allow a prisoner afflicted by this type of policy to recover additional damages for mental and emotional injury (42 U.S.C.A. Section 1997e(e)).
I am requesting you publish this information so that other prisoners throughout the country will know when their care is lacking and how to pursue proper treatment, through litigation if necessary.
Description of Incident
I am an insulin-dependent diabetic. Lunch is served for diabetics at 12:45 - 13:15 hrs. This is according to the Building Schedule. Like most other diabetics who require 70/30 type insulin, this schedule is too far outside the time frame my pre-breakfast injection of insulin works to lower my lunchtime glucose (by fingerstick at 17:00-18:30 hrs Diabetic Clinic). This is evidenced by the extremely elevated pre-supper glucose level in the 300s, 400s, and 500s. To prevent this, at all the other prisons I've been served lunch from 10:45-11:50 hrs. This is closer to the window period 70/30 insulin is effective to lower lunchtime glucose within. This was evidenced by a lowered pre-supper-time glucose level in the 200s, 100s, and below 100 points. (70/30 insulin is 70% intermediate-acting insulin and 30% short-acting insulin.)
I wrote a grievance on this problem, using information from the Prisoners Diabetes Handbook distributed by Southern Poverty Law Center, and Diabetes Solution by Jorge E. Rodriguez, M.D. On 28 December 2016 Counselor Johnson proofread my grievance for technical compliance before accepting it for processing. I will keep your staff at MIM(Prisons) informed of further developments regarding this.
I also included in my grievance the following information so prison staff can understand the time frames insulin works within. There are 3 characteristics of insulin: onset (when the insulin starts to work), peaks (when the insulin is working the hardest), and duration (how long the insulin works for). The 70/30-type insulin I require is a mixture of 70% intermediate-acting insulin and 30% short-acting insulin. If you take short-acting (regular) insulin, and intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin, you need to eat on time by matching your meals to your insulin injections, so your insulin is peaking at the same time your glucose from your meals is peaking. Here are the time frames of 70/30 insulin:
Onset after injection
about 30 minutes
2-3 hours later
about 2-4 hours
4-10 hours later
*Note: Actual time frames for performance can vary based on each person's own individual response to insulin.
For me, as for many of the other diabetics who require 70/30 insulin, regular peaks about 3 hours after injection. (This is also the same time my glucose from meals is also peaking.) The NPH component peaks about 5-6 hours after injection. This was about the same time all the other prisons I've been to serve lunch. This was an adequate enough time frame to allow the insulin to lower my lunchtime glucose, measured by fingerstick at suppertime. But here at Riverbed Correctional Facility (RCF) lunch is served too far outside the peak performance cycle to lower my glucose at supper time.
The following information is from Diabetes Solution by Jorge E. Rodriguez, M.D., and my past conversations with diabetes specialists and educators, including this prison's own diabetes education facilitator, Registered Nurse Colin.
When you eat, food is broken down to the blood sugar, called glucose, which then enters the bloodstream where cells use it as food for energy. This process is called glucose-cell metabolism, and it can not occur without the hormone insulin. Insulin is made in the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas either doesn't make any insulin, doesn't make enough insulin, or for other reasons the body cannot use its own insulin properly. When this happens glucose starts building up in the blood instead. Diabetes is defined as a fasting glucose level over 125 points, or a random glucose level over 200 points.
Diabetes harms the body in the following way: A glucose molecule looks like a ball made of many sharp points. In high levels the points become abrasive which damages the insides of the veins of the cardiovascular system, kidneys, eyes, etc., causing heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, etc. When glucose becomes this dangerously elevated, the body will attempt to pass it off in the urinary tract. A sign of this is frequent urination. Other symptoms of glucose having become this high are blurry vision, extreme hunger right after eating, dry mouth, thirst, etc. This is happening to me right after lunch at this prison. These symptoms persist until my next shot of insulin begins peaking, 3 hours after supper time insulin administration. A sign I am suffering kidney damage is I can feel my kidneys since I've come to this prison.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer is setting a good example for others of sharing knowledge and work ey is doing to help others. Individual medical battles like this one are important for the survival of the individual, and we can make the impact much broader by writing up our successes and failures, documenting information needed by others, and building a movement capable of saving lives while organizing to ultimately dismantle this system of dangerous oppressive criminal injustice.
Recently, comrades held in Administrative Segregation Units (ASU) at Folsom State Prison stepped up the battle against long-term isolation. On 25 May they began a hunger strike to protest the extreme social isolation faced there. ASU is just one more form of control unit, or long-term isolation in California prisons. At Folsom prisoners protested the lack of TVs, pull up bars, education, and social and rehabilitative programs. Outside supporters held a rally in Sacramento.
CDCR responded to the strike by transferring a number of perceived leaders of this campaign a few days in. On 19 June 2017 the strike was suspended.(1) But comrades remain steadfast and call on anyone in an ASU in California to file 602 grievances if they are facing similar conditions of extreme isolation to continue to push this campaign forward.
The various categorizations of long-term isolation units in California are a legal loophole that limited the scope of recent reforms related to Security Housing Units at Pelican Bay, which were already weak to begin with.(2) Meanwhile, at Pelican Bay on 24 May 2017 a fight between prisoners and guards was reported that ended with guards shooting five prisoners.(3) We do not have updated information on their conditions.
"In order to guarantee that our party and country do not change their color, we must not only have a correct line and correct policies, but must train and bring up millions of successors who will carry on the cause of proletarian revolution." - Chairpersyn Mao Zedong
As we march upon 40 years of commemorating our Black August Memorial (B.A.M.), we recognize the historical origins of what this construct was founded upon, honoring our fallen comrades, i.e. George Jackson, W.L. Nolen, Joka Khatari Gaulden, Cleveland Edwards, Alvin "Sweet Jugs" Miller, and countless others, who were all murdered by this fascist police state, while fighting and resisting the social system of U.$. capitalism and its lackeys.
It would be easy for us to press forward and begin our collective fast, studies, and exercises come Black August 1st, as has been the case for the past 38 years!! So, the question becomes: "What have we learnt over this period?" And "What actions are we prepared to commit ourselves to, in relation to the contradictions that we've identified?" It is no secret, that our New Afrikan communities (N.A.C.) and thus, our New Afrikan Nation (N.A.N.) remains in a "state of emergency," while suffering from a litany of systemic social ills, such as: poverty, addiction, illiteracy, gang violence, tribalism, homeboyism, homelessness, pig brutality & corruption, Liberalism, egotism, inadequate health care, political immaturity, etc.
After being exiled in the state of California's notorious domestic torture chamber (Pelican Bay State Prison's Security Housing Unit) for the past 21 years (1994 to 2015), I've now been able to observe, examine, and study the aforementioned contradictions first hand, for the past 20 months! It is no question that we have our work cut out for us, and I'm confident that the fruits of our labor will begin to harvest the desired revolutionary consciousness amongst our people, as a qualitative negation of the false consciousness that has taken root in our New Afrikan Nation (N.A.N.).
Therefore, it is imperative to remind our people that Black August is a protracted struggle, that must be waged politically, socially, culturally, economically, and militarily 365 days of the year! And not just the 31 days that many unfortunately ascribe to. Our fallen comrades, have provided us with the correct line to march upon, via the fierce, defiant, and daunting struggle, by refusing to capitulate, submit, or surrender to the unrighteous decadent, and exploitative ways of U.$. Capitalism, which is the enemy of all oppressed people!!
In order for the true potential of Black August Resistance (B.A.R.) to be realized as a protracted struggle, 365 days of the year, we must recognize that our efforts will remain stagnant if we fail to develop cadres and equip them with the necessary tools. Tools that will enable comrades to be successful, by keeping the politics of Black August in command, in re-building our New Afrikan nation.
Meaning, we must set forth the course of a complete adherence to the standard of living that Black August entails, per the values, morals, customs, principles, etc. that are inherent in its construct. We cannot afford to waiver from this practice, if we proclaim to be serious about feeding, clothing, and housing the people, while pursuing the course of total liberation from U.$. capitalism!!
I've developed the W.L. Nolen Mentorship Program (W.L.N.M.P.) not only as a tribute to the legacy of our fallen comrade W.L. Nolen, but to also build upon the revolutionary principles that the comrade stood upon and died for! These revolutionary principles are the essence of Black August Resistance (B.A.R.)! And so, we invite all to join us in struggle, by contacting:
Attn: W.L. Nolen Mentorship Program
c/o John S. Dolley, Jr.,
P.O. Box 7907, Austin, Texas 78713
FREEDOM IS A CONSTANT STRUGGLE!!!
MIM(Prisons) adds: The W.L. Nolen Mentorship Program has been held back for a few years by censorship by the California Department of Corrections and "Rehabilitation." A battle MIM(Prisons) provided support for. We hear that the persistence of the comrades behind bars initiating this program has paid off and things are operational at the address above.
We are soliciting articles and artwork on the topic of prisoners engaging with organizing on the streets for ULK 58. This program is an excellent example of that. The WLNMP is primarily focused on linking people in the community with New Afrikan Revolutionaries behind bars to discuss issues of political struggle while meeting of the needs of everyday life. The comrades behind this project are proven leaders who have much to offer as mentors. We wish them success with this program.
by a California prisoner July 2017 permalinkRevolutionary Greetings,
I just recently received ULK 56. To get straight to the point, you asked to help you do a "survey," on the drug culture in the prison we're at. Wow! Are you serious? Really! I know you are aware that 1st, the cops or C/Os read the letters and studies we send to you. Are you asking us to work with the K-9 to inform the administration on that issue? Cause that's what i'm getting from this. I am definitely not going to do that survey. Would you please inform me on why you are asking us to do that?
Another imprisoned comrade wrote to us with a similar concern: "Look I'm all for trying to fix things in the prisons but I'm not with exposing certain things that goes on within the system as far as how certain convicts take care of themselves. No coubt it's prisoners getting drugs in these institutions and how they getting them I won't be the one to expose it, that's snitching at its highest level and people get seriously hurt for things like that. So that article kinda threw me off."
We are asking those questions to investigate a problem that comrades bring up over and over. As Maoists we attempt to apply the method of "from the masses to the masses." The drug survey came about because we have been hearing from comrades across the country that the people around them are consumed by drugs or are more concerned with selling drugs than fighting for their own dignity and rights. With that in mind we drafted the series of questions in an attempt to survey the facts on the ground around this problem. Perhaps they are not the most useful questions, and comrades can send us suggestions for improving them. But we were conscious about how we worded them because we knew it could be sensitive to answer certain questions on this topic. We think all the questions can be answered in a general way that does not incriminate anyone, or give out information that is sensitive. From the answers we have received so far we think that’s proven true. We imagine none of the info we’ve received is news to the prison staff.
However, the point both of these writers make is a good one. No one should be filling out that survey with information that the pigs don't have already. And at the very least we should have printed a warning about not giving any information that could get you or anyone else in trouble. We are printing this letter in this issue of Under Lock & Key to both serve as a warning and to remind comrades that we are still interested in this information. We will be summing it up in a future report in ULK. Anyone who feels there is a risk to responding to the survey should not do so.
In addition, we welcome general feedback on the topic, on the survey, or articles on the topic as well. All of this is with the goal of exploring ways to resolve or at least address this contradiction that poses a problem to those organizing for positive change on the inside.
10 July 2017 - CA Prisoner responds: Thank you for your most diplomatic and well-received response about my concerns about the drug survey. Granted there is a problem with drugs in prison. Some institutions more than others. Where i'm at, here in SATF, Corcoran, CA, the administration recently installed an x-ray machine in visiting to curtail the introduction of drugs coming in. It worked. Drugs here are practically non-existent. Works for them and people who have a substance abuse problem. Not so much for the people who are, or were rather, trying to feed themselves and their families. This facility is a substance abuse "treatment" facility. I'm sure the federal government gives them extra funding for that title alone. Thank you for clarifying why you are doing the survey on drugs in prison. ... My sincerest apologies if I was "over the top" with my critique, although I know you do understand my concerns.
In the first ULK I read (ULK 49 - Survival and Stamina), I read "Shun TV, Be Humble, and Check Security," by a California comrade. It was great to know there were others with my same thoughts about the stupid box. There are multiple reasons the "babysitter" is encouraged by authorities, likewise why you should be more than cautious about getting attached to one. Let's go straight to the pros (not for us captives) for authorities and administrators of DOCs everywhere.
Babysitters are "incentives," but not in the normal sense. Instead of being incentives (read: prizes) to earn through excellent behavior, it's used as an incentive to lose through defiance. Pay attention, this is more than just a simple play on words. In the former, you may by your own will (read: volition or choice) decide it in your best interests to excel as a "model" prisoner in order to earn the incentive. This would be a choice exercised through your own judgment. In the second predicament is where 95% of prisoners find themselves.
In the latter, babysitters are used as coercion. Here's the reality: the authorities establish rules and norms of expected behaviors. Break any rule, or fail to meet an expected norm, and the babysitter won't be there when you get "home." Their message is clear: do as we say, behave as we say, or sit in a cell with your thoughts and yourself (if you don't have a celly). To me it doesn't seem like much of a threat, but I'm the odd man out. I've been in and out of Ad-Seg, or whatever is the en vogue term now, since 2012, and have always preferred to read, study and grow. The majority of us are so caught up in consumerism and what I call "reality avoidance," that the threat of no canteen (commissary, special packages) or no babysitter (TV) is effective to smother defiance (outside of extreme circumstances) and gain compliance.
Over decades prison officials have figured out how to condition prisoners to cherish things of no importance. A lot of hombres just want to watch Castle, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, or whatever, eat their food, exercise when they have homies on their case, and be left to themselves. This is the overwhelming majority mentality here in RH-Max (formerly Ad-Seg). Why is this? Simply because nobody's taken the time to explain the dynamics. In theory we all know what babysitters are used for. In practice, how many internalize this knowledge?
As long as authorities can say "here's a TV, sit down, shut up and don't make us do our job" then we've failed, because the authorities have rocked us to sleep with something stronger than a lullaby. With TV and being "left alone," we are content enough to fight amongst ourselves instead of the puercos. As long as a babysitter can sedate us, the puercos are complacent and can run their program as they see fit. I don't know about you, but I'm not down for catering to the puercos' agenda.
MIM(Prisons) responds: You don't have to sit in your cell alone with your thoughts and nothing to do. Pushing this comrade's observations further, we call on everyone to get involved in the MIM(Prisons) political study group. Or trade some labor for books to study. Make use of your time, like this writer, to read, study and grow. Write to us today to join the next introductory study group.
Recently I was front driver on a battle for education for another inmate. The prison industrial complex had him in a kitchen job at 17 cents an hour. He has been begging for GED for some time now, only to be told no and continue to work for private corporation Aramark in the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC).
I recently wrote the commissioner for the Department of Education in Tennessee, which has zero to do with TDOC. I told her how many are being denied programming and education. How is one supposed to better him/herself without an education? I said "what social interest is served by prisoners who remain illiterate? What social benefit is there in ignorance? How are people corrected while imprisoned if their education is outlawed? Who profits other than the prison industrial complex itself from stupid prisoners?" The recidivism rate for Tennessee is 55% for/in 3 years. 55% will return to prison. That's fact. And at $64.21 per day, you tell me who profits! Not the innocent women and children who the burden falls on when you get arrested and locked up again.
MIM(Prisons) responds: These are the right questions to raise: who really is benefiting from locking up so many people and then offering no services to help these people gain education and work skills, or address problems that make it hard for them to live outside of prison?
Ultimately we don't see any profit coming out of the actual locking up of people: it's a net money-losing enterprise paid for by the government (i.e. by U.$. taxpayers). But certainly there are lots of businesses and individuals working in the criminal injustice system who are making lots of money off this system and who have a material interest in perpetuating it. However, these people aren't the main ones driving the creation, expansion or continuation of prisons, which we've analyzed in depth in past articles. The government, who is allotting so much money to prisons, is using them for the goal of social control, particularly targeting oppressed nations within U.$. borders.
Clearly the whole criminal injustice system needs to be dismantled. But in the short term it is folks like this writer, helping out fellow prisoners, who are doing the ground work to build a united movement strong enough to win the smaller battles today and the bigger battle tomorrow.
About two years ago the Third Circuit Court of New Jersey ruled that the Security Investigation Division (SID) could not keep prisoners inside of Management Control Units (MCU) without a way to get out of the unit. And now, two years after this ruling, New Jersey SID has found a new tactic for keeping prisoners in MCU.
A quick summary of what MCU is, for those who do not know. MCU is 4 special housing units meant for high security prisoners in New Jersey. These are generally high-level gang members, with vast networks and influence, cop killers or people who killed people in prison, escape artists, radical prisoners, etc.
A prisoner in MCU cannot go to the law library; he has to write a request slip and await for someone to come see him. He cannot be in contact with other General Population (GP) prisoners. His visits are much more restricted. You can't get college courses or other things that GP could get. And you have no movement.
SID had been keeping some prisoners back in MCU for 10, 20, and even over 30 years! Sometimes more! But as said above the Third Circuit Court ruled this unconstitutional and ordered these prisoners released.
After this ruling, prisoners were shipped all around the country and often put in the same conditions in the new states they were placed in. And since then SID has found a new tactic to fill MCU back up again, by placing high level prisoners that go to Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg) for any infraction, no matter how minor, on an MCU tier for Ad-Seg. And when their Ad-Seg time is up SID places them on Involuntary Protective Custody (IPC). And the reason they cite is rival gang threats.
SID has done this now to about 20 people and this new tactic is spreading rapidly. Grievances, writeups, complaints, and inquiries have all gone nowhere. New efforts now must be taken in the courts to address this which may take years, and will be much harder now that SID can argue that they are doing it for the safety of prisoners.
MIM(Prisons) responds: New Jersey is following in the footsteps of other state DOCs that have lost court battles regarding long-term isolation of prisoners, only to come up with new work-arounds to lock up people in long-term segregation. It is important that we continue to expose the torture by control units, be they called MCU, Ad-Seg, SHU, IPC or by any other name. There is no justification for long-term isolation, regardless a prisoner's conviction, conflicts behind bars, lumpen organization history, or escape attempts. Torture is inhumane and can not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Our campaign to shut down prison control units has been going on for many years, and unfortunately it is no closer to victory than it was when we initiated the campaign. As long as prisons are a tool for social control for the imperialist state we're unlikely to win this campaign overall. But sometimes battles are won in court, which both help to expose the isolation as torture and help provide relief to some prisoners.
I'm writing you this letter in regards to trying to build peace and unity between the prisoners here at Gulf Annex. Same thing the guards don't want to happen here because there is power in numbers. I represent Growth & Development and recently one of my brothers had gotten into a fight with a Muslim over a petty issue. As we met up to find out what was the problem and try to work things out peacefully the guards broke up our little circle making comments like "you pick them I spray them." Sad to say we all laid down and went to our dorms.
Luckily we came to agreement to peace treaty, but if the pigs had it their way they'd be happy if we just killed each other. Sorry to say Florida prisons are probably the worst in the country when it comes to unity. Prisoners are quick to jump on each other over nothing, but won't stand up when they witness fellow prisoners being beaten, messed up, while in handcuffs.
ULK and have been passing them around. I have been trying to pass them to those who want to educate others, but I can only reach so many with issues I have. So I'm urging prisoners around the compound to subscribe to ULK so we can reach more prisoners in other dorms. Over the next couple of weeks you will be hearing from those wishing to have their own subscription. It's time for a change in Florida prisons and educating ourselves through MIM(Prisons) and ULK could be the start of something that will unite us. Now a couple of my brothers say they've wrote MIM but yet to receive a subscription. It can't be the pigs because I've received everything y'all ever sent me. So if anybody writes please send them a subscription.
On June 13, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) released an Amerikan student, Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned there for 15 months. The student came home in a coma and died a few days later. According to Korean officials, Warmbier had been in a coma since shortly after his arrest due to complications from botulism, a condition that can be contracted from contaminated food, soil or water. It's likely that the imprisonment of Warmbier was just a political move by the DPRK government. He was convicted of stealing a propaganda poster.
What is unusual about Warmbier is that he was a young, well-off white guy, enjoying the privilege of his Amerikan citizenship and wealth by going on a fun adventure to visit north Korea. Amerika mostly targets lumpen from oppressed nations and non-citizens for imprisonment, as well as people who take up the fight against imperialism. So in this country Warmbier would be very unlikely to end up in prison.
In a parallel to this case in Korea, Amerikan prisons hold many non-citizens(9), especially from Mexico and Central America, locked up for small or bogus charges. If not for conditions caused by imperialism, these people want to go home to their country and families. Some don't speak English and so can't even fight for their rights. Some were railroaded into pleading guilty without really understanding the trial. And some of these prisoners will end up seriously ill or even die due to conditions in Amerikan prisons.(10)
We don't hold out hope that the white nationalists will offer a criticism of the "brutality of the Amerikan regime" for all these crimes against prisoners held behind bars in this country. It should be an embarrassment to Amerikans that the United $tates locks up people at a rate higher than any other country in the world. But this system of social control is swept under the rug, while appologists for imperialism hypocritically criticize the DPRK (and other countries) for their treatment of one Amerikan prisoner.
MIM(Prisons) struggles for an end to a system where prisons are places where people suffer and die premature deaths.
I am hearing (deaf) / speech (mute from past strokes) / vision (blind in one eye and impaired in other eye) and W/C [bathroom] restricted/disabled. Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was refusing to turn the closed captioning on the televisions for me and other offenders who are deaf, hearing impaired, disabled, or hard of hearing.
Also, being given disciplinary case knowing I was deaf, violating my due process rights by not passing a note. No written communication of what was going on during the disciplinary process so-called "investigations."
Now, thanks to Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), Mr. Brian R. McViverin and Ms. Barke Butler and three others, TDCJ is to have closed captioning feature on these dorm dayroom TVs from the time they are turned on to rack time. And any disciplinary cases I'm (or others of my type of hearing disabilities in accordance of the ADA) given, TDCJ must use special forms for me to read, answer, and sign/initial during the whole process. And anything spoken must be written down. If I see any lip movement and it is not written down, this becomes a violation of my Civil Action suit.
So, if you can, read this Civil Action No. 4:12-cv-02241 compromise and settlement agreement. Please let others know of this. I know I can not have been the only one that has had these problems with TDCJ.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This contributor shouldn't have had to go through the trouble of filing a Civil Action Suit in order to be afforded what is already guaranteed to em from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We here at MIM(Prisons) are disgusted by the behavior of TDCJ, which we see reflected all across the country in various forms. In a society that isn't run by profit and pigs, the courtesy of inclusion wouldn't require all the runaround and paperwork.
There is no genuine or legal justification for still using strip searches in prisons today, except to breed homosexuality and cause aggressive sexual assaults, using it as a punishment to humiliate someone. I can prove without a doubt that times have changed/evolved and this strip naked prison rule is outdated. Modernized technology has invented what is called x-ray machines, which are used to search/see the body without forcing nude search. Prisoncrats provided prisons with sufficient funds to purchase and provide such x-ray machines. Prison staff, in their sadistic practices and policies to punish captives, refuse to use the x-ray machines for body searches.
Metal detectors are stationed throughout the prison, checkpoints forcing captives to walk through them, in their policy to confiscate any and all illegal metal objects. Captives are never asked if they are allergic to the radiation of the metal detectors or x-ray machines, which explains the prison staff's complete disregard for the physical or psychological effects on the captives.
We captives of the Pennsylvania state prisons ask for legal advice in our desires to sue the Department of Corrections for forcing the strip search policies. We live during advanced technologies and modernized minds, which dictates, strip searches are outdated, violates religious rights, breeds sexual predators, and are methods used to harass, humiliate and harm captives. Not to mention strip searchings are methods used identical to the times of slavery.
If for no other humane reasons, prison strip searches needs to be abolished, eliminated, minimized, because state prisons have been provided with the necessary machinery and manpower to secure prison grounds and facilities. The time is here. We the state captives in Pennsylvania prisons ask any and all judicial scholars and students of civil law, for legal advice, and to petition the courts to abolish all prison strip search policies.
There is the questions raised about prison security being vulnerable, and breached, if the strip search policy is eliminated. Such positions, beliefs or arguments are simply said to continue this long practice of psychological slavery in prisons. When in fact, x-ray machines detect any metal or foreign objects and contraband. Therefore, since state prisons have x-ray machines and metal detectors on facility grounds, it shows any need to search a subject can be done without the need of such said subjects being forced to disrobe, strip naked. Which means, if the metal detectors and x-ray machines they have are not successful to secure the prison facilities, then their machines are obsolete and obtained falsely.
However, if such machines and technologies are vital and essential to the security orders of running the prisons, then strip searchings are deemed obsolete and performed falsely. It is our contention, challenge, calling, that because x-ray and metal detector machines are used, that shows strip searches are no longer needed or necessary. Which proves strip searching are being used simply as a form of the prison's psychological punishments.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections state prisons has implemented a new policy against sexual assaults/harassments, called the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). This PREA policy exposes its own ineffectiveness and prejudicial punishment, under the disguise of prosecuting sexual harassment and/or predators. To prove that this new PREA policy has been designed to minimize and eliminate sexual assaults in all of its manifestations on prison grounds, strip searching would also be minimized or eliminated as a means to sexual assaults and sexual harassments on state prison grounds.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer makes an important point: guards use strip searches as a form of gendered power that humiliates and degrades prisoners. But we don't agree that this abuse of power causes guards (or prisoners) to become homosexual. And even if that was possible, it's patriarchal society that teaches people to use gender for power and abuse which is the problem. There is no evidence that any sexual orientation is more predatory than any other. We need to focus on the real enemy here: the patriarchy which trains people to enjoy the abuse of gender power.
Prisoners are in a unique position in that they face gender oppression as a part of their imprisonment. This is true of both male and female prisoners. Strip searches are a good example of this gender oppression. This writer raises a good point about the abuse of power, and specifically gender power, that happens every time there is a strip search. This degrading practice is not for security, as this writer clearly demonstrates.
Identifying this form of oppression and calling it out for people to see is the first step in fighting back. The idea of using PREA to fight strip searches is an interesting approach. We'd like to hear from others who are fighting strip searches about what tactics are and are not working. Ultimately gender oppression in prisons isn't going away while we have a criminal injustice system serving imperialism. The patriarchy is an integral part of this system. But we can sometimes win smaller battles against these forms of humiliation and degradation.
To whom it may concern, this is a plea for help from all prisoners housed in David Wade Correctional Center (DWCC) located in Homer, Louisiana.
Warden Goodwin is locking us inside these torture chambers for years with no educational activities, no corrective-rehabilitative programs, and no counseling for mental health. The lawmakers' and courts' intentions were to send those convicted of a crime to prison as a punishment, not to be oppressed, tortured in a cell 24-7 with nothing to do for years with nothing to better themselves, also with no TV or radio to have contact with the outside world. The lawmakers' intent was that prisoners receive correction and rehabilitation so as to return to society as productive, tax-paying, law-abiding members. By prisoners not being able to better themselves behind these walls, that is what makes us the highest incarceration state of the U.S.
Warden Goodwin is forcing mentally ill prisoners in a cell together 24-7, only coming out for a shower, and in turn these prisoners are hurting each other and raping each other. The policy #035 stated no maximum ext-lockdown inmate should be housed together but they are at DWCC where if you do not go in the cell you will be pepper sprayed. And not knowing what to expect or having any idea as to the length of confinement is added stress and particularly traumatizing, compounded by simplistic practices. The courts have also held that housing mentally ill prisoners under conditions of extreme isolation is unconstitutional, see Wilkerson v. Goodwin 12-17-14 [This case addressed long-term/indefinite solitary confinement, not specifically for the mentally ill - ULK Editor]. There has been much research that demonstrated that prolonged solitary confinement is most dangerous to the mentally ill. Thus, we become disturbed with mental anguish that compels us to grab and adopt to other means and channel our pain, many are cutting themselves and going on hunger strikes. These are only a few experiences of prisoners. We need help, we need change, expose this torture!
Help us today, make a call or fax our governor and head of DOC. Ask them to close the torture chamber confinement unit at DWCC:
James Leblanc, Secretary of Corrections 225-342-6740 fax: 225-342-3095
Governor John Edwards 225-342-7015 fax 225-342-0002
MIM(Prisons) adds: As we have discussed elsewhere, isolation in prisons and mental illness reinforce each other under the current imperialist prison model. Too often people in these institutions are seen as lacking as individuals, when it is a system that creates this crisis in mental health. That is one reason we have continued to focus on the campaign to end the torture that is solitary confinement in the U.$. injustice system.
This issue of Under Lock & Key is focused on disabilities in prison. The use of control units to torture people, leading to physical and mental health problems is very much related to this topic. Long-term isolation is creating more and more disabled prisoners, by destroying their health. And then prisons are perpetuating this problem by failing to provide adequate care for the problems they created.
Recently AFW sponsored a handball tournament on C Facility at High Desert State Prison. I had the honor organizing this event, alongside of XYZ the founder of AFW. When my brother asked me to help him organize this event, I was more than willing to oblige. XYZ was willing to use his own money to pay for prizes for the winners of this tournament. It's unselfish acts like this that change the world. The fact that the brother had an idea to bring this facility together in a show of solidarity, unity & peace is what impressed me, and I had to be a part of it.
It's ideas like this that change the world. Wasn't it the great Martin Luther King that had an idea that blacks & whites could co-exist together in peace? I dare not compare the Civil Rights Movement to a handball tournament. However, peace was the goal in both of these ideas, and peace is a principle that we all should strive for.
You know, this isn't the first time XYZ asked me to perform an unselfish act. September 9th 2016, as a show of solidarity, I refrained from certain things, and went out of my way to do something I normally would not do. By doing this I learned something about myself. So I knew by helping with this tournament, a lesson about self lay in wake. I learned that I have a knack for organization and I also enjoy bringing people together on positivity. XYZ don't need pats on the back because he knows who he is. But I have the utmost respect and admiration for the Brotha because he is the example of how ideas can teach and reach people in profound ways.
Great Minds Talk About Ideas.
Small Minds Talk About Other People.
P.S. Congratulations to HBO & Mad Face for their Victory. And thanks to everybody who participated.
Abolitionists From Within
The Party remained a reform group, not a revolutionary organization (while in prison).
We will remain at peace while practicing humility and working for legislative solution (while in prison).
We shall advocate an obedience to the California Code of Regulations Title 15 (while in prison).
Denounced Black-on-Black crimes.
Struggling for a better community.
Struggling for racial equality (inside these walls).
We endorse nothing, but take the chances for everything in attempting to abolish the system (prison, SHU, penal code, etc.).
Raise the banner of liberty, equality and fraternity.
I come to talk to you of those who stand in the shadow of their own scaffolds. I come to you an avowed revolutionist. But I incite no one to rest. The convicts have no rights which the COs have to respect. The Constitution is a dead letter to the convicts of the United States.
We Need To Unite
MIM(Prisons) adds: Follow this comrade's example and write to us for our September 9 organizing pack and get ready for this year's Day of Peace and Solidarity.
25 May 2017 - Actions in cities around the world were taken today to mark 40 days since 1500 Palestinian political prisoners have been living on salt and water alone to protest the conditions of their confinement. The message at these rallies made clear connections between the struggle against long-term solitary confinement, detention without trial, lack of health care and restrictions on contact with families and the broader anti-colonial struggle. At a local demonstration, this connection was also made to struggles here on occupied Turtle Island.
Signs reading "Palestine Will Be Free" and "Withhold Aid to Israel" lined the sidewalk in front of the Israeli consulate as Aarab Barghouti, the son of political prisoner Marwan Barghouti, spoke to the crowd in San Francisco. Aarab spoke of not being able to enter Jerusalem, the city where ey was born. Aarab told of eir sister visiting their father to plead that ey not risk eir health in a hunger strike. But Marwan Barghouti responded that, "I'm doing this because I haven't been able to touch any of you for 15 years. I'm doing this because we have more than 5000 Palestinian prisoners who haven't been charged or had their day in court."
The participants this correspondent spoke with were all quick to speak of colonialism and the seizure of land when asked why so many Palestinians languished in Israeli jails. They spoke of the one-sided violence and the resistance that Palestinians made to it that led to their imprisonment. Everyone knew that the United $tates is the biggest prison state in the world today. But when asked why, only half (of a small sample size) made the same connections to land grab and national oppression in this country. Others spoke of the "Prison Industrial Complex", free labor, profits, outdated laws and a system that works against the poor. This correspondent pointed out that MIM(Prisons) has research on their website debunking some of the common ideas held about the "PIC," and for-profit prisons in the United $tates.
The relative silence around the colonial question here on occupied Turtle Island is somewhat understandable. We do not have an apartheid state like Israel has in the occupied territories of Palestine. The internal semi-colonies here have democratic rights for the most part, and integration has progressed in many ways. Meanwhile, the struggle for land is only popular among indigenous people on the reservations that are isolated enclaves on this vast land.
Nonetheless, MIM(Prisons) was not the only group trying to make the connection. One speaker opened with, "Here on Ohlone Nation, we stand on stolen land and we stand in solidarity with another indigenous nation." The representative of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center mentioned ICE detainees currently on hunger strike and prisoners in California who recently went on hunger strike for similar conditions. A speaker from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) talked about the leading example the Palestinian prisoners were making in solidarity with all those fighting colonialism. Ey went on to say, "We hope the movement on this territory can take direction and inspiration from those imprisoned here for political and social crimes."
One protestor told this correspondent that they'd been fighting in solidarity with the liberation of Palestinians since 1967. This persyn was one who saw prisons in the United $tates being used for the same purposes as they are used in I$rael. Ey told a story of meeting some young Israelis:
"I was in Brazil four years ago, on a bus, and there was a group of young Israelis who recently completed their military service. I had on this bracelet, which says 'Free Gaza.' So we started talking, and they were freaked out, meeting a U.S. citizen [saying these things]. They were arguing, well, we didn't do anything to the Palestinians that the Amerikans didn't do to Native Americans and Blacks. As if that was a justification."
Young Israelis see the connection and so should we. Another persyn we spoke to pointed out how Israelis train the NYPD. So it goes both ways. But the United $tates is the imperialist power and I$rael would not exist without its decades of patronage. The liberation of Palestine remains at the forefront of the struggle for national liberation of all oppressed nations today because of the blatant lack of democratic rights and self-determination. Just as the recent hunger strike finds its strength and base in a strong national liberation movement, the prison movement in the United $tates last peaked when Black, [email protected], Puerto Rican and Indigenous liberation movements reached a peak some 50 years ago. Without making these connections again, today's growing prison movement will fizzle out in reformism and false promises.
Many attending the protest were interested to check out Under Lock & Key, and were inspired to hear about the USW petition campaign to oppose the Israeli bombing campaign in August 2014. In turn, our movement should find inspiration in the heroic strike going on in Israeli prisons today, and the continued struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom from settler occupation.
UPDATE: As this article was being reviewed by our editor news broke that the strike had ended and a settlement reached after more than 800 prisoners didn't eat for 40 days. The terms of the agreement with the Israeli state are many, and full details have not been released. They include many improvements to family contact and visitations, access to educational materials, medical conditions for the sick, access to better foods and cooking, better sports equipment and addressing high temperatures and overcrowding. In addition, a prisoners' committee has been established, providing a mechanism for addressing future issues. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network released the following statement:
"On this occasion of the prisoners’ victory, we know that there is a long struggle to come, for liberation for the prisoners and liberation for Palestine. We urge all of the Palestinian communities, supporters of Palestine and social justice organizers who took to the streets, drank salt water, engaged in hunger strikes, expressed their solidarity and organized across borders and walls to celebrate the victory of the prisoners with events and actions on 4-6 June, in Celebrations of Dignity and Victory.
"In these celebrations, we will recognize the power of the Palestinian people to defeat the occupier and the colonizer, honor the prisoners and their steadfastness, and emphasize the ongoing struggle. These celebrations are an occasion to escalate our demands for Palestinian freedom – for the liberation of Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian people, and the entire land of Palestine."(1)
After reading ULK 54 I felt a lot of comrades put forth good ideas on tactics and strategy. One article in particular, "By Any Means Necessary", written by a comrade in Maryland, was especially inspiring. While I'm impressed by the fire in this comrade's belly, I'd humbly like to offer some added wisdom.
Practice is the only way to test the thoroughness of our revolutionary education (study of the past and analysis of the present to create theory for advancing towards communism) and resolve contradictions between theory and objective reality. Experience has shown us that in the struggle to supplant capitalism, there is no telling which campaigns will bear fruit and which will be fruitless. As MIM(Prisons) rightly states, even seemingly doomed projects, like grievance campaigns, can be valuable. It's the small battles, lost and won, that constitute the formative education of the revolutionary and enable em to lead the people successfully by such experiences.
Experience also demonstrates compromise with the oppressor is impossible. No meaningful change can be negotiated if the oppressor class maintains power. This, as the past shows, is the only compromise they understand or tolerate. As such, I agree with a "by any means necessary" mentality being needed. But I feel that caution and restraint must always be in the forefront. By any means necessary can easily lead to ultra-leftism, which is debilitating; or "fearlessness," equally detrimental; or worse still, an undisciplined revolutionary, an indiscriminately destructive force.
In our work we must be courageous but circumspect, undaunted but not oblivious, uncompromising in our mission but forever dialectical materialists. Mao wrote in "On Practice," "There can be no knowledge apart from practice." As on so much, Comrade Mao is correct. Our knowledge of struggles, fruitful and fruitless, directs our practice. Our practice leads to knowledge which directs our movement.
On 18 April 2017 the prisoners here rioted against the staff. Mainly it was just the South Hall. Those youngsters are tired of being treated like animals. So they rebel the only way they knew how. By busting out all the windows on the South Hall of East Arkansas Regional Unit, which was one through eight barracks. This transpired that day from 5:30pm until 5:30am. By then Emergency Response Team (ERT) and officers from all the other units responded. They shot 30mm rubber bullets and flash bangs into those barracks. They hog tied prisoners, and dragged them down the hall to the visitation yard which was turned into a makeshift infirmary. There prisoners were beat, kicked or stomped while still cuffed and awaiting medical treatment. The pigs stayed for 3 days in extremely large numbers. 100 officers for day and night shifts the first day, then 50 extra officers on the 2nd and 3rd day. They even returned on the nights of Arkansas' executions.
The prisoners could have rebelled better, but it is what it is. I'm glad, it just goes to show only so much repression will be tolerated by the masses until change is demanded. It's just that their energy could have been utilized in a more revolutionary way than in just a release of emotional outcry. Educating prisoners, all day. Each and every day we must teach the Marxist-Leninst-Maoist way.
I am a Mexican National Citizen raised in the old ways of making business. Our word was always good to our dying last breath. In prison politics and Mexican politics, the word is meaningless. (Tell that to good Tio Colosio, who paid with his life for believing someone else's word.)
Well, after 20 years in a main line or so-called active yards, I made the transition to the SNY yard. Here, I found lots of brothers (i.e. comrades), that made the transition years and even decades ago. Fortunately, I escaped the usual brainwashing that my Chicano counterparts are exposed to in the schools and ghettos. So, I called quits, and came over to the bizarre world. I found that most of my new comrades lacked any type of political consciousness. Time after time they declined my attempt to read some of my literature. It did not escape my mind that I once was like that too. It took me years to awaken to the cruel reality of my imprisonment.
Anyway, my first celly was a white male. And I discovered what I have always known in theory: We are all ignorant, poor, and damned (regardless of skin color, creed, or gang affiliation). For reasons that are not pertinent to this essay my new celly only last me less than 24 hours. Nevertheless, he left a deep impression in my consciousness. He told me that on the line his shot caller actually put a hit on him, over a $50.00 pruno debt. So he had to assume the position and allowed his beloved celly, who was a few months short to go home. And he was stabbed about three times. That is how out of control the prison gangs are.
So that the readers know: The average Mexican National prisoner doesn't belong to cartels, or street and prison gangs. Most Mexicanos are unaware of the avalanche of prison politics coming their way. Without no shame I can say that had my counselor told me about my expected role to serve at the active yard I should have checked out right there and then. It wasn't meant to be, so I was set up, by a failed rehabilitation system. I was immediately classified as a "PAISA" or "BORDER BROTHER." This STG (Security Threat Group) is under the direct order of the Sureños Prison Gang (like to be ordered to do hits and follow gang's rules).
Unbeknownst to the Mexican, all of these violent incidents will be used by the Board of Parole Hearings ("BPH"). God forbid one has a stabbing ten years ago. They literally act the part to be surprised that these kind of thing happen in prison. Even a disciplinary citation over a stolen apple will be used to say that one is a danger to the free community. These pundits actually believe that these gulags are CENTERS of top notch rehabilitation. And that one insists in misbehaving!
My new celly is an elderly Mexican. He is respectful and knows how to do time. He too called it quits when he discovered the winds of change in the air. And before things took a turn for the worst, he made the best decision in his life. He became another "SNY." The environment here is more loose. The gang trip is over. I have not seen any acts of predatory behavior towards those that are too weak to defend themselves. Then, there are those that act out as straight protective custody; they believe that the c/o is their daddy or big carnal. They are loud and wear their pants half way down their butt. Still the talking with staff can also be seen at facility "C", an active yard. They came in to the program office and spend time with them (getting cozy with the enemy i.e. the oppressor).
I found out that if I kept to myself and mind my own business I can fly undetected. This wasn't possible in an active yard, because one is expected to put in work for the prison gang. The new prison gangs at this side, they pretty much keep to themselves. And do their fighting without asking for help. Those who do not want to engage in the new gangs warfare are left alone out of the drama. I have spoken to former Sureños and Norteños (youth and elderly), and many described themselves as "Mexicanos" born on this side. Many have realized that the Mexican National is not their puppet to be used and discarded. They all agreed that becoming "SNY" is the best decision that they ever took. Their new leaders are their families, patria, and raza.
Here, former shotcallers and gang leaders are nothing. They are one more slave among the thousands. Long are gone the days of blood money, glory, cell phones, and God ego trips over life and death. As for my own transition from an enslaved active prisoner to an "SNY" it was easy. I packed my belongings without raising too much suspicion. And at school I told the officer "that I wanted out of the yard." They pressured me to tell what I knew about the big fat sapos and those that are kissing their ass. I had nothing to tell them.
Even if I knew anything I would never tell them nothing. I am too old to become a state snitch. So, not all SNY prisoners become snitches. I have been told that sometimes the officers threaten prisoners by telling them they will be sent back to the main line. But, this wasn't my case. (For your information, the officers will never do that.)
For those that I left behind, stop and think about it, for a long time. Is it really worth it to give up one's life by running a fool's errand? What they are sending you to do to someone else's son they will do to you. The masters of manipulation's lost cause is not worth it to die or kill for. Screw their orders, they are not our parents, tios, or big brothers. They are playing God with your lives and freedom.
They are bloodthirsty sociopaths with our brothers' and sisters' blood on their hands. They are the oppressor's little brother; they help the oppressor to keep us in check. Go ahead and tell them to do the killings themselves. They can't really hold you up accountable for your word; that you gave up as a little kid. You did not know anything about life when they enticed you to join the gang. They never told you that by 15 you would be dead or doing life in the gulags.
They never took you to a funeral and told you: that is you in a few years. They never took you to the gulags to visit those who are buried alive. Have they told you that an early death or lifetime in prison was your future? Odds are that you would have run away ASAP. Thus, at the age of 20, 30, or even 60 years old, one must truly awaken to the reality of our predicament and analyze the contradictions of one's slavery. So that we can shake off the old chains that bind us to a lost cause. One must evolve and think outside the box. It is the 21st Century, our families need us out there.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Lumpen organizations (LOs) in the united $tates are usually organizations of the most economically marginalized of the oppressed in this country. Elsewhere comrades have spoke about the difference between the Neo-Colonial Lumpen Organization (NLO) and the LO. The experience of the above comrade reflects the practice of the NLO. But the LOs in general have both capitalistic and collective/nationalist aspects to them. And those that embrace the collective aspect (usually in a revolutionary nationalist way), can evolve to become Political Mass Organizations (PMOs).(1) So while we struggle with comrades in LOs to move in the direction of becoming a PMO, the above story is a common one in California as SNY has come to represent one third of prisoners in recent years.(2)
This comrade also touches on the national question and national identity in Aztlán. The fact that those of Mexican descent born within U.$. borders are so likely to identify as Mexicanos speaks to the national contradiction between the Amerikan settler and the colonized territory of Aztlán. As this comrade also recognizes we refer to those born north of the U.$.-Mexico border as [email protected] The recognition of a [email protected] nation deeply connected to, but separate from Mexico, was the outcome of the struggles of revolutionary nationalists and communists in the 1960s organizing Raza in the southwest. For those interested in this topic you should check out [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán by a MIM(Prisons) study group. This book is available to prisoners for $10, or work trade.
Californian Correctional Officers' beginning career wages are the highest in the U.S. at a whooping $48,000, with the prospect of earning nearly $80,000 annually when reaching the top pay grade.(1) They receive 640 hours of training, and an 8-month probationary period for each and every new recruit. I don't believe the average citizen who pays taxes would approve of how they don't run the daily prison program on a regular basis. In essence getting paid well for clocking into work just to sit in office areas and do nothing until it's time to clock out.
I'm writing this specifically in relation to practices at California Correctional Institution (CCI). Today is 18 April 2017 and a part of our program has been taken for no given reason 71 times just this year since January, not including a 9-day facility lockdown for the misplacement of one set of tweezers. The tweezers were lost in PIA [job site], which disrupted college courses and furthered this lockdown culture. I've spent 7 years on Level 4s where violence was a regular occurrence and those yards received less lockdown and program cancellations than this peaceful low-to-no violence yard. With a month plus of complete lockdown if one calculates partial lockdown, plus 9 building lockdowns where the rest of the yard is programming yet Building #1 Correctional Officers have decided not to run program without a given explanation. I feel tax payers would like to know how their money is being spent, many of them making far less than these Correctional Officers to do much more.
One has only to think about the mental and physical effects that are rooted in being locked in a 6 by 8 by 9 feet cell with another human for over 16 hours a day for months, even years, at a time under the pretense that the Department of Corrections is using the rehabilitation model, which was initiated in the 1930s and states that it is a model of corrections that emphasizes the need to restore a convicted offender to a constructive place in society through some form of vocational or educational training or therapy. (Cole, Smith & De Jong, "Criminal Justice in America 8th Edition." 2015, pp 328, 362) This is one of my college courses this semester and all previous citing is from the textbook.
Isolationistic practices are shown to have double negative effects on captives in regard to their social skills and behavior. This is due to the unnaturalness of long periods in isolation, captives become more agitated when expecting program i.e. readying themselves to go out of cell for yard, dayroom, school, and self help then without notice they cancel program without saying nothing. This is unique to CCI because at all other prisons the building COs let population know there will be no program. I write this even after talking to Sara L. Smith, Ombudsman, in person and 2nd Watch Sgt. Bart about this ongoing issue. Both responded it would be dealt with, yet two days in a row partial program has been cut with three in-house COs i.e. 2 on the floor plus one in control booth.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Under capitalism, the criminal injustice system is primarily concerned with enforcing the conditions that allow for profit. For colonized nations, this means repression and imprisonment to maintain the colonial relationship. Therefore, reforming people is rarely the focus. And how could it be, when there are no efforts made to address the causes of anti-social behavior in the first place, which include the dog-eat-dog culture of capitalism?
Unfortunately, the settler nations (like Amerika) are so bought into this system of oppression that they have little concern for the $80k a year their tax money might be paying some CO to sit around. That is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the bombs being dropped on Syrians right now. One Tomahawk missile, made by Raytheon Co., costs $1.59 million.(2) In the U.$. attack on a Syrian air field a couple weeks ago (6 April 2017), they used 59 Tomahawk missiles. Yet, according to multiple polls, a majority of Amerikans supported that attack.(3) And they have a long history of supporting huge military spending to kill people around the world. We find it unlikely that they will be moved by the money being spent to keep a large, idle lumpen population in prisons. It is up to those affected by the criminal injustice system to do something to stop this madness creating more madness.
Con respecto a la pregunta de las alianzas del frente unido con grupos nacionalistas blancos, hay sus pros y sus contras al trabajar con otros grupos. Ya voy escribiendo a MIM(Prisiones) por unos años y disfruto leer el ULK. Soy prácticamente mi propia armada con un solo hombre. No les pido a otras personas que hagan cosas que yo no haría por mismo.
Me encuentro en una Penitenciaría Federal en Tuscon, Arizona. Este es un pabellón para agresores sexuales, desertores de pandillas, Custodia Preventiva. No me encuentro aquí por elección propia. Soy un agresor sexual registrado por exposición indebida en un bar. Incluso aún cuando se retiraron los cargos, me obligaron a registrarme y ahora me encuentro todavía peleando el caso en el estado. Me encuentro en una prisión federal por cargos que no se relacionan con el cargo estatal. Este pabellón no tiene las mismas políticas que otros pabellones tienen. Sí tenemos políticas, pero no al extremo. El salón chow se encuentra divido por razas, pero te puedes sentar donde se te dé la gana. Lo que estoy tratando de decir es que, yo podría dejar este pabellón e ir probablemente a un pabellón activo, y que me asesinen por ser un agresor sexual registrado, aún cuando se retiraron los cargos. Esa es la política. Ahora, hay un montón de agresores sexuales y homosexuales, ratas y desertores. Todos tienen una razón para estar aquí. He estado en pabellones activos y muchas veces, en realidad la mayoría de veces, una persona pone su vida en riesgo por alguien que no es más que una mierda o un drogadicto. Ya no uso drogas y no me drogo en prisión.
Crecí en el oeste, desde Montana a Arizona, en el corazón de la nación Aria, un ejecutor de la Hermandad Aria con el viejo refrán, si no es blanco no está bien. Fui un niño ciego pero un buen soldado. A los 41 años soy ahora mi propio hombre. Nunca he abandonado a mis hermanos pero ya no peleo más esa batalla de odio. Hay sus pros y sus contras al trabajar con otros grupos.
Tengo una pregunta: ¿No hay Maoístas que sean agresores sexuales o soplones? ¿Los Maoístas escogen trabajar con otros grupos o intentan convertir a otros grupos al maoísmo? Es algo diferente el trabajar con un grupo distinto para lograr la misma meta. Soy un individuo en un grupo y mis metas como individuo no son siempre las mismas que las del grupo. Mi meta es la libertad de un gobierno opresivo y corrupto, y no importa si es EUA o Rusia, opresión es opresión, corrupción es corrupción y esto debería detenerse. Todos pertenecemos a grupos diferentes, incluso a los grupos que sienten la necesidad de oprimir a otros.
El enemigo de mi enemigo es mi aliado. ¡El Frente Unido por la Paz!
Esto no se trata más de política o a qué grupo pertenece una persona. Yo soy un Hermano Ario independiente y apoyo al Ministerio Internacionalista Maoista de Prisiones y a la lucha de personas encarceladas. (No me gusta usar la palabra preso o convicto o cualquier otra palabra para prisionero que se usa para tomar el poder personal de una persona. Estas palabras hacen que las personas se sientan sin poder, sin esperanza, y eso no es verdad). Somos personas, humanos. Tenemos familias, amigos, al igual que el resto de personas.
MIM(Prisiones) responde: Esta es una carta interesante sobre los frentes unidos porque viene de alguien que representa a dos de los grupos con quienes, a menudo nos dicen, nunca deberíamos aliarnos, lo cual levanta preguntas de la otra parte. Primero, con respecto a la pregunta de agresores sexuales, este escritor demuestra porqué el confiar en la etiqueta estatal de “agresor sexual” es tan malo como confiar en la etiqueta estatal de “criminal”. Debemos decidir por nosotros mismos cuales individuos son aliados y cuales son enemigos.
Sobre la pregunta de nacionalistas blancos y aliados, este escritor todavía se encuentra en su grupo pero al parecer, tiene desacuerdos considerables con ellos si apoyan a ULK y MIM (Prisiones). Este es un ejemplo excelente de unir a todos los que se puedan unir contra el sistema de injusticia criminal. Sabemos que la hermandad Aria se encuentra básicamente en oposición a la liberación de naciones oprimidas. Al igual que el Partido Comunista de China sabía que el Kuomindang se encontraba esencialmente en oposición al comunismo. Pero en China antes de que la revolución fuera un éxito, hubo la oportunidad de construir una alianza contra el imperialismo Japonés, la contradicción principal en su momento. Y nosotros tenemos una oportunidad parecida de construir una alianza contra el sistema de injusticia criminal dentro de las prisiones. Ciertamente, que a una escala menor que la del frente unido en China, nuestro enemigo común en las prisiones ofrece la oportunidad de alianzas con grupos que serán nuestros enemigos, en otras batallas. Además es posible que ganemos algunos de estos tipos de estos grupos que, como este escritor, piensan que “la opresión es opresión…y debería detenerse”.
Este camarada menciona Rusia, tal vez como un ejemplo aleatorio. Pero hablando de Rusia y la opresión, es algo que se está convirtiendo en un asunto delicado en los Estados Unidos actualmente. Este fervor anti Rusia, como siempre, se encuentra ligado al nacionalismo americano. Se usa para atacar el régimen actual de Trump de forma que amenace al mundo con un inter imperialismo e incluso una guerra nuclear. Rusia fue alguna vez parte de la Unión Soviética, que bajo Lenin y Stalin fue socialista. Pero después de que murió Stalin en 1952, el país adoptó rápidamente el capitalismo estatal. Y el capitalismo es un sistema que crece con la opresión y corrupción. Pero el renacimiento anti Rusia en los EE UU no se debería confundir con anti imperialismo, sino más bien es nacionalismo que se mueve alrededor del poder imperialista más grande y peligroso en el mundo – los E$tados Unido$.
I am writing with a texa$ prison medical copay update. Here on the Alfred D. Hughes plantation, the medical department's Senior Practice Manager Valencia Pollard-Fortson's attitude is that every procedure is a valid charge. Aspirin, bandaids, blood sugar checks, clipper shave, whatever. You're going to be charged $100. Her idea is if you charge 10 people a day for sick call, that's $900. Because only one will do the paperwork for 90 days to get his money back. Now they've gone a farther step.
In Ad-Seg/SHU building, we cannot buy fingernail clippers off store. To be caught with a pair is a major offense. We have to submit a sick call request to medical to trim our nails. Even diabetics who must keep toenails trimmed. Well, that sick call costs $100.
Say January 1st you go to medical for chronic care. It's charged $100. Then you go January 15th and again January 28th. You file a grievance Step One with medical about copay of January 1st. It's denied February 10th. You file a Step Two appeal to Regional Medical Supervisor. It's granted March 13th. Your monthly invoice will not show up until April 15th showing March 13th $100 was refunded for medical copay of January 1st. BUT a new charge for January 15th appears and the $100 is taken on March 13th. You start all over again, stretching out for months just like I'm doing now on a charge from March 2016. These pigs are determined to keep your money.
MIM(Prisons) responds: There are many tactics the state uses to enact medical neglect, and to create and exacerbate long-term health problems for prisoners. In some states they just throw the sick call in the trash. But in Texas they are frustrating people using the financial angle. Our Texas Campaign Pack has instructions for how to fight against the $100 medical copay. We can use this information to make ourselves a little bit stronger while we struggle to overthrow the horrible social and economic system that makes such an exorbitant copay possible in the first place.
Starlight, star bright
We the people
Learn to fight
Against the pigs
But that's not all
Eventually imperialism will fall.
Who are we?
You can bark
But we won't flee
Down with the pig and imperialist trash.