I want to give our readers a brief status update. This is the first issue in 5 months, and the one before that was about 7 months prior. Unfortunately, we will be sticking to what we called “plan C” in the last issue, which was relaunching Under Lock & Key(ULK) on an irregular basis.
We have went ahead with the new newsprint format, which has reduced our costs. With this new format, we launched the new logo that was to go on the new newsletter. Thanks to the USW comrade who drafted, and redrew the artwork for that. Otherwise, the contents of ULK should remain about what you are used to.
Before I go on, I want to include one of the appreciative letters we received from a newer subscriber:
"I want to sincerely thank you all for altering my outlook on the world and on life in general. Not to mention politics. I don’t know how to explain it, but just in the relatively short few months that I’ve been seriously studying the various ULKs and related materials, I can see and feel so many positive changes in myself, my outlook, attitude, mindframe, actions, words, thoughts, etc.
"… For example, just navigating the daily struggle in here has become much easier for me as far as interactions with the guards, etc. I just feel like I have been equipped with a much more stable mindframe and a more mature attitude. As I’m writing this I’m actually realizing that this is probably my reactionary mentality being steadily stripped away and replaced with knowledge and wisdom of what’s really going on.
“This has even had positive effects on my personal/family life as well and my ability to express myself and communicate with individuals I had a difficult time with before. I’m able to control my emotions more and deal with sense and reason which has produced better results.”
It is letters like this that reinforce the importance of Under Lock & Key and our determination to keep it going. But we can’t do so without rallying more support.
Some of the things that go into this one project include: processing incoming letters to update our mailing list, typing articles, scanning and editing art, responding to articles, editing, formatting and proofreading, layout of the newsletter, compiling and processing our latest mailing list for the USPS, proof reading the laid out newsletter, folding and packaging the newsletters, bringing them to the post office for delivery to you, and paying for all that printing and postage. We know our readers in prison can’t do most of these things. But by promoting ULK and recruiting others around our work, you can build the network of support we need.
And many of you can send donations. Thank you to all of you who have sent in stamps in recent months despite the lack of ULKs. We are still sending out lots of letters and literature and making good use of your donations!
In addition to ULK, we are prioritizing responding to letters, providing resource guides and political literature. We remain focused on our serve the people Re-Lease on Life program, which has gained some good experience and seen some setbacks in the last year. And we are working to develop Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, so that we can expand our work to what it used to be and beyond. Finally, we continue to put time into engaging with the development of the Maoist movement here in occupied Turtle Island so that all these programs can feed into real revolutionary change in the future.
Our readership has always talked about fascism more than the mainstream because they face some of the most fascistic aspects of imperialism within U.$. borders. As the dialogue around fascism in relation to the White House enterslj6 the mainstream, it becomes more important for us to distinguish our line, and the potential strategies that follow from that line.(1)
The first draft of an article on the self-determination of the Lakota people referred repeatedly to the fascism that they faced. The parallel is certainly justified. As we know Hitler was very inspired by the Amerikan genocide and colonization of First Nations. Yet, fascism arose hundreds of years after settlers first came to Turtle Island. There are many similarities, but also differences, between Nazi Germany and the early United $tates, and the United $tates today.(2) Understanding what fascism is is important for fighting it.
Fascism as Inter-Imperialist Conflict
“Marxist-Leninists eventually argued that fascism is qualitatively more evil than ordinary imperialism. First, fascism occupied imperialist countries and exterminated national self-determination in direct ways that the other imperialists did not. Second, and less important, fascism is the open dictatorship of the bourgeoisie instead of just the more masked dictatorship of bourgeois democracy.” MC5, May 1993, “Historical applications of Line, Strategy and Tactics: The United Front”, MIM Theory 6: The Stalin Issue, p.76. ($5)
MC5 goes on to say that the principal contradiction during the period of the rise of fascism was actually that between the socialist and the imperialist camps. That the Nazis focused so much on the destruction of the Soviet Union, undermining their own success, demonstrates the role of fascism as a response to socialism.
Stalin’s strategy in this period was to divide the imperialist camp. It’s hard to see how the socialist camp today could employ such a strategy since we are not operating from the base of power that Stalin was (the USSR actually had the military might to stop the Nazis). But in his time, Stalin’s strategy proved correct.
A Global Threat or Bourgeois Politics
Antifa and the unorganized rebellions against the police in cities across the country have forced anti-fascism into the mainstream. Yet the mainstream rhetoric has quickly transformed the “battle against fascism” in the United $tates into a thinly veiled campaign for the Democratic Party presidential election in November. The likes of Bob Avakian, Angela Davis and Noam Chomsky have all called on people to vote for Joe Biden, citing this battle.
Stopping fascism is a lower level goal than ending imperialism or building socialism. There are times, like World War II, when stopping fascism is the appropriate focus for communists. At that time fascism was waging a military assault across Europe and threatening the first dictatorship of the proletariat.
Presidential candidate Biden has already promised a significant increase in military spending, and President Trump has increased military spending during his term, despite his criticisms of the self-interest of the military industrial complex. Both candidates are clearly behind continued U.$. militarism to wage war against the oppressed peoples of the world. Neither candidate has indicated a rapacious military campaign to conquer and occupy other nations. Between the two options offered by the U.$. imperialists, we do not yet see the principal characteristic that led the communists of the COMINTERN to see fascism as a greater evil than imperialism.
Those who are crying “fascism” in the U.$. today are arguing that state repression internal to the United $tates is ramping up. So let’s look at what MC5 called the “less important” distinguishing characteristic of fascism.
The Democratic Struggle Against Fascism in the Third World
“The imperialists export fascism to many Third World countries via puppet governments. And imperialist countries can turn to fascism themselves. But it is important to note that there is no third choice for independent fascism in the world: they are either imperialist or imperialist-puppets. Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan had all reached the banking stage of capitalism and had a real basis for thinking they could take over colonies from the British and French. … The vast majority of the world’s fascist-ruled countries have been U.$. puppets.” – MIM Congress, “Osama Bin Laden and the Concept of ‘Theocratic Fascism’”, 2004
Strategy varies from place to place. An example of this from the past is when the Filipinos waged a campaign against the GATT trade agreement. In the Philippines this was a righteous campaign against imperialist control over their economy. However, in the United $tates the campaign against GATT was one focused on protecting Amerikan jobs, which implies fortifying imperialist borders against labor from other countries. So you can see how the same campaign can have very different impacts in different contexts. It is our responsibility to understand our own context and organize accordingly.
In a previous article on this same topic, we mentioned the anti-imperialist rhetoric of the newly elected President Duterte in the Philippines. After Duterte’s anti-United $tates rhetoric fizzled, the National Democratic Front in the Philippines have begun campaigning against the “fascist US-Duterte regime.” This framing is important. The fascism is coming from the United $tates and being implemented by the puppet Duterte. This allows for their propaganda to be consumed within the United $tates without fueling U.$. militarism for an invasion of the Philippines to rescue them from fascism.
This is in sharp contrast to the rhetoric around “islamo-fascism” in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This framing was of course propagated by the Pentagon, but also by many calling themselves “communists.” It fueled anti-Muslim sentiments in support of U.$. militarism in Central Asia.
The framing of fascism in the form of puppet regimes is useful for the national democratic movements in the Third World to unite all who can be united. But these puppet regimes do not signify a shift in the global balance of power that warrant a strategic re-orientation like the rise of fascism within an imperialist country would.
Don’t Vote, Build Bases of Power
Another important point to note is that there is an active People’s War in the Philippines. The National Democratic Front is led by the communist party. The united front to get Trump out of office is led by the Democratic Party, in other words, the imperialists. The imperialists are not facing the threat of a communist revolution in the United $tates like they are in the Philippines that would warrant a shift to outright bourgeois dictatorship.
The imperialists responded to the 9/11 attacks with a series of changes in law, such as the Patriot Act, which legalized some of the things Trump has been doing domestically. Initially, MIM was part of the movement to oppose the Patriot Act. However, they decided to leave that movement when it was clear it was dominated by libertarians. Other “communists” tailed this movement with calls to “Drive out the Bush regime” often referring to Bush as a fascist. These same “communists” who were effectively campaigning for Obama’s election by offering no other alternative to Bush, because they have no power, are now openly endorsing Biden.
When the Soviet Union allied with the United $tates, and the Filipino communists ally with the bourgeois forces, they do not put down their guns, or give up their goals of building socialism. To be real players in the anti-fascist struggle, we must first build power like the Soviet Union did and the Filipinos are doing. Stalin did bite his tongue about U.$. imperialism to defeat German fascism. To bite our tongue today about Joe Biden’s militarism and targeting of oppressed nations with mass incarceration is to abandon the oppressed nations of the world.
It is good to see those in the imperialist state defending bourgeois democracy. That is their role. Our role is to build public opinion against imperialism and build independent institutions of the oppressed. As Trump attempts to frame Biden/Harris as the radical left, it is important to demonstrate real revolutionary politics in this country. And the target of the revolution is imperialism. Imperialism must be overthrown before we can really begin the task of building a society without oppression. To put this goal to the side to focus on getting Trump out of office, especially at a time when more and more people are looking for systemic change, is to stop representing the international proletariat. In this era in the United $tates, anti-imperialism is the radical position, while anti-fascism and anti-racism are the reformist positions.
Notes: 1. order MIM Theory 5: Diet for a Small Red Planet ($5) for an in-depth look at the relationship between line, strategy and tactics 2. order our Fascism and Contemporary Economics ($3) for a deeper look at the history and economic of fascism
I am sincere and stand by when we say Black lives matter, but I think we should say and believe that all life matters. I am in a political/race-driven prison just like in California and Texas. We say Brown Pride, White Pride, Black Pride, then White Power and Black Power. We should take all race out of it and be power to the people!
I am 50% Mexican and 50% white and in Juvenile D.O.C. it was mostly Black and Mexican. My last name is [white-sounding] so I got jumped every day for years with a couple of the other white kids. If we are to fight hurt, pain and suffering of being oppressed and rejected. But it’s hard when we are surrounded by so much hate. I only know my dad on that side of the family, the Mexican side, hates me and disowns me cuz my mom and dad was never supposed to happen.
We only admit there’s a problem when it surfaces. I got sprayed by the cops a couple months ago for no reason, filed my grievance, but don’t have no help nor know how to take further actions. It sucks that it takes people to die to get action. …
If each one of us did what was right it would be all good, but you can’t change the people that want to look at every one else instead of being a solution. I will be the solution whether anybody is watching cuz all life matters!
MIM(Prisons) responds: Since the uprisings in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, we have received many letters echoing the slogan “All Lives Matter.” Like this comrade, they are not doing so in opposition to “Black Lives Matter” but in solidarity based on similar experiences.
We want to commend this comrade for standing with all oppressed people, and with Black Lives Matter as a movement despite eir experience being jumped by New Afrikan youths while in juvie. It speaks to the unity of the oppressed, that ey could see past that experience and not paint a whole group as eir enemy, when those who have lived much more privileged lives are quick to paint whole groups based on something they saw on TV.
In today’s globalized culture it is sometimes hard to have conversations that are limited to one audience, and as a result other audiences are often offended.
In case any of our readers are unaware, the phrase “All Lives Matter” became popular among cops and white nationalists as a rejection of “Black Lives Matter.” The implication is that “Black Lives Matter” somehow means Black lives matter more than others, when on the contrary the slogan was developed by New Afrikans who just wanted their lives to be given the same respect and value as others, specifically as euro-Amerikans. The less forgiving implication is that people who say “All Lives Matter” just want to keep Black lives in a position of less value.
In contrast to this mainstream narrative, every letter that we’ve got so far from prisoners who are white or Raza, stating “All Lives Matter” seem to be coming from a genuine place of respect for all lives. But you all should know what the implications of the saying can be.
We agree with this comrade that race should not be brought into politics, as race is a baseless concept. So why do we talk about whites, and New Afrikans and indigenous and all these other groups of people so much in our writing? Well, we are talking about nation – a group of people with a common culture, language, territory and economy. While integration is greater than previous points in this country’s history, there are still independent New Afrikan, [email protected] and countless First Nations within this prisonhouse of nations that is called the United States. And until these nations are liberated from imperialism, from the United $tates, there cannot be justice here.
What about euro-Amerikans? In prison, euro-Amerikans will generally experience life as an oppressed persyn. Certainly there are hierarchies, and there are white supremacist groups that work with the pigs, etc. But most of our “white” readers are feeling more oppression than your average persyn walking down the street in the United $tates. That is why we see uniting the imprisoned lumpen on a class basis as an important project that is primary within the prison movement, while recognizing the national contradiction as primary in this country overall. To highlight this class unity, we prefer the slogan “Prisoner Lives Matter” to demonstrate what all of our comrades are facing in the Amerikkkan gulags, where you can be murdered for nothing like George Floyd was.
[Abolitionists From Within (AFW) submitted a series of essays leading up to Black August and hosted their annual poker tournament that is part of their effort to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons(UFPP). Below are some of the thoughts they sent us, followed by their report on September 9.]
Wake up comrades. Evelyn Williams reminds us that all African American prisoners are political prisoners, whether or not they label themselves as such. Because of the circumstances that got them into prison as well as the harshness of sentencing applied to them. Political prisoners who became politicized inside prison walls and who oriented their lives around the struggle for social justice and national liberation include Malcolm X, George Jackson and the Attica warriors. Many other comrades of yesterday and today’s struggle would be and are encompassed in the term as political prisoners.
So to all comrades behind enemy lines, we are at war and have been and we must understand the enemy tactics. Prisons have become the battle ground in a war of attrition designed to reduce prisoners to a state of submission, psychological incompetence sufficient to neutralize us as self-directing antagonists by making us desperate enough to destroy ourselves for material gains.
So let us not be fooled any longer through our own self-destructive behaviors. You are the target Black man. Tactics of counterinsurgency and low-intensity warfare against us. Assassinated, tortured, frame-ups, imprisonment, control and alter the behavior of people resisting oppression. And as you know, prison officials will use drugs as a method of control. …
Damn comrades, ya’ll giving up. These conditions we living in is temporary. Don’t make it permanent. I see your violent outbursts, passing out, seizures, suicide attempts and serious mental breakdowns. Comrade, them symptoms of that synthetic shit. Homies lose touch with reality and lash out at the one’s who really trying to help them.
One of the comrades pass out standing up. This shit is real bro, that shit hurt me deep. Because you can tell a lot about a person from the company he keep. Comrade, you can’t say you with the business and your actions don’t match. These young warriors not going to respect those acts on the yard.
I hear the C.O.s making jokes like this shit is a game. Perpetuating the fight that the prison administration encourages. However, this Black August and Bloody September we going to continue to organize and apply the UFPP five principles. So AFW will be putting on a poker tournament here with all “ethnic” groups with one goal: Peace and awareness of the prison struggles on these yards and who is the real enemy.
Da struggle continue.
9 September 2020: Black August passed, still pushing. AFW is still building to continue the good fight on September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity with all our freedom fighters and conscious comrades and to commemorate the all the faceless comrades and to never forget about the Attica uprising and our beloved brother GJ.
I been working out with our comrades, reading, sharing books, etc. Just building doing this COVID-19 the best we can in solidarity with all comrades here struggling behind enemy lines. Today, September 9th, I fast and hit the night yard work out again and count my blessings.
I stress with our comrades to understand who the real enemy is and to learn the enemy tactics of oppression that keep us oppressed. We have to continue to push, pull and stride for unity, and the comaraderie among the brothers and all ethnic groups and continue to put an end to all hostilities among our brothers with peace on our tongue this September 9th day.
In the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the glaringly ugly nature of amerikkkan exceptionalism and arrogance has been on full display. The simple and non-threatening acts of staying home and/or wearing PPE (masks) have become rallying points for reactionary patriotic elements. For this reason, occupied Turtle Island has become the world leader in COVID cases even though the imperialist regime had ample time to prepare for the virus.
With this understanding, it is only logical that people cannot rely on parasites and pigs to secure their health. It, like all aspects of our lives, is most effectively met by the people ourselves.
In May, Republican governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem threatened to sue the Lakota Nation or rely on the U.$. government to use violence to take down the Lakota’s Emergency Health Points on their home lands.
Due in part to fear of the negative reaction from Republican constituents and their mass base, as well as fundamental capitalist-imperialist unbridled greed, Noem refused to issue stay-at-home orders. Such ineptitude placed all South Dakota residents at risk, but especially our First Nation siblings and comrades as they’re a marginalized people.
In light of this development, and understanding the hystory of bio-chemical warfare and its role in the genocide of indigenous nations, the Oglala Lakota Nation pro-actively insulated themselves on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Emergency Health Points ensured that outsiders couldn’t bring the new sickness (COVID-19) to their home.
The Emergency Health Points, allowed no one to come onto or leave Pine Ridge, unless it was an essential activity. Those going and coming were made to submit to a health questionnaire at the check points.
The Governor’s ultimatum was rightfully refused and the Lakota gave an official written statement, “you continuing to interfere in our efforts to do what science and facts dictate seriously undermine our ability to protect everyone on the reservation.”
The oppressive nature of imperialism continues to undermine the self-determination of First Nation peoples and oppressed nations generally. For this reason, and to work towards the goal of tearing down the imperialist system, New Afrikans and all oppressed nationalities within the imperialist centers must unite in the spirit of collective growth and internationalism, around our shared mission of self-determination.
Let’s not forget, that it is this same Lakota Nation which has been a thorn in the side of our shared enemy for almost 200 years. It was the Lakota, led by Red Cloud, Chief of the Oglala Lakota, who dealt the United $tates its first military defeat in 1868. In retaliation and due to ongoing resistance, it was this same nation who the 7th cavalry massacred at Wounded Knee on 29 December 1890.
Fast forward to the early 1970s with the siege of Wounded Knee and the following COINTELPRO carried out against the American Indian Movement and its supporters on and around the Pine Ridge reservation. This operation led to the political imprisonment of Oglala warrior Leonard Peltier. (An in-depth study of these events and the imperialists’ war on the Lakota people can be read in the book Agents of Repression by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall available from MIM(Prisons) for $10 or work trade.)
With the understanding of the Lakota’s specific circumstances and their hystory of resistance against the occupying forces I call on all revolutionaries and people who respect the sovereignty of the First Nations of Turtle Island to raise your voices and shine a light on this issue. Being on reservations, our siblings and comrades are often hindered from garnering proper media attention or solidarity support. The mistake of past generations of oppressed nation fighters was that of failing to support each other’s causes in all aspects (militarily, economically, socially and politically). We end that practice now. In the spirit of true proletarian internationalism.
Clench fist salute to all the First Nation warriors who’ve not sold out the great War for freedom.
source: 1. The Five Percenter Newspaper, Volume 25.6, pg.10.
I had reached a point in my life where I was high for weeks at a time. I would stay awake for over a week at a time on ice. While living this lifestyle for over a half a year I was also big on the spice (K2). I was smoking an 11oz bag by myself every 2 days. When you are in this state one clearly can’t think or function properly in society on any legitimate level. I decided that I was tired of living this lifestyle and thought back to an intensive behavior modification program that I was forced to attend a few years prior to my current addicted state of being. The greatest tools I had received in this 6 month program was the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding based on these 3 words: People, Places, and Things!
If we truly want to be free from drug addiction we must change some or at times all of the people we associate with. We may have to find new employment, housing, recreational places etc. We will have to get rid of certain habits or stumbling blocks that hinder or block progress to freedom from addiction. We can not make excuses, but must stand firm in our convictions that whatever storms or difficulties may arise drugs are not our solution. They will only make things worse 100% of the time in the long run.
I found success when I completely applied the People, Places, and Things philosophy. It’s never easy, but absolutely necessary. Positive People, positive Places, and positive Practices will keep you in a positive direction. It does not make us weak feeling we need others for support during such trialsome times. It shows strength and courage when we can admit to our weaknesses and reach out for the necessary help. I hope you find success in this strategy as I have knowing that it will awaken you, clear your mind and help you move in a more PROMISING DIRECTION!
MIM(Prisons) adds: Taking the initiative to surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to be doing is a great tool for success. Unfortunately, it is not always an option (especially in prison) or easy to do. We can apply this comrades’ advice to society as a whole and understand the success of socialist China in eliminating drug addiction. They did not have policies that were particularly unique around drugs. But they were in the process of redefining their nation and their future, which offered everyone a positive roll to play, not to mention jobs, housing and health care.
We see the Chinese model as the solution to addiction. In the meantime, we must figure out how to survive and thrive in this system. That is why our Re-Lease on Life Program is developing resources for those who struggle with addiction that help connect them with a lifelong political mission. We hope to have materials to review and test out soon, so let us know if you are interested in reviewing this program.
(Remember George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and OTHERS)
I done seen too many mothers cry, brothers die, while the children left to wonder “Why?” I’m on the side of the righteous in the time of crisis, Is the prize really worth it? I tell em that its PRICELESS. I don’t have hope, kuz hope is for the children, and those UNABLE to take part in what we’re building. But we’re ALL gonna benefit when we defeat the nemesis. A new beginning for humynity, modern day Genesis. It’s THEM that want war kuz we’re bangin on the door, They’d rather see us breathless and layin on the floor. But I woke up this morning to a BEAUTIFUL site. Black, Brown, and white, its TIME TO UNITE!!!
I would like to update you all on what’s been transpiring the last month here in tekkk$a$. The last time i wrote i believe i mentioned my organizing of a hunger strike. We were initially set for the national date of Black August 21st through Bloody September 9th. However, due to the advent of the social uprisings in the wake of George Floyd’s lynching, We collectively decided to begin on the imperialist’s independence day. Due to receiving word thru inmate moles and rats, the Senior Warden Jimmy Smith, called one of our committee members out along with another participant. This committee member laid our just demands down. The most immediate of which was access to communication with loved ones via telephones being put on each dayroom. (This is for isolated-solitary-restrictive housing) and an alternative to visitation (video visits) and TV for audio/video stimulation, rehabilitation, education, cultural socialization classes or functions, and a clear path for release from isolated solitary RHU confinement. In addition, there were a few smaller, in-house demands. These were the main ones though.
Of course the warden attempted to negotiate without us actually striking. This was 1 July 2020. The committee member wasn’t hearing it. On 2 July 2020 all phones (in general population) were suddenly out of order. Of course this was a tactic by the fascist pig power structure to keep this in house as much as possible. We committee members were ahead of them; 2 weeks prior, we had provided 250 stamped envelopes, written memos, and passed them out at 30 a piece on five out of six total pods. These went out to an array of media outlets.
On 4 July 2020 we began with 141 hunger strike participants out of about 600 prisoners on the building. This was a multi-national, multi-organizational collective campaign. The committee is composed of 2 [email protected], 1 New Afrikan and 1 Anglo-amerikan.
On 5 July 2020 Gang Investigators (G.I.) searched every strikers’ cell. It was merely an intimidation tactic, because all they did was inventory the commissary for those who had any. 2 people ended their strikes for the time being due to not wanting the G.I. in their cells. So we were down to 139. By policy (Management of Offender Hunger Strike G.53.3) after 72 hours (9 meals) without eating, a hunger strike becomes “official.” This means medical will begin getting vital signs, urine samples, and weight at this time.
On 7 July 2020 we all were supposed to be pulled out per policy. However, on each pod, more than half of the strikers weren’t pulled out. I wrote a grievance, and flooded the tier out that night. I was told medical had to catch up on some people the next day. This was a lie. On the next day, 8 July, i was still not on medical list, along with about 3 or 4 others on my pod. I can’t account for the other pods on that date.
This refusal of medical was an administrative tactic utilized to:
discourage the participants, so that those of less determination will quit our mission
To keep the reported numbers as small as possible. After 72 hours the unit must report all the numbers to the prisonkkkrats in Huntsville daily.
I scribed an urgent communique to others of the committee , and it was then passed down to all the participants. The communique basically outlined how we were to conduct our own independent 1095 for this specific reason. It called on the people to stay encouraged, and also our counter-tactics if/when such things continued.
On that same day, 8 July, I was in the dayroom for my out of cell time. I hijacked the dayroom, forcing pigs to come down and speak to me directly. A particular Sergeant whose pretty fair came down and i informed him of the problem. A nurse, whose very favorable to prisoners had previously informed me that Major Washington, an Uncle Tom, was in charge of viewing security cameras to verify whether we were taking trays. Therefore he was the one falsifying state documentation. I informed the Sergeant of this directly. Also that there would be a mass of LIDs (life in danger) filed on the Major and all rank who i’ve informed who do nothing. The Sergeant took a list of each persyn who was being neglected medical attention.
The next day, 9 July 2020, while in the dayroom again the nurse i mentioned above informed me that i and the other comrades were still not on the list. I was infuriated to say the least. All the day rooms were hijacked. The Warden was on the building i was told, but eventually i fell out. Upon this development, various ranking pigs, medical and other pigs cautiously entered the dayroom while i lay motionless on the floor. I hear SGT Barbara Atteberry threaten me while pulling her riot baton. I hear a comrade who is known for severely hurting pigs threaten her in return. The kkkaptives began going crazy. Burning things, flooding the tier. The dayrooms is still hijacked and of course the shouting of expletives is the soundtrack. After this reaction to her threatening me, i guess Atteberry changed her mind. I was rolled out in a wheelchair, when after finally getting my vitals taken, Atteberry told me i would be going to suicide cell if i didn’t get off strike. I refused. Yet the “pretty fair” Sergeant vetoed her decision and i was eventually put in my cell. I told the pigs i wasn’t satisfied because there were others who hadn’t been pulled out.
Later that day, certain committee members were pulled out, “investigated” by regional Gang Investigators due to a pig and agent provocateur-circulated rumor that a conspiracy to murder prison guards in the “free world” and in the prison if we didn’t receive our demands was in play.
On 10 July i was finally placed on the medical list. During this time i’ve been denied books, letters, pictures, law library materials. Other prisoners were being denied chronic medication such as blood pressure, seizure meds, psych meds as long as they’re on strike.
Also around this time, we began being told that phones have been approved. We’re skeptical of this information. I neglected to mention on 9 July at about 12 midnight nine pigs came to each door ordering those with commissary to relinquish it or they would be taken off strike and gassed. This was a Lt. Mason leading the charge, under orders from Head Warden J. Smith. Most didn’t fall for the banana in the tail pipe and gave up their commissary. We did lose 60 souljas however. This reactionary tactic is of course outside of rules and regulations, not to mention the sensory deprivation caused by the harassment of interrupting sleep not 1, not 2, but 3 times to get one’s commissary finally at 5:00 AM.
We filed all manner of complaints, yet the admin dangled the commissary in front of our faces saying “You’ll get it back when you get off strike.” Most stayed on.
Fast forward to 23 July, we finally ended the strike in abeyance after a diplomatic decision was reached within the Team One organization and the committee met with J. Smith. We were given a communique on TDCJ letterhead saying that TDCJ leadership was requesting phones in each RHU dayroom statewide and video visits as an alternative for visits during COVID. This is being requested to the TBCJ (Texas Board of Criminal Justice), which meets every August to determine new board policy. Upon a 30-45 day abeyance we will re-assess our material conditions and if need be implement stage 2 of our plan.
This is the short version of events. I want the comrades within the walls to know that We truly have power in unity and determined action. Comrades must also reach out to these support orgs and individuals. Network. Get your voice and vision out there. In the words of Nas: “We stronger now, my peoples the time is now!”
[24 July 2020 this comrade was rehoused where ey is further isolated in a unit with active COVID cases and faced regular tampering of eir mail since then.]
by a North Carolina prisoner September 2020 permalink
Comrade Tag: I fasted from 7PM on 8 September 2020 until 5PM on 9 September 2020. I did drink water though. It was intense, it was the first time I’ve ever intentionally fasted. In the streets I wouldn’t eat for a day or 2, but I had alcohol, weed, etc. to sustain me.
It was eye-opening for me. Like, “Damn, people go through this for the cause all the time!” I need to tighten up. Self discipline for me and food is poor. I write, stand up against oppression, and help educate people, but food is so essential to survival. Not eating for me is like not living. That’s why I decided to fast.
My stomach complained a lot at first, but after awhile it stopped. I had a goal in mind, so it followed my lead. My thoughts tried to scatter, but I focused on explaining to guys why I fasted. Also, more causes were brung to my attention.
All in all the day was a success! The feast with Comrade L was supportive. Ey is new to being aware and learning about the struggle. I explained my appreciation for eir support. Thank you for sending ULK No. 57, it was a great read and perfect timing. Thanks again for your time and support.
Comrade L: Hello, my name is [Comrade L] and I participated in the September 9th Day of Peace and Solidarity. This is the first time I’ve fasted in relation to prisoner awareness. I did this to show my support and to have something to do.
I’ve done a few things this year to further our causes here at Avery/Mitchell Correctional Institution. This 11 hours (6AM - 5PM) helped me to think about what I do. I feel a little more aware of what others have had to go through so prison could be better.
It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Also, I feel good when I broke the fast with Tag NC. Ey said I should write my feelings so ey could send it with this letter today. I hope you are happy with my support.
In July 2020, there was a Chicano Moratorium event in Oakland, CalifAztlán at San Antonio Park. On 5 September 2020, there was another Chicano Moratorium event in Arroyo Viejo Park, organized by the Chicano-Mexicano Resistance and local Brown Berets. These were beautiful events that celebrated the resistance of the Chicano Nation and remembered the initial event of 1970.
These events were held in the spirit of the demonstration held by the Chicano Moratorium Committee Against the Vietnam War on 29 August 1970 in East Los Angeles. That action was 30,000 strong, and at the time it was protesting the Vietnam War and the overwhelming deaths of Chicano soldiers in the U.S. war on Vietnam (20% of the deaths, while only 10% of the population). At least 4 people were murdered by the pigs that day.
The 2020 actions were joyous. The sun was out, familias were out, kids, babies, mamas and Raza. Chicano revolutionary organizations were there like the Republic of Aztlán, the Oakland Brown Berets and the Chicano Mexicano Resistance. Music performers were lively playing revolutionary rap by a local Chicano rap artist named Aztlán Native who performed. There was Chicano spoken word, Chicano poets, speakers and even an African group performed showing that Brown and Black unity.
One of the speakers at the July event was “Big John,” formerly of the Chicano Revolutionary Party (CRP). The CRP was active in Oakland in the 1970s-80s. This speaker spoke of him being at the original Moratorium in 1970. I thought that was cool to hear about what took place in 1970 from someone who was there. Other speakers spoke of the need for anti-imperialism and liberation of the Chicano Nation. The crowds were very into the message of a Free Aztlán with shouts of “Chicano Power!”, “Viva la Raza!” and “Chinga la Migra!” heard. Many attendees were interested in the book [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán that comrades had at the events, and some told us they already had a copy.
The mood was that Raza were happy to be amongst each other celebrating our continued Chicano resistance as a nation. People were dancing and having a good time.
Today the need for a Chicano Moratorium is just as relevant and probably even more necessary. Despite being 20% of the deaths during the Vietnam War, Raza have historically been underrepresented in the U.$. military. While [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán discussed military enrollment of Raza increasing from around 10% to 11.3% of active military from 2004 to 2012, 2017 data indicate that has jumped to 16%.(1) The U.S. military is browning. Just as the future of the U.S. population is becoming razafied (increasing to 18% in 2019), so too is the U.S. military. The U.S. military is what allows U.S. imperialism to continue exploiting the periphery. Whether dying in Vietnam or dying at Fort Hood like Vanessa Guillen, the military is not in the interest of Raza. And the key to stopping U.S. imperialism lies in a Chicano Moratorium.
Peeling Back the U.S. Military’s Onion
When we think about an effective Chicano Moratorium, we soon realize in today’s day and age We need to do more than simply march – even in the tens of thousands. We obviously need to add some manteca to the frying pan. Although marches and protest actions are needed and provide for good agitation, we also need to focus on other elements of the U.S. military’s support structure. Shut off the valve from which its nutrients flow.
ROTC: We know that the Chicano nation is the U.S. military’s prime focus because the numbers tell us that the fastest growing population of recruits today is Raza. There is also evidence that of Raza, it is wimmin Raza who are at the helm. Wimmin overall have gone from 5% of enlisted officers in 1975, to 16% in 2017.(1) But how are they recruiting [email protected] in such high numbers? One way is via ROTC in the schools. The U.S. military typically has ROTC in Barrio schools or impoverished areas where the [email protected] population is high. This is a direct assault on [email protected] youth where Amerikkka is turning its schools (brainwash camps) into military recruitment centers. So if we are to truly build a [email protected] Moratorium with teeth, a campaign to remove ROTCs from the schools should be included.
[email protected] Mass Education: Because We have all been born and raised under this occupation, many of us do not know that Amerikkka is a colonizer. We do not know that the U.S. military is the muscle used to oppress and exploit the Third World. Sadly, most [email protected] do not even know what the Chicano Moratorium is. The enemy will never arm a people it colonized with truth of its misdeeds. So there is a strong need for mass education of the oppressed nations and allies in general, and the [email protected] masses in particular.
Mass education is needed on a national level, from families teaching their households, Barrios teaching each other, [email protected] educators teaching students, parks having educational events, protest actions ensuring at least 1 speaker mentions it, graffiti artists writing it, musicians singing and rapping about it. The Chicano Moratorium needs to be mentioned in every movement paper, every activist blog and revolutionary website. All left parties, groups and orgs should ensure their members understand the Chicano Moratorium.
We must continue to highlight the stories of lives lost to U.S. militarism like Vanessa Guillen, so that the youth know the true nature of this system. Wimmin are being sexually assaulted regularly, oppressed people are being hung and murdered, and you don’t even have to go to a war zone. It’s right in Fort Hood, Texas, in occupied Aztlán.
There should be [email protected] actions monthly in every county to educate the local [email protected] community on the Chicano Moratorium. At some point, after momentum is built, statewide actions can be held. Eventually nationwide actions can take place where [email protected] from all seven states can converge on one state for an annual [email protected] action.
Boycotts: Another element used by the U.S. military is media. Using commercials to show [email protected] youth proudly enrolling in the military. Some of these commercials are in Spanish. These are propaganda commercials meant to entice our youth with depictions of Raza youth being educated, prosperous and happy if they join the colonizer’s military. We need to locate every TV station that plays these propaganda commercials and boycott the hell out of them.
A campaign to expose and boycott these propaganda stations should be spread and supported far and wide. This is another part of the oppressor nation’s recruitment and brainwash program that needs to be shut down.
By utilizing this 3 prong approach of focusing on 1) ROTC, 2) [email protected] Mass Education, and 3) Boycotts, we will see a genuine Chicano Moratorium. One where we finally deal a blow to U.S. imperialism. The vanguard pushing today’s Chicano Moratorium is unapologetically communist. We understand the social reality of Aztlán and thus can create campaigns whose main thrust is in driving Aztlán on the road to national liberation.
by MIM(Prisons) August 2020 permalink A Critique of Maoist Reason J. Moufawad-Paul Foreign Languages Press 2020
A Critique of Maoist Reason serves as a follow up to Continuity and Rupture, as a way to both sum up the different trends in Maoist thought within occupied Turtle Island and to respond to the critiques of the earlier book. As the latest book gives a more proper address to MIM Thought, we thought it important to read and respond.
Again on Maoism-Third Worldism
In a recent interview, JMP flippantly rejects our complaint that MIM Thought was referred to as “Maoist Third Worldism” in Continuity and Rupture. To reiterate from our last review, this is an ahistoric application of the term. As we said in one of our founding documents, Maoism Around Us, we opposed the term for two reasons. The first is fundamental to the arguments made in Continuity and Rupture as to the path of development of revolutionary science. We argued that there could be no new stage without new practice that supersedes the past. MIM has never suggested such a thing, and the term was coined after the original MIM dissolved.
The second reason, that recent works by JMP and the online journal Struggle Sessions seem to take advantage of, is that by calling our line something other than Marxism-Leninism-Maoism you can otherize it and make it seem more fringe. This new book from JMP serves to place the RIM strain of “Maoism” as the most legit one, and paints MIM as a “shadow Maoism.”
A Falsifiable Thesis
Other than making some of the common arguments made against MIM’s thesis on the labor aristocracy, JMP’s philosophical argument against our line is that it is not falsifiable. This appears to be a tautological argument based in some of the lines shared by JMP and Struggle Sessions. Yet, it would be easy to falsify our thesis by organizing petty bourgeois First Worlders (who they call proletariat) to overthrow imperialism; the very thing such projects claim to be working towards. We’ll gladly follow the leadership of anyone who does this.
“What ultimately disqualifies MTW [Maoism-Third Worldism] from correctly representing Maoist reason is that it has no logical basis upon which to develop its theoretical insights. If there is no proletariat in the imperialist metropoles, and thus no proletarian movement, the first world third worldist cannot make a correct assessment of anything since it cannot practice the mass line. With no revolutionary masses in which to embed a revolutionary movement (because these revolutionary masses are elsewhere) how can it test its ideas, struggle with the masses, and thus develop theory through practice? Considering that MTW disagrees with the assessments of the most significant third world Maoist movements regarding the first world proletariat, it is not as if it is learning from the revolutionary masses it claims to valorize, either. Thus, even if MTW is correct it has no way of knowing it is correct, or developing a theory regarding its correctness, since it has no means of testing these ideas in practice. That is, MTW is not falsifiable and thus not scientific. And if it is not scientific then it is disqualified from Maoist reason.”(p.91)
JMP is saying that since MIM(Prisons) asserts that the First World has no masses to do mass line with, we cannot come to the correct position to guide communist practice.
Our claims however, are far from this. Our claim is that the masses here are a minority force: they are oppressed nation, they are migrants, they are prisoners, etc. We have been saying this for many years, yet JMP ignores this line and claims that we do not believe that anyone is oppressed in the First World. We don’t claim that there is no masses here, we claim that the constantly dying imperialist system needs to fall in order for proletarianization of the labor aristocracy to happen.
To support our claims we look at history, not just abstract economic models as JMP implies. It’s been over a hundred years since the first successful revolution leading to a dictatorship of the proletariat. Of all the efforts since then, that reached different levels of success, how many occurred in an imperialist country where most people own homes that value 6 digits in U.$. dollars, automobiles, have access to any food from around the world, not to mention unlimited clean water and practically uninterrupted electricity? Zero. So let’s flip the challenge on our comrades who believe that there is a majority proletariat in the First World and ask them to falsify our thesis by waging a revolution from within these countries. Because from where we’re standing, the historical evidence seems to be on our side so far.
Second, as the prison ministry (the most public cell representing MIM line at this time), we can say that developing mass line is central to what we do. A typical MIM(Prisons) cadre will interact with 100s of imprisoned lumpen a month. And we synthesize the best ideas through our newsletter and other work, providing ideological leadership for a prison movement that is true to anti-imperialism and the international proletariat. Our practice quickly dispenses with the premise that we cannot develop mass line in the United $tates.
Assuming that our critics cannot achieve a successful First World proletarian revolution, the question then becomes how will socialism come to countries like the United $tates? How will proletarianization of the labor aristocracy happen? Our movement has offered some theories on how that might transpire. And the future will either validate or falsify those theories. If there is a significant delinking of the exploited countries from the imperialist system before any revolutions happen in the core countries, then we must conclude that their thesis has been falsified. If revolutions in the core countries requires military support from the existing socialist countries to install a dictatorship of the proletariat in those core countries, then certainly we will have falsified their thesis.
These are some examples of how our line will either be validated or falsified in the future. It is a dogmatic position to put some universal model for how revolution must occur onto all countries.
It is circular logic to say that there must be a majority proletariat for revolutionary science to be applied, and revolutionary science is universal, therefore there must be a majority proletariat everywhere. It’s hard to see how JMP’s point can stand without this circular logic.
Drawing Class Lines
Unlike the other strands of “Maoism” criticized in the book, JMP is careful to recognize that MIM made real theoretical contributions and goes so far to say that it would be revisionism to deny that imperialism transfers wealth from some nations to others.
The question here is how do we draw lines between friends and enemies? Relatedly, we might ask when does quantitative change in the distribution of surplus value result in a qualitative change in class?
Mathematically, the switch from an exploited group to a net exploiter group is a qualitative change. However, the labor aristocracy is not generally defined as being net exploiters per se. And the workers are not conscious of when this theoretical point has been reached (as evidenced by JMP’s statement that workers in the United $tates are conscious of the belief that they are exploited, when in reality they are not). As we have argued elsewhere, while there are workers who are paid more than the value of their labor power in any country, it is a very different phenomenon in the Third World than in the First. And this is because class is colored by nation under imperialism. We see nation as the principal contradiction, representing the identity that is imperialism. So we find arguments against our global class analysis that do not address the national question to be lacking.
Let’s be clear, MIM’s third cardinal principle (MIM has long used 3 cardinal principles to distinguish its line from others calling themselves “communists”) is that “imperialism extracts super-profits from the Third World and in part uses this wealth to buy off whole populations of oppressor nation so-called workers. These so-called workers bought off by imperialism form a new petty-bourgeoisie called the labor aristocracy. These classes are not the principal vehicles to advance Maoism within those countries because their standard of living depend on imperialism.”
It is within imperialism that we find the qualitative difference that this labor aristocracy has with workers outside the imperialist core countries. It is not because First World people fought harder for higher wages, or First World companies are more democratic and offer higher wages, it’s not because white people are evil; it is the system of imperialism that puts some nations in a position of receiving surplus value and others of losing. Those who gain tend to support the system and those who lose tend to oppose it.
As an aside, settler-colonialism is one form of this, which defines occupied Turtle Island. While we welcome the surge in interest in dismantling settler-colonialism, we must recognize it as one form of imperialism. We find many who want to “de-colonize” without recognizing the global class structure for what it is. We also have those like JMP who acknowledge the economic structure of imperialism, but for some reason don’t think it changes who are our friends and who are our enemies.
While the academic economic models of Marxism may not inform the class consciousness of the labor aristocracy, relative deprivation does. And there is nothing that symbolizes that divide in relative wealth more than the imperialist country borders. Closing core country borders happens to be an issue that has garnered much support from the labor aristocracies of the United $tates and United Kingdom, as well as in France and Germany in recent years. Do Brexit and “Build the Wall” not symbolize enemy ideologies? Are the labor aristocracies of these countries wrong that open borders would prevent them from hoarding wealth in those countries? How does JMP reconcile this political reality with his dogmatic thesis of a revolutionary proletariat in the First World?
JMP asks, “is it implicitly”first worldist" to argue that there is a proletariat at the centres of capitalism and go out to organize, for example, miners around a communist ideology that is also anti-imperialist?"
Organizing miners in the First World against imperialism sounds great. But if you are arguing that they are the exploited proletariat who deserve more money, when they are actually benefiting from imperialist exploitation of the Third World, then you are not organizing against imperialism, are you? It just doesn’t follow that JMP sees the transfer of value in favor of a group from a system and then argues that that group is going to be opposed to that system. The question here isn’t primarily about who to organize, though certainly focusing on the right groups will get us further faster, but rather what to organize around that will push anti-imperialism forward. Perhaps the miners are allied with anti-imperialism for reasons external to income and raw value transfer, such as carbon emissions. To organize them around a radical transformation of our energy system being led by the international proletariat could be a form united front work, but not organizing the proletariat itself.
A Global Anti-Imperialist United Front
One thing we learn from this book is some of the differences between JMP and those who use the term “principally Maoism,” specifically the blog Struggle Sessions. Obviously one should read the latter’s writings to get their real views. However, one difference addressed is that the former sees the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) as the historical event that solidified Maoism, while the latter sees the Peruvian Communist Party as having done so alone and the RIM as a rightest deviation.
Our counter-history of Maoism was presented in our last response to JMP, where we get into the RIM in more depth and our arguments against the practice of forming a Communist International. While Struggle Sessions has some significant agreement with our critiques of the RIM and its role, they actively promote the formation of a new International, as does JMP. In this latest book, JMP concedes that the RCP=U$A sought to and to an extent did control the RIM. To be clear, we did not argue that other parties in the RIM did not have any independence or basis outside of the RIM, we specifically said not all members were revisionists. But those calling for U.$. intervention in Iran certainly were, and such a position should not be up for debate or tolerated among communists.
On page 86, JMP implies that MIM blames the RIM for the failure of the People’s War in Peru. That is not a position that we recall from MIM’s work at the time. Certainly they harshly criticized the RIM for its role in endangering the People’s War after the capture of Gonzalo. This was perhaps one of the most horrific actions in the RCP’s long history of anti-proletarian work, but JMP has nothing to say about it.
Our general complaint with the International model is that it tends to subsume one party under another. Mao fleshed out the theory and practice around the united front within China and learned through hard experience in relating to the Soviet Union, principles that we take to be universal, including the need for the leaders of each liberation movement to interpret their own conditions. To the extent that RIM was a think tank that allowed communists from around the world to come together and agree to the basic principles that defined the latest stage of revolutionary science, we would support such a project. MIM participated in such forums in its original form.
It was in the work of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that we saw the theory of the united front from Mao summed up and reproven in practice in their rectification campaign. This struggle waged in 1992 stressed the importance of the independence and leadership role of the proletarian party in the national liberation struggle. The decision of the CPP to not join the RIM reflects the recognition of the need for independence of each national struggle. This is a line point where we agree with the CPP against others in the international communist movement (ICM) who did join.
At the same time, MIM harshly criticized CPP complacency in pushing a revisionist class analysis within the United $tates. JMP argues that the global class analysis of MIM is rejected by all Third World communists of significance and this is evidence against our position. Yet, we have yet to see any analysis from any of these parties substantiating claims against MIM line; amounting to an argument from authority.
Because the Third World communist parties rightfully have more cred, many will presume they are right about this and follow their lead when they call for uniting the “working class” in North America and denying the national liberation struggles of the internal semi-colonies. The open and conscious rejection of MIP-Amerika’s analysis of its own country by certain Third World leaders, followed by their promotion of the integrationist line, was behind MIM’s decision to say that the global class analysis must be a dividing line question within the Maoist movement globally.
Without a communist international, comrades in the United $tates are free to combat incorrect lines being promoted from other countries and prove our line in practice. Despite whatever great accomplishments certain members of the RIM may have had, we think joining an international was a mistake, proven in practice once again, with the RCP=U$A-run CoRIM promoting revisionism at a crucial point in the history of People’s War in Peru.
MIM Thought also provides insights here beyond the general point of the need for independent development on the national level. An application of MIM Thought to parties in the Third World is that there’s more enemies than friends in the imperialist countries, and people from those countries should be treated as potential spies. PCP practice in expelling Non-Governmental Organizations from territories they controlled was in line with this.
Going back to the theoretical miner example above, we apply the theory of united front to unite all who can be united. And we can frame the global anti-imperialist united front within our global class analysis. We can look to the internal semi-colonies and the Third World diaspora as the most likely allies in the First World, without calling them proletariat. And we can win over sectors of the oppressor nation as well, just as in everything, 1 divides into 2. So we disagree with the implied criticism of our line that there is no real proletariat in the First World to mean there is no organizing against imperialism that can be done here. Certainly staying on the correct path will require an active eye on the Third World proletariat, which our movement has always stressed.
MIM(Prisons) continues to develop the mass line here in the belly of the beast. We continue to promote organizing against imperialism in a principled way that puts the interests of the exploited and oppressed at the forefront. And we challenge JMP, the supporters of eir line, Struggle Sessions or anyone else who thinks they can apply Maoism to occupied Turtle Island while ignoring that the vast majority of people here have a material interest in imperialism, to prove us wrong. Please, just don’t awaken the fascists in your attempt to do so, with your cries about the exploited Amerikan.
by a North Carolina prisoner August 2020 permalink
Revolutionary Greetings kings and queens. I be Almighty King AR93. In peace, in strife for our freedom is how I enter my presence into your atmosphere.
I am the founder of the Almighty In Revolution(A.I.R.) movement and the active leader of the “FMB” (or Free My Beloveds; or Fast Money Baby) chapter; East Coast Division. I’ve been striving to expand Beloved but a lot have been going on to which I’ve ended up reconstructing the movement.
We align ourselves with the 5 points/stars of United Front principles due to the fact the 5 stars (1) Peace, 2) Unity, 3) Growth, 4) Internationalism, & 5) Independence) are meant to create/build life. A better life! A life of freedom! Without A.I.R. there is no life. With A.I.R. unified/combined with these united front 5 stars I feel we can make a difference.
We all have a load of work to do to achieve our goals. But with peace, unity, growth, internationalism, and independence we can make a change or at least die trying. A.I.R. can’t do it by ourselves, which is why we are seeking to join forces with you. We also would like to unify with the bloods (Black Liberation Order Of Defenses in Society/Struggle) to which I need your assistance to obtain that stamp. By way of networking and communicating and addressing any situation with true facts and directly, we can diminish the divide and conquer tactics these pigz used against us (especially behind enemy lines).
I am writing to inform you of the Ferguson Unit’s mishandling of COVID-19, which is common throughout the state of Texas. One unit (Pack Unit) has a lawsuit on it already in court as I write this. I’m trying to get in contact with that lawyer to take my case too.
My cellie was the first one to test positive on July 6th. They came and moved him to solitary per policy. While the guards dressed in full PPE waited for him, I stood next to him in only boxers. When I asked, “what about me?” I was ignored. Do you think they moved me? Do you think they tested me? Do you think they even gave me a bar of soap to clean the infected cell with? No, to all. I filed a Step 1 grievance on it and you can guess how it came back.
To make it worse, they moved him into the cell with me after only 12 days of being quarantined. I filed a Step 1 on this – no response yet. I filed a Step 2 on the first part when I got a copy of the rules that they are suppose to be following: CMHC Infection Control Manual B-14.52.
“Offenders that are close contacts of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases should be placed in medical restriction.”
“Thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases spent time.”
“Offenders should be kept in medical isolation until at least 3 days (72 hrs) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath); and at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.”
You can see for yourself how they broke the rules. They didn’t stop there. They did a mass test of the unit, which is about 2,500 prisoners. Around 380 positives came back. They didn’t know what to do, so they cleared one row out here on B-block and housed some of them there with two and three row not having COVID! The block is already infested with rats and roaches. I mean, I got roaches crawling on me at night – it’s not a clean environment to begin with. I filed a Step 1 on all that too.
I’m not letting this pass. I’ve wrote the media, ACLU, and advocacy groups. The public needs to know how we are mistreated in here! Any help or ideas are welcome.
On 15 June 2020, swab tests for COVID-19 were performed outside East Block on what is called G yard. Donner’s 1st tier and 2nd tier (now occupied by a group of grade B condemned prisoners from the AC which is being used as a quarantine unit) are now waiting to see who got infected by the disrespectful sows too righteous in their own eyes to cover their snouts.
Since 29 May 2020 forward, less and less care is being seen. Trays went from having no lids to being paper without much if anything protecting them from any number of pathogens during food seizure.
On the morning of 15 June 2020 and throughout early afternoon, locking cuff ports were installed on holding cages. When asked why no plexiglass partitions were installed (because the cages are literally only separated by the grated walls they’re made of) the installer’s response was “they’re doing a lot of stupid things right now.” That rings truer than wanted.
New rules implemented 1 June 2020 got rid of CDCR 22 forms. The purpose of such forms was, according to DOM54.090.1 policy, to document communication between staff and inmates. By getting rid of a way to document communication between staff and inmates it opens up a trap door for things like grievances to fall through. It also shuts down any prisoner’s attempt to resolve problems in a timely manner that could and now will spin out into oblivion. Of course, CDCR must have another purpose for invoking “emergency regulations” as regards the appeals process (see 15 CCR 3084-3086 on http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/regulations/adult_operations). But CDCR hasn’t said what the emergency is concerning appeals and/or CDCR 22 forms. Why not emergency enforcement of 15 CCR 3052(e)(f)? Why not emergency training for disrespectful sows that don’t tuck their snouts into their masks?
On 16 June 2020 Donner condemned is allowed yard with 1/2 of East Block (one day after testing and before results). It turns out EB is getting fed with normal trays that have lids. When confronted, staff explained that it’s because the kitchen doesn’t want to chance spreading COVID-19. Nobody in Donner has tested positive, but 2 prisoners with “symptoms” were moved to the AC. Even still, how does serving food uncovered on a paper tray stop the spread of anything? The bullshit thickens.
On 22 June 2020, ABC News at 5 did a story called “Outbreak at San Quentin”. It did have snippets of testimony and video footage but it was edited to be misleading. It casts CDCR as being proactive and without cases until a transfer of inmates from Chino. Not only is that bullshit, it explains nothing about how death row prisoners became infected having no contact with those Chino prisoners. As of 15 June 2020, at least 30 of the other 300 reported infected prisoners at San Quentin are death row prisoners currently warehoused in Donner Section.
The virus will continue to spread out of control because of staff’s extreme lack of care expressed by their actions and/or reckless disregard for the health & safety of both themselves and others.
Today (23 June 2020) two of the disrespectful sows assigned to Donner RC (Busseman and Peters) began their daily asinine antics by first prepping the RC prisoner food without face coverings. Later, the same two handled the 5th tier’s canteen without face coverings or gloves. Then they handed it to each of the intended recipients. Prisoners continue to be put at risk when exposure is available. This outbreak springs from an extreme lack of care NOT Chino.
According to the news ticker going across the bottom of the TV screen, KPIX 5 reports over 160 death row prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 (as of 26 June 2020). More than 1/4 of all DR prisoners! In addition to not wearing their masks properly or not at all, the disrespectful sows assigned to Donner continue to follow orders to do other really stupid things which facilitate the spread of the virus. Death row prisoners warehoused in Donner take showers in cages with no way to be more than 3’ from the prisoner in the cage next to them. Here’s another example of stupid from the guy who built them. When drunkard Ron Denis was warden at S.Q. he decided to prohibit prisoners from using the yard showers. Rumor has it that the decision was in response to female employees complaining about seeing naked men. A stenciled sign was also posted on each yard prohibiting “bathing”. That reactionary mole only detracts from what would be an available option. Death row prisoners have been denied yard for 12 days as of 28 June 2020. However, a continuing lack of care blinds the S.Q. administration’s ability to see and implement common sense solutions. The present plan seems to be keep everyone locked in the units (health professions warned have such poor ventilation) until all prisoners are eventually exposed to a lethal dose of bullshit. Appeal #SQ-A-20-01123 recently submitted 29 March 2020 was due 29 June 2020 but continues to be ignored despite the issues cited therein being major contributing factors to the spread of COVID-19.
According to KPIX News (30 June 2020) a 71-year-old man on the row died in his cell last week from COVID-19. CDCR is now assigning blame to outside hospitals to further bury the fact its own employees NOT wearing face coverings correctly or not at all are willing accessories.
The same report mentions 40 prisoners have been transferred to an outside hospital due to COVID. Stepping up enforcement of Newsom’s mask mandate has been and remains a joke as “essential employees” such as Busseman, Peters, Alwhart, Costa and others “on assignment” for now or who returned after being infected themselves remain a vector refusing to properly wear or wear a face covering at all. Unfortunately, it is that same selfish attitude that has led to the sharp spike in this whole state - this whole country. According to every employee asked who returned after a bout with the virus, S.Q. is NOT testing for the virus prior to their return. These employees explained all S.Q. did was basic symptom checks without any requirement to actually test negative for COVID-19.
Now that CDCR says all its employees at S.Q. have been tested it seems as if quite a few of those employees think a negative test means you’ll never get COVID-19. But they could now get it (or give it) walking into any cell block. Here’s another illustration to help make this point more clear: on 15 June 2020 all death row prisoners being warehoused in Donner Section were swab tested for COVID-19. Those who tested positive could have been infected 2 weeks or more before the test was done - BEFORE the transfer of prisoners from Chino even arrived. Those who tested negative could have been infected while en route back to their cell under “hands on escort” AFTER being tested.
On 1 July 2020 Gov. Newsom said nothing about the skyrocketing cases of COVID-19 at S.Q. “Technical difficulties” prevented any questions from the media. The Gov. went on about contact tracing for a moment but the narrative surrounding the cause of the outbreak here remains fictionalized in the mainstream version of events.
On the same day, later that evening it was put out on the wire that another death row prisoner died. From what remains undisclosed at this time. Can Gov. Newsom put a moratorium on the Pestilence Pilot Program?
a CMF prisoner: From California Medical Facility (CMF) at Vacaville, CA, where we have no program.
So like so many Californians I watched the governor’s speech. Sitting in my 8x10 cell I watched yesterday as Governor Newsom spoke on the impact of COVID-19. The spiking of coronavirus in our state and the prison outbreak in California.
He spoke about coming out to Vacaville the day before to oversee the building of a tent city out on the yard. His project is meant to reduce the population of San Quentin State Prison due to out break of coronavirus and all the deaths there by moving them out. Implying the truth with out coming straight out and saying it, that they would move them here. Thereby, jeopardizing an already medically fragile community housed here at CMF, which is in fact a hospital. Most of us here are 55+ years of age with medical issues, many of which are the underlying medical conditions we hear them referring to all the time when discussing the COVID-19 pandemic. I wonder, is this the Governor’s plan to reduce the population of CDCR?
But reducing the population of CDCR by means of population control by euthanization through coronavirus?
They are expecting the virus to spread like wild fire here, now like it did at San Quentin. Even more so because of the medically fragile population here.
But when it does, don’t believe the lies and fairy tales that CDCR will put out on it, and Governor Newsom stories of caring about incarcerated populations. Because his actions prove otherwise.
MIM(Prisons) adds: One persyn recently told eir story of being released from San Quentin prison and dropped off at the San Rafael transit center, as is standard practice. After riding a bus to San Francisco, this persyn got off the bus with flu-like symptoms and passed out on a bench. Ey tested positive for COVID-19 immediately after release.(Snap Judgement on National Public Radio, 25 July 2020)
California, which began the pandemic as the good example in the United $tates, is quickly going downhill as capitalism demands business opens up to “keep the economy going.” Meanwhile, the San Quentin humanitarian disaster is an embarrassment for the CDCR across the country and in the global news. Yet, the staff still seem proud to violate safety procedures and endanger the people around them.
The sickness that is spreading throughout the population of the United $tates that is due to the COVID-19 virus is just a symptom of a deeper sickness that is the individualism and cruel sadism that has allowed the virus to spread so much more in this country than in others. It is no coincidence that this cowboy, settler, #1 imperialist country in the world sees itself as superior and invincible and enjoys inflicting suffering on others. These characteristics are required to keep imperialism going. Yet, this pandemic is an example of how these characteristics will be part of this empire’s undoing. They are intentionally spreading a disease among their own people, even as the oppressed and the imprisoned suffer disproportionately from their behavior. Recent events have only strengthened the oppressed peoples’ cries for organized resistance that serves humyn need. It is in these conditions that real leaders and servants of the people must act to bring us to a new stage of history.
In early March , at the beginning stages of the public information campaign regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, I was informed of preventative methods such as wearing a mask and hand washing by family and friends on the outside. I began to educate the other prisoners at Valley State Prison (VSP) of the pandemic and how the administration was trying to down play the severity of the situation.
I decided to exercise my influence by leading by example, so my first step was to create my own face mask, second step I wore it in public every time I got the chance. At first I looked and felt rather silly because I was the only one wearing a mask; not even medical staff were wearing masks. People were calling me paranoid and hypochondriac, they said it was not that serious and the virus would not come into prison.
One day while going to A-yard dining hall a really rude officer named Miss Avila stopped me and confiscated my mask and told me “Inmates are not allowed to wear a mask.” I was also warned by another officer that worked regularly in my building, that I was causing a hysteria among the prisoners by wearing my mask. He also said he believed the pandemic was just a hoax.
By the end of April, CDCR’s Prison Industry Authority(PIA) starts creating and distributing masks to all of California’s imprisoned population. Medical staff began to wear masks, but custody staff officers still refused to wear any masks. Officers would harass any prisoners not wearing masks, although it was hot and the masks were uncomfortable we wore the masks as a symbol out of solidarity we want to protect one another, in particular our elderly population and those with high risk medical conditions. But the officers still refused to participate with us by wearing a mask. On 24 April 2020 we united around a common interest as imprisoned lumpen striving to build a healthy environment and we filed a group Appeal L (602) Log# VSP-A-20-01089 with 12 prisoners and on 5 May 2020 a memorandum was issued ordering “All Staff” Mandatory wearing of cloth barrier masks by warden R. Fisher Jr. On 5 June 2020 our inmate appeal was partially granted and all staff was mandated to wear “cloth barrier masks.” I want to thank MIM for encouraging me to exercise my influence by creating a united front and helping me to turn my knowledge into political organizing.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This is an example of real leadership. Recognizing what the material needs of the people are, and sticking your neck out to lead by example in how to meet those needs. The people soon recognized this leadership and followed. This is just one of many examples we have printed in recent weeks of prisoncrats actively resisting safety measures to protect prisoners (and staff). This is everyday treatment of those in U.$. prisons, it just has more immediate relevance to the outside world because of the global pandemic. Supporters of United Struggle from Within join these comrades in these day-to-day struggles to say “Prisoner Lives Matter!”
Several weeks ago, Rayshard Brooks – a 27-year-old New Afrikan man – was murdered by the Atlanta Police Department at a Wendy’s at South Atlanta. Media reported that armed protestors have set up barricades at the Wendy’s which by then have been burned down and graffitied up with support for Rayshard Brooks’s life, the Black Lives Matter movement, and anti-police messages. On the 4th of July, it was reported that the 7 year old New Afrikan child – Secoriea Turner – had been fatally shot near the Wendy’s site in a car while with her parents.
Due to the tragic death of Secoriea Turner, and the violence that heightened at the 4th of July weekend among the Atlanta masses, Comprador-bourgeois representative Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms declared that the armed New Afrikans must be vacated from the Wendy’s. From then on, the organization Community Movement Builders (CMB) stepped in with regards to showing support and calling for a Peace Site at the Wendy’s. Here is the interview with CMB leader, Kamau Franklin:
1. The armed protestors in Wendy’s have been occupying the site since past several weeks. Have these protestors been part of the Community Movement Builders?
Actually no, these protesters armed and unarmed have been from the local community. They were inspired to act after the killing of Mr. Brooks. My understanding is that some protesters provided security because there were threats of white supremacist coming to the Wendy’s. We were just getting involved right before the tragic shooting of the 8-year-old girl outside of the Wendy’s. Our understanding is that there are competing narratives as to what took place. Which does not make the events any more tragic and has caused the protesters to expand their vision for the peace center to include the young girl.
2. On Monday of July 14th, there have been protests declaring to “Take Back the Wendy’s” and calling for a creation of a peace center. What will the peace center’s role be in the struggle against oppression and the goals of CMB overall?
The role of the peace center is to make sure that community control is established over that property and that Wendy’s is not allowed to rebuild another hamburger chop-shop, but instead something needed and valuable is established in the community. The center will create programing against violence and will at the same time highlight the American role in perpetrating violence on Black people and how we can stop it from happening. For CMB it is important for us that we continue to advance the call for liberated territory (places where the community is in direct democratic control of land, organizations and institutions) and against the corporate and development class with support from city officials who continue to treat working class, poor and Black people as expendable.
3. Mayor Bottoms has declared that the protestors should be cleared out due to the violence that happened in ATL over the 4th of July weekend and that she will no longer be “negotiating” with the protestors. How do you think the actions of “Take Back the Wendy’s” and the call to build the peace center affected this protocol by the city government?
Well the city was never negotiating in good faith. The city was stalling hoping the protesters would go away and or possibly maneuvering to take back over the space. It seems very disingenuous that Mayor Bottoms would hold a press conference with Turner’s family but has never done this is similar cases where people have been killed in senseless violence. Our goal is to keep the pressure on to force the corporate owners and the city to have dialogue over the future of this space.
4. A lot of the news media has covered the reports of CMB’s actions in the Wendy’s site. Has there been any misrepresentation of what the news media have been reporting? If so, what are some misconceptions that you would like to clear out regarding CMB and its actions on the planned peace center?
I think its obvious that the media was looking for violence to break out and was looking to paint protesters as violent. The idea of community control over space as opposed to the capitalist private land grab model is what the corporate media supports and elevates.
On 4 July 2020, 7-year-old Secoriea Turner was fatally shot with her parents present inside the car which she was shot in.(1) Her death has been widespread news in Georgia and has been a popular talking point on the discourse surrounding the oppressed’s action against the racial/national oppression of the United $tates today.
The scene of the incident was the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was murdered by the Atlanta Police Department (APD) on 12 June 2020. The leading narrative of how the shooting went down is that one of the armed barricaders of the Wendy’s had shot at the car that Secoriea was in.(2) According to Community Movement Builders – the Non-Government Organization who called for building of a “peace center” on the razed down Wendy’s site – there were threats of white vigilante-type organizations coming to the Wendy’s site and the local New Afrikan masses armed themselves to honor and defend the life of Rayshard Brooks.(3)
The Wendy’s barricade was started by the revolutionary spirit of the New Afrikan masses to defend themselves against amerikan chauvinism and so-called “white supremacy.” Members and supporters of the armed masses have burned down the Wendy’s murder site, and graffiti tagged signs of support for the broad mass movement of New Afrikans against occupying police and the life of Rayshard Brooks. Because the masses they were armed; because they received threats of amerikan chauvinist presence; and because of the APD’s presence in Atlanta, a barricade and check point was necessary. Tensions were high.
It is not crystal clear as to how it went down at the hour of the murder of Secoriea Turner, but we do know the broad facts: APD committed an illegal killing of Rayshard Brooks; amerikan chauvinist elements threatened to come to the site of Rayshard Brook’s killing; New Afrikans barricaded and armed themselves from police and amerikan violence; and a 7-year-old New Afrikan child has been murdered among the conflict.
Should Communists Condemn the Barricade?
When the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) implemented a campaign of bombings across Great Britain (primarily Northern Ireland) the masses of the Northern Irish people were tired of the violence from all sides. Out of the masses the petty-bourgeois/national bourgeois elements were especially tired. So the current and then would-be compradors and neo-colonial leaders of the Sinn Fein signed a peace treaty called the Good Friday agreement, in which they ended up condemning the so called “terrorists” of the Irish Republican movement and the violence coming with it.
In the Philippines today, a Protracted People’s War is being waged by communists organizing the peasants of the countryside. The communists have often been declared as the number one security threat by the fascist U.$.-Duterte government, and within the revolution there are elements of the masses also tired of the violence coming with revolution. The Communist Party of the Philippines have been active in calling for a peace deal in past years, but unlike the Sinn Fein of Northern Ireland which abandoned and condemned armed struggle, they did not call for the turning in of weapons by the New People’s Army and instead asked for the killings by the Duterte regime to stop in the cities and the red base areas of the countryside in which the communists had a “stronghold” in.
Both of these examples of calling for peace are from far away countries with different conditions than the ATL, but they are relevant as ever to the international fight against Neo-colonial tactics of imperialism. The violence that comes to the masses with revolution and the contradiction among the people are serious questions communists must be ready to solve in order to overthrow imperialism.
While we Maoists do see the death of Secoriea Turner as a tragedy and our hearts and condolences go out to her family and close ones, we do not agree with the neo-colonial New Afrikan “leaders” actions which have bulldozed the Wendy’s site and the paternalistic negotiation attitudes in which these “leaders” dealt with Community Movement Builders.(4) The comprador-bourgeoisie mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in fact alluded to the armed New Afrikans defending Rayshard Brook’s life and legacy as “the enemy within.”(5)
“We’re fighting the enemy within when we are shooting each other up in our streets,” said the comprador mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
“We’ve had over 75 shootings in the city over the past several weeks,” said Bottoms. “You can’t blame that on APD [Atlanta Police Department].”
Maoists do not blame the APD for those 75 specific shootings in the span of several weeks. But we do blame national oppression, the pseudo-communists’ inaction in building independent institutions among oppressed nation communities, and the lumpenization that came with the so-called “war on drugs” on the 75 shootings. And we take action to combat national oppression and lumpenization as well.
Going Beyond the Barricade
The failures of the barricade shows the limitations of spontaneity, and the necessity for an organized and self-reliant people’s institution designed to serve the people. There are dogmatic revisionist “Marxists” who claim that the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory of an organized vanguard to lead the people’s struggle and build independent institutions goes against the writings of Marx. These “Marxists” claim that capitalism’s decay will naturally rise the people up due to oppressive conditions. Even in the Third World where proletarians and peasants are the majority, and with the writings of Marx and Engels on the Paris Commune, we see that a proletarian power and proletarian state is needed to overthrow imperialism and preserve socialism. And history has proved that ultimately, political power grows from the barrel of guns. Maoists do not condemn the masses desire to defend themselves from white supremacist and fascist presence, and in fact applaud it. We just believe that it should be crystallized into a more disciplined focus of serving the people and building independent political power.
Notes: 1. Atlanta mayor says ‘enough is enough’ after girl fatally shot near scene of Rayshard Brooks’ death, 6 July 2020, CNN. 2. Ibid. 3. Greyhound, July 2020, Interview With Community Movement Builders On Their Recent Struggle On the Wendy’s Site, Under Lock and Key. 4. Atlanta Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed gets demolished, 14 July 2020, New York Daily News. 5. Ibid.
A California prisoner asks: “What are MIM’s thoughts on”Antifa" and what and who are Antifa? Any information you can provide will be helpful, thank you."
MIM(Prisons) responds: Antifa stands for anti-fascist, and it derives from movements in Europe that have a deeper history that we won’t attempt to address here. It’s primary symbol is a black flag and a red flag, symbolizing the unity of anarchists and communists of all stripes in unity against the fascists. “Antifa” is a generic term in the United $tates. There is no central organization, only local collectives. Anti-Racist Action is probably the most active formal group that is akin to Antifa in the United $tates.
The Antifa strategy is one of confronting various stripes of racists, white supremacists, fascists, etc. in the streets and in their communities. When such organizations make a public stand, especially when they organize marches, Antifa will try to make sure there are more counter-demonstrators and will attempt to shut down their actions. The long-time Antifa activists often focus on researching these groups, tracking down their members, doxing them and exposing them.
MIM has never been involved in this type of organizing. Strategically we think it focuses on a fringe element rather than the real enemy – imperialism. Imperialism is murdering people in the streets, locking them away and torturing them, bombing countries, starving whole populations and polluting the world. Fighting nazis in the street does not contribute to ending imperialism at this time. Nor does campaigning against Trump.
That said, if fascism gains traction in this country, then we need to assess when to shift our strategy away from imperialism as the primary enemy and towards the fascists. At that time we will certainly be allying with and relying on some of the knowledge of those that have been following these groups closely for years.
Why is Antifa in the News?
So why is this comrade asking us about Antifa now? Probably because President Trump threatened to declare it a terrorist organization, among other rants against them over the years. So why is Trump talking about Antifa? As the self-proclaimed enemies of all things racist and fascist, the various elements of the alt-right/dissident right/third positionists and racists in online forums have accepted Antifa as their enemy (more on these groups below). Donald Trump rose to popularity in part by following the media outlets associated with these movements and echoing their talking points, one of which is the danger and threat that Antifa poses. Many of these groups use videos of street fights and confrontations between their members and Antifa as recruitment material. (Antifa as such has little to do with the recent uprisings in the United $tates against police murders, though certainly many who work in Antifa groups participated in the protests as well. Trump’s statement falsely implied that Antifa was behind these uprisings.)
The President of the United $tates stated that Antifa is terrorism. In other words, he said opposing fascism should be illegal in the United $tates. Quite a bold statement. One that thankfully received strong rebuke from the majority of the state apparatus at the time. In response to that statement by Trump, MIM(Prisons) joined the calls in the streets that “we are all Antifa.”
Is Fascism on the Rise Due to Crisis?
Since the 2016 presidential campaign we have published a series of articles addressing the question of whether fascism is here, or on its way. An article we published in November 2016, arguing that the crisis that would trigger fascism just wasn’t there yet, ended with, “That being said, based on Trump’s statements and actions, if Amerikan capitalism was truly threatened by the oppressed internal nations, Trump’s open chauvinism would easily transition to far heavier fascist tendencies.”(1) Now in 2020 we had the broadest display of street actions, largely by oppressed nations, seen in most of our lifetimes, if ever in this country. And we have a downward trend in the economy due to declining rates of profit and exacerbated by a global pandemic. So we are in a crisis, and as the threat to Amerikan capitalism becomes more and more real, so does the threat of fascism.
Theoretically, fascism is always on its way in the advanced stages of imperialism. This is because of the inherent contradictions within capitalism that make it harder and harder to extract a profit from the circulation of capital. Without profit, the economy stops under capitalism. That is why the COVID-19 shut downs have been so disastrous. Under socialism, we could cut back production and shelter in place without threatening the future of the economy.
Denying this reality, one of the ideological leaders of the alt-right called on the Trump administration to just shut down the economy for a period and restart again like a long weekend. But capital must circulate, when it does not things begin to collapse like a house of cards. The amount of value being circulated in the realm of finance capital just got a shot of another few trillion dollars by the COVID-19 stimulus bills. This money was created by the Fed from thin air. Most countries would face a decrease in currency value and increase in consumer prices if they did this. The U.$. is depending more and more on international finance capital to come into the country to prop up the dollar and Amerikan consumerism. But if there is no profit to be had, that finance capital stops coming. The reason this hasn’t happened already is that the bourgeoisie is aware that a slowdown in finance capital circulation will lead to a collapse of the system like a house of cards. This is when the all out war option of the fascists becomes the only option.
Parasitism Begets Fascism
Another alt-right ideologue, has recently put out a video denying that fascism is capitalism in decay. Eir thesis is that if there was a crisis in profitability of capital that the system would have to go back to some kind of feudal system and greatly reduce production to restore profits. Since fascism in Germany increased worker incomes and overall production, ey argues this proves fascism was not a response to crisis. This logic sort of makes sense from the revisionist “Marxist” perspective that anyone employed is exploited and that profits don’t cross borders.
The MIM answer to why the capitalism in decay thesis is correct is in parasitism theory. Really, few would deny that Germany’s economic flourishing came from the literal and brutal robbery of land, resources and labor (through enslavement) of other peoples. But similar things occur in all imperialist countries, even if just a bit more “civilized.” We point this out to show how revisionism calling itself Marxism plays itself nicely into the ideas of fascism. And it is through the appeals to a populist class interest of the labor aristocracy that the fascists, social democrats and revisionist “Marxists” all bolster support for imperialism, despite their rhetoric against war or whatever.
Another thing all of these forces have in common is labeling things based on their form rather than their substance. Whether it’s the “Marxists” who see Xi Jinping as leading a socialist country or the fascists saying that Mussolini was opposed to the bourgeoisie, they are putting ideas, words and symbols above substance. They say, “see the leader said this, therefore ey couldn’t support that.” The capitalists, as a class, do not care about the words as long as the economic substructure is still functioning to produce profits. Mussolini (and the King) ensured that it did as does Xi Jinping today. This is the same reason why today every multi-national corporation is tripping over each other to put out statements on and make donations to Black Lives Matter. Yes, there are ideologues within the bourgeoisie, but the class as a whole, in order to continue on as a bourgeoisie, must ensure that profits keep flowing. And if stamping Black Lives Matter all over their website and social media feeds can assist with that, then call Jeff Bezos anti-racist.
Oppose Left and Right White Nationalism
The alt-right is actively extending olive branches to the left wing of white nationalism, specifically those they refer to as “Bernie Bros.” Some in the alt-right claim to have 90% agreement with such social democratic types, specifically in their critiques of capitalism and calls for populist economic reforms and a state that can deal with a global pandemic. Our saving grace right now in the United $tates is in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, as well as the struggles against ICE detention which has also rallied significant support in recent years. The outpouring of support for BLM has been surprisingly strong. Even if the multinationals are just motivated by profits, this is like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetime. Clearly they have recognized where the winds are blowing, and it is not towards the racism of the alt-right.
The fascists argue that they are an alternative to the neoliberal bourgeois order and the Marxist communist order – hence “third positionists.” But Dimitrov critiqued this misconception for the COMINTERN during World War II, stating that “Fascism is the power of finance capital itself.” The fascists argue that finance capital did not and does not support fascism in its rise to power. MIM added to Dimitrov’s thesis in 2005: “It is only the finance-capital dominated petri dish where fascism grows. Today, the labor aristocracy of ONLY the imperialist countries is the”main force" of fascism…“(2) So again, all the groups we mention above, whether”left" or “right” are organizing this class and activating them towards fascism by telling them they are the oppressed and they deserve more.
More on Class and Economic Systems
MIM and the COMINTERN agree on the dialectical nature of class struggle under capitalism as it relates to the phenomenon of fascism – that is that capitalism is identified in the contradiction and interdependence of two economic classes: the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. In this view, there are two paths, or two economic systems: capitalism (of the bourgeoisie) or socialism (of the proletariat). Other classes exist and have their own interests. But they will not shape history in their image. Our world today is shaped in the image of the bourgeoisie, and Marx explained why the future lies in the hands of the proletariat, those who have nothing to lose but their chains.
The petty bourgeoisie (including the First World labor aristocracy) doesn’t have an image for the world. Their ideology is that of the bourgeoisie, steeped in individualism. And because of their varying lots in life, their interests are varied, made up of little groups just trying to make capitalism work for them. They can be united in the nation-building project that involves their nation being on top. But even this will not elicit much sacrifice from this class as a whole unless conditions are quite dire.
When we talk about the labor aristocracy of the imperialist countries being the “main force” of fascism, we still agree with Dimitrov that fascism is the power of finance capital. It is finance capital that gives these tendencies real power. This truth can be seen when you investigate the organizations in the fascist realm. The most successful efforts to unite these petty bourgeois forces and use them towards real political goals are led and funded by millionaires, with access to advanced military weaponry and international connections to intelligence agencies. While there are many small, organic groups that are in this realm, the ones that pose a real threat really aren’t so organic.
Our comrades in prison can understand this dynamic, where it is quite common for white nationalist organizations to have “special” relationships with the pigs, to the point of helping to enforce for the state. Some of our comrades who have served in the military have also seen direct coordination between the military and local white nationalist organizations around perceived threats of oppressed nation rebellions. It’s the same in prison.
From the proletariat comes the true guerilla, who starts from nothing, and gains their tools and supplies by taking from the enemy oppressor. The guerilla does not start out with high-end military equipment, the guerilla earns it. And even before we get to the military phase, the true mass character of the communist camp is evident. Even in the bought off imperialist core, you can see genuine organizers popping up in all areas, fighting for similar goals, from a real organic desire for change and humyn progress. In the United $tates this is fed by the oppressed nations and by the youth and by all justice-seeking people.
The proletariat of the world must distinguish itself from the parasitic populism of the First World labor aristocracy. Antifa has not done this. Antifa is open to militant Liberals because they tend to see this as a battle over ideas in peoples’ heads and don’t have an honest class analysis of what is going on.
The alternative that MIM offers is that those of us in the imperialist countries are criminals that must reform our ways. That the rest of the world wants us to reform our ways and welcomes us in joining in building a new world based on internationalism, humynism and solidarity. The oppressed people of the world must guide us towards true internationalism and not make excuses for the backwardness of the bought-off populations. Amerikans still haven’t made right the crimes they committed against the internal semi-colonies of this land. That is being discussed in the mainstream today. But we still aren’t discussing making things right with the majority of the world that we have exploited, polluted and murdered for the comfortable lives we live here. This is what we see as pro-active anti-fascism. And it’s not about taking on some guilty complex for your ancestors, it’s about saying that you will not pass the exploitation on to your descendants. And this must be part of the current struggles of the oppressed nations here today, or else we will just end up with more exploiters with more diverse skin tones.
After reading your article i was moved to share some insight from persynal experience. Comrade, each locale is somewhat unique, yet there are universal tactics of organizing and consciousness raising that are applicable wherever.
My first word of advice is to be less focused on those who are oblivious. Some elements are comfortable simply languishing while their life is dictated by those outside of themselves or their class. Remember, the amerikkkan experiment creates such a phenomenon and these elements are not individually at fault for their slavish obedience. At least not fully at fault.
Comrade, there is a simple yet profound adage, “organize the resistant.” See, we want to be the mind behind an already loaded gun, not having to load the gun and also pull the trigger. Simply put, observe your peers. There will be rebels in every grouping. This rebellion won’t always be of the revolutionary variety, yet this is why as Maoist, scientific leaders we’re to be the brains of the operation. Influence these cats. Provide direction.
Looking at the current uprisings surrounding police terrorism and systematic racism you will identify your own place in the overall picture. See the masses are energized by their own blatant oppression. Such constant oppression, combined with the economic downturn spurred by COVID-19 has unleashed a justifiable rage against the machine. However, single issue reform groups such as Black Lives Matter, mislead and misdirect the resistance and energy of the masses.
This is where the Maoists are to step up and take our place in history. Where the reformers, and integrationists, who false-flag as revolutionaries, misdirect and mislead, it is our duty to properly lead and direct the resistance and militant energy of the masses. Take that rage and organize into revolutionary productivity. Feed their imagination by allowing them to envision a communist society. Provide concrete formulas and programs that will get us from point A thru B and all the way to Z (communism). When it is being laid out like such, and the masses see your sincerity, that’ll add on.
Now, coming back to the individual organizer/influencer level. Again, seek unification with rebels. Those who’re already fighting the power in some form or fashion. Not everyone writes grievances, nor does everyone have to. Do not get caught up in having political allies meet you on your terms, meet them half way.
Secondly, in Texas, like most prison systems, the lumpen organizations and tribes largely dictate the flow of the prison activities. Therefore as an effective organizer you should make it a priority to build some form of communication line with the most influential members of each group. When you step to them be sure to have an effective plan of action outlined, or at least the beginning of one. Seek their input. In this plan of action you should:
identify the specific problem you wish to solve
articulate how said problem negatively effects these potential allies
in your articulation, illuminate the reality of our collective identity as a prisoner class (this is important because it is the basis of your unity)
Provide a list of possible campaigns y’all may partake in collectively, while illuminating different specific aspects of your struggle, such as there are those who can/may write formal complaints, those who can aid with outside support, some who can aid in physical protest, etc.
Furthermore, specifically when it comes to grievance campaigns, realize that some times you have to do all the work. Write multiple copies of grievances and pass them out to people explaining what the mission is and make it easy for them where all they have to do is sign the paper. After a while, people will become inspired by your sheer determination and raise their own level of contribution. But never, ever, focus entirely on what is not being done by the masses. Instead focus on what you’re not doing to inspire their actions.
For example, you can come to the masses which surround you with something similar to this:
Announce the grievance campaign and what it’s about.
Set a number such as 100 as the goal for grievances on a set issue.
Write the master copy of the Step 1 yourself
Circulate it around the cell block, around the building, at education, religious services, etc
Again make it easy on them, provide copies.
Articulate a set plan of action beyond the grievance campaign. What is it leading up to!? Because, justifiably Texas captives have no faith in the grievance system and thus see it as pointless.
A good plan of action: organize grievance campaigns on all major issues. 1. new mail policies 2. new restrictive policy regarding funds 3. sanitation, etc.
Afterwards you should seek a federal investigation by the U.S. DOJ. The address is in your Texas Pack. Have all the participants mail in copies of all grievances, petitions etc.
Be mindful of the strict limitations of such an effort. The comrades at my locale have done this specifically and i’m currently awaiting the results of a federal inquiry. In conjunction, you may want to build off the unity and momentum by organizing actions that are more direct so to speak.
In conclusion, comrade, i hope some of this will be useful to you and others.
The film 13th was released on Netflix in October 2016, just prior to the U.S. presidential election. It is clearly an anti-Trump film, although it is not clearly pro-anyone else. In April 2020, Netflix released the film for free on YouTube. It has been abuzz lately as a “must watch” film in the wake of the George Floyd uprisings.
The title 13th gives the impression that the film will focus on the 13th Amendment, and we assumed it would push the narrative that modern-day prison expansion is motivated by profiting from prisoner labor. We also thought it would be a film pushing people to focus on reforming the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Longtime readers of Under Lock & Key have likely already seen pieces debunking the line that the prison boom was motivated by exploiting prisoner labor. With our expectations from the title, we were pleasantly surprised by the film.
The film first focuses on the 13th Amendment, and explains the South needed labor after slavery was abolished. Where once there were slaves, there were then prisoner laborers. The exception in the 13th Amendment which allowed slavery for people convicted of a crime was primarily economically-motivated. From there, the film tracks prison expansion, which really took off after the exploitation of former slaves had ended, in response to social movements.
How the title relates to the theme of the film may be in that the 13th Amendment satisfied a dominant need of the time – white Amerika’s economic need for Black labor – and white Amerika has been adapting to meet its needs at the expense of New Afrikans ever since. 13th spans almost two centuries of U.$. history, and draws attention to many ways Amerika has adapted to meet its needs, whether they were economic needs or social needs.
13th does touch on the topic of prisoner labor for profit for private corporations, but doesn’t overly focus on it. Is prisoner labor for private profit a bad thing? Yes. Being that fewer than one percent of prisoners are engaged in productive labor for private profit, should we focus on it with all our energy, as if it is the main push for prison expansion?(1) MIM(Prisons) would answer this in the negative.
There are some economic motivations for prison expansion in recent-decades, but not for exploiting prisoner labor. 13th spends quite some time exposing the lobbying group American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) role in prison expansion, as well as its present role in pushing for “community supervision” (read: ankle and wrist bracelet GPS trackers, and privatized probation and parole).(2) The economic interest in prison expansion is in job security for Amerikans, and state funding funneling into private corporations for services. There is a socio-economic benefit to Amerika in draining the oppressed internal semi-colonies of time and resources through expensive phone calls, long drives to visit families, and other exorbitant and arbitrary fees and expenses.
In the end, the audience is left with a call to remain vigilant to what’s coming next. It leaves the focus on ALEC and corporate influence in legislation. A take-away of 13th is that nothing has worked to get the white oppressors’ boot (or knee) off of New Afrika’s neck. Amerikkka just changes tactics, but the effect is the same.
That’s what we’re seeing today with the recent Black Lives Matter movement upsurge. We don’t need a less-funded Amerikan police force. We need New Afrikans to have their own police, and military, AND state to do as they please without having to cooperate with this clearly sociopathic Amerikan nation. On the whole, 13th affirms our view that prisons are primarily a tool of social control, and we will answer the film’s call to remain vigilant so Amerika can’t continue oppressing New Afrika any longer.
I would like to comment on one of the articles in the Spring 2020 No. 70 issue of ULK, page 20, “Feds Threatening First Amendment with New Polices” by a Federal prisoner. Here in the state of Virginia at the Greensville Correctional Center they’ve been doing pretty much the same thing, since about April 2017. We were advised that this was for all security level 2 and above institutions within the Virginia Department of Corrections.
Please find enclosed a copy of then Lead Warden Eddie L. Pearson’s memo relative thereof. I’ve highlighted the most relevant sections.
"The original envelope, letter and all enclosed contents will be shredded in the institutional mailroom….
“Offenders will be limited to receiving a maximum of three, 8 1/2 X 11, black and white photocopied pages front and back to include the photocopy of the envelope. Each item in the envelope i.e., photograph, newspaper clipping, drawing, each side of a letter, etc. will be considered one photocopy.”
A few years since being enacted in Virginia, these policies are now spreading across the country. This means that a lot of the educational materials and resource guides that MIM(Prisons) provides to prisoners of the United $tates are now impermissible for having too many pages or being two-sided (per new Federal rules). The departments implementing these policies claim to be concerned about drugs, when most drugs are being brought in by their own staff. The net effect is that people in prison have less information on how to combat the oppression they are facing every day.
Hello - Saludos y Respeto to all those in the struggle, the struggle is real. I must weigh in on the events unfolding in Southern Califas. Namely the two lynchings, the first in Palmdale CA, the second in Victorville CA. What do they have in common? Answer: the Sheriff’s Department! Both racist! Both departments have a long history of working together and as a political prisoner held in CDCR these are the same two departments that joined forces to try and silence my voice and bring down the AV Brown Berets.
Both Departments have deputies that are card carrying members of the racist Minute Men, the new KKK. And having shined the spotlight on this fact earned me a life sentence for crimes I did NOT commit.
And in both cases there is no doubt in my mind there is Departmental involvement. And nothing can surprise us coming from these two historically racist departments.
In both cases these were meant to send a message to the BLM movement against police brutality going across this nation right now, and to discourage it! The evil and racist regime in Palmdale has a long history of using these tactics to silence the voice of the PEOPLE. And if they can’t kill you, they will bury you behind the wall. And this will not stop until they are made to understand the world is watching and will hold them responsible and accountable for their actions. But the racism and prejudice is systemic NOT only in the Sheriff’s Dept. but also in City Government in the Antelope Valley and Silver Valley (The Sinister Valleys) to a mind-blowing degree.
My heart goes out to the families, friends, and loved ones of these latest victims of these Evil Regimes. I spent years of my life trying to expose the racist and criminal practices of these two partners-in-crime, it has come at a great cost. My family, my freedom, not to mention all my worldly possessions but I will NOT stop until justice has been done, and the Evil has been exposed; because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the ONE. In the end the TRUTH ALWAYS comes out! We must continue to move forward and not be discouraged!
LA LUCHA SIEGE!!! VIVA LA CAUSA!!!
(Justice for Ro Alvin Harsh)
MIM(Prisons) adds: Six lynchings, 5 of them New Afrikans and one Latino, have been reported on the heels of the recent uprisings against police terrorism.
Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old, New Afrikan man hung from a tree in Palmdale, CA is under investigation
Malcolm Harsch a 38-year-old, New Afrikan man hung from a tree in Victorville, CA has been declared a suicide by police and the family
Dominique Alexander, a 27-year-old New Afrikan man hung in a Manhattan park and was ruled a suicide by the police, who later said an investigation continues
a 17-year-old New Afrikan boy was hung from a tree in Spring, TX was ruled a suicide by police
a Latino man hung in Houston, TX was also ruled a suicide after family stated he was suicidal
Otis ‘Titi’ Gulley, 31, a New Afrikan transgender woman hung in a park in Portland, Oregon was ruled a suicide by police
I am enclosing a memo distributed to the captive population in response to the uprisings by the Americans’ oppressed New Afrikan population. It is claimed that their actions are not punitive, but of course that is clearly not the case. There is evident fear of the latent power of their oppressed nationalities confined within their prisons, as can be noted at the end of the first paragraph.
“As you are aware our Nation is facing difficult times as emotions run high and peaceful protests have turned into violently charged demonstrations. In an effort to maintain the safety and security of the institution, a lock down has been initiated. This lock down is not punitive. … However, we are committed to preventing any type of disruption from occurring, and I strongly emphasize any type of violent behavior will never be accepted or tolerated at this facility.”
MIM(Prisons) adds: This action by the federal government reveals the level of fear that they have right now of the oppressed nations and the youth in general in this country. Prison officials display the same hypocrisy as the police on the streets who have responded to peaceful demonstrations again and again with violence against people for exhibiting their First Amendment rights. Young people are coming home from protests permanently disabled. While thousands are being locked up.
As statistics on police murders and violence are gaining interest, we must ask what about the “peace officers” behind bars? How many have they killed? How many Black men are dying at the hands of the state where cell phone cameras are illegal? Where peaceful protests always face repression and there’s no videos to post online?
On 24 May 2020, the Republic of Aztlán (ROA) participated in the action at Lompoc Federal Correctional Institution that was organized by the families of prisoners. There was over a hundred people in attendance and everyone was fired up about this concentration kkkamp that holds their loved ones. The ROA came to support the families and to add our resistance to the pot.
Lompoc has the highest cases of COVID in the U.S. federal prison system. The main organizer’s own husband just got tested positive for COVID. So this is ground zero for the prison epidemic in the United $nakes. For this reason the ROA felt it important to go.
Upon arrival we noticed that the prison pigs were out in force. Lined up at the gates with cars parked as if someone may try to drive through the gates. They were definitely ready. The families were chanting slogans such as “Let them go” and “No justice no peace” …people were in overall good spirits. So it was very good to see that our energy injected a fire into the bunch. We soon had the mostly [email protected] families chanting “Free Aztlán!” with bullhorns and “Lompoc is a concentration kkkamp!”
Meanwhile we agitated the pigs with a bullhorn in front of the families by yelling things like “You’re a modern day Nazi!” and “Pigs are occupiers and terrorists!” They were very taken by surprise by how we addressed them and how the crowd cheered as we all got fired up really quick.
The ROA also used this opportunity to pass out leaflets of our Ten Point Program. We are a Revolutionary Cadre Organization that sees itself as an embryonic Provisional Government. We are a Government in waiting for the [email protected] Nation. Once a civil war pops off the ROA will be organized to step in and seize power for Aztlán. Raza, we need to organize on a bigger scale and transform our Lumpen organizations to see a bigger goal. Fuck controlling blocks, cities or states we should be organizing to gain independence and run a Peoples Government.
The ROA is here to politicize and prepare our raza for self determination in the truest sense. All power to the raza who sacrifice to take it!
Just recently, the national grievance petition that I drafted got published in several newspapers. Then our cell block got raided multiple times, and cellphones were confiscated. Well the C.O.’s put the searches off on my organizing and blaming me for the raids. As a result, a XXXX gang member stabbed me 5 times in the back with an ice pick. I am recovering fine but it just goes to show how far these fascists will go to shut me up.
Next, I would like to update you on these petitions. So on 8 May 2020 citizens in Raleigh, N.C. did a vehicle protest blaring horns, marching with signs in front of Central Prison in Raleigh & prisoners on the inside went on a 3 day hunger strike and refused to lock down at the facility.
On 9 May 2020 many protests broke out at the Neuse Prison inside and outside demanding N.C. prisoners’ human rights.
On 10 May 2020 women prisoners at NCCIW also protested on the inside while dozens of cars blared their horns outside of the prison in solidarity and marched in front of the prison until local police from two agencies were dispersed to break the crowd up.
Prisoners are tired of being restricted from writing to other prisoners of the opposite sex. Tired of paying $10.00 for prison rule violations, restrictions on who can send us money, life sentences and all the b.s. time we are being sentenced.
The example(s) set down by the “People’s Machine” still resonate today…within the hearts and minds of captives in particular, and conscious folk out in “minimum security” (Amerikkka!) in general.
The blood of our revolutionary martyrs still stains the ground in San Quentin, Soledad, Tracy, Attica, Angola, Jackson, Walla Walla, among others! Their spirits call out to us…“Avenge Us”, they say! Can we hear them? Truly?
Today being the day, 47 years ago! that the “Dragon” spit fire and in turn, ran out of the adjustment center…to a revolutionary death! The Amerikkkans thought that killing Comrade George, they would kill the movement…WRONG!
Granted…the system of capitalism has been quite active in circumventing our quest(s) for revolutionary change! As we ourselves have internalized “gangsta” delusional fantasies…and in turn, became cannibals of our own! Between the two lives the poor and oppressed masses! The have nots! starving for freedom…starving for justice…starving for equality! Just unsure of “how” to go about obtaining it?!
The fact that every issue of ULK that i have ever read has had at least one prisoner submission that referenced Comrade George, speaks volumes! At least to those who are truly conscious…These Brothas identify with strength in these torture chambers, where broken men abound! They want to be about more than lip service…it is on those of us who know, to teach! and lead by example!
Comrade George, W.L. Nolen, Bill Christmas, Khaiari Gualden, others unnamed, sacrifice their very lives for the cause of liberation! They waged struggle in service of all of us behind the walls and we owe them, period!
Today, i am deep in thought…examining my conditions and the cats i find myself imprisoned with. And I am working…regardless of what the Amerikkkans do to me: indeterminate SHU, death row, out of state moves, even death! i shall continually strive to be the example of resistance to those around me! Way i see it, i have absolutely nothing left to lose…but my chains! Life in a cage is unacceptable…to a “Black Cat”! i salute all of you Brothas in struggle with a clenched fist held high! Thinking of the beloved Comrade G. i have blood in my eyes! Power to the People!