As we prepare this issue of Under Lock & Key (ULK) we tallied results of our first annual fundraiser. We have chose the Fourth of You Lie as a time to ask you to donate to this independent media institution of the oppressed. Without prisoners’ support and contributions this newsletter ceases to exist.
Our fundraiser had some successes in that we raised the second most donations in a month from prisoners in years; the highest amount being in March 2021. So we are on the upswing this year. We got an even bigger donation from an anonymous outside supporter, which are much less common. Our goal is to establish regular contributions from more people, both inside and out. Whether you send donations monthly or annually, we want to know we can count on you.
Compared to the previous 2 month period we reported on last time, our donations from prisoners were less than half in amount and also less in the number of people donating. The number of donators these past 2 months was about average for recent years, and far less than years past when we had more subscribers. And once again, the vast majority of the total amount we received from prisoners came from established USW leaders. So we did not see much of a response to the fundraiser from our general subscriber list.
Of course, it’s never too late to donate, and you can still send in your 7 stamps to cover your 2021 subscription to ULK. Or 14 to cover someone who is indigent as well. As always, ULK is available free to U.$. prisoners, and we know that many do not have access to funds. If that’s you, recommend ULK to friends inside and out to build support.
This issue is coming out a little later than planned because of a few setbacks. With more supporters on the outside working on ULK we can make this independent institution a more resilient one. So please get involved if you can.
Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis by John Smith Monthly Review Press 2016
[Editor: The author of this review uses “southern countries” to refer to what we would call the Third World, exploited or neo-colonial countries, and “northern countries” to refer to the imperialist, First World, exploiter countries.]
The dominant trend in capitalism for the last forty or so years has been the relocation of production from northern to southern countries, where the vast majority of the global industrial workforce lives. It’s impossible to ignore the offshore origin of most of the commodities we interact with in the U.S. every day, and equally impossible to ignore the wretched conditions and dramatically lower wages that most of these southern workers deal with. What this means for the present structure and future of the global economy is less clear, and that’s where this book comes in.
There’s a lot in this book I won’t talk about that was nonetheless very interesting – Smith’s discussion of GDP and productivity measurements, his history of Marxist thinking on imperialism, and his in-depth discussion of the production of a wide range of specific commodities.(1) I’ll just focus on his main contribution, the value theory of imperialism, in which he incorporates and expands on Marx’s discussion of surplus value and Lenin’s century-old understanding of imperialism.
Surplus in Marx’s Capital
Smith’s value theory of imperialism begins with value, which is the amount of labor required to produce a given commodity. A capitalist producing t-shirts wants to churn out the largest amount of them in a working day, at the highest possible intensity of work, and with the latest technology. Out of the sale of the t-shirts he buys equipment, raw materials, and pays wages. These wages are the monetary expression of labor power, or what a worker is paid to show up at a specific time and place and put their energies and abilities at the disposal of the capitalist. In return, the worker can use the wage they get to buy a basket of goods to keep themselves alive til the next day. The amount of labor that goes into the production of this basket the worker needs can be called the value of labor-power itself, which under capitalism is a commodity just like clothing, pickups or rifles. The pile of shirts the capitalist gets to sell at the end of the day can be sold for more money than the wages he pays for the labor that produced it. To cut a long story short, Marx investigates this anomaly and discovers that there is a part of the day where workers produce enough commodities to pay for their wages, and a part of the day where the labor they expend creates commodities that just make the capitalist money. The labor that happens in this second part of the day is surplus labor, and the value of the commodities produced at this time is surplus value. This magically free labor is the beating heart of capitalism, and its pursuit and distribution are the core of all capitalist economic phenomena.
Marx discussed two main ways that capitalists in the 19th century would attempt to grab more surplus value.(2) The first he called ‘absolute surplus value,’ and it consists of extending the working day by either making workers work harder for the time they’re at work, or making them work for longer at the same or similar wages. The second path to more surplus is making the value of labor power (or the amount of labor it takes to create enough goods for a worker to survive) less. Marx called this second form ‘relative surplus value’.
Smith takes this basic account and expands it to an era Marx didn’t live to see and couldn’t have predicted – the transformation of the labor-capital relationship into a relationship mostly between northern capital and southern labor.(3)
North-South relations in Lenin’s Imperialism
Lenin’s book Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism describes a world divided into oppressor and oppressed nations, the competition of monopolies, and the trends inherent in capitalist development of this era that lead to ever more destructive bouts of violence. The need for more surplus and more profits drives capitalist firms beyond the confines of their home market, to seize and exploit foreign ones. Competition gives way to centralization and large monopolies, and the increasing integration of these monopolistic interests into the state makes war over colonies and their resources more and more likely. At home, the super-profits obtained in the colonies create a labor aristocracy, the size and influence of which has been debated basically for the entire hundred years since Lenin’s book first appeared.
Smith identifies a weakness in Lenin’s work, mainly that he doesn’t discuss or use value as a concept to explain imperialism.(4) The thing Smith attempts, after several chapters of setting up the data on the existence and persistence of wage differentials and trade relationships between northern firms and southern labor, is a synthesis and update of Marx and Lenin’s contributions.
Smith’s point is that the outsourcing of production has allowed capitalist firms to conduct what he calls ‘labor arbitrage,’ or buying labor power where it is cheap and selling the commodities produced where they can be sold dear. Thanks to innovations in shipping and communications technology, firms can seek out the cheapest labor and the most favorable environmental and labor laws (ideally, they want no environmental or labor laws) to churn out the most surplus value possible. This has driven the wage down below the value of labor power – workers in many countries are not paid enough to survive and have to make a living through wage-labor in capitalist factories plus something else, like subsistence farming or stealing. This is an extreme form of the relative surplus value extraction method that Marx discussed, or what has also been called superexploitation.
Additionally, the relationship between companies like Foxconn (which actually makes the iPhone) and companies like Apple (who first create a design that breaks in three years, then contract the production out and stamp a logo on it for 300% markup), or ‘arms-length outsourcing’(5), hides the exploitation and transfer of value from one country to another behind an apparently innocent market transaction. The vast majority of the profits, taxes and tariffs from offshored production end up not in the country where the commodity was produced, but in the country where the final seller of the commodity is headquartered. This is how Germany, a country that cannot produce coffee, makes dramatically more from its re-export than any country where it is actually grown.(6) Marx hints that this phenomenon, called ‘value capture,’ could exist theoretically, but Smith demonstrates that it is at the core of relationships between countries in today’s economy. There is also a lengthy discussion of ‘value chains’ or sequential input-output relationships conducted between firms that leads to the final commodity. A Zambian copper mine sells to a wire factory, which sells to a company that makes circuit boards, which sells to a car company who uses the circuit board to run an automatic transmission in a hundred thousand dollar pickup. The conditions of work and the selling price dramatically swell along the chain, to the point where the worker watching a robot bolt the circuit board into place makes more in an hour than the copper miner made in a month. But all labor really is equal. It’s not like swinging a pickaxe is an entirely different movement in Zambia or America. And it’s not like the people doing the swinging are any different either.
The Political Economy of Coffee
Smith provides a lot of concrete examples of how these exploitative relations between nations lead to permanent conditions of underdevelopment in southern countries, and vast profits in northern ones. Maybe the most stark of these examples is his discussion of coffee from the early part of the book. Coffee is only grown in southern countries, and it is almost exclusively processed in northern countries, where the markups can exceed four hundred percent. Wages paid in the coffee-processing sector, taxes from this business and tariffs on imports, all contribute to the northern economy in question (Germany, perversely for a country that can never grow coffee except in a greenhouse, is the biggest exporter of processed coffee) and rely on southern countries furnishing the raw material at a reliably low price, a price that ends up being a tiny fraction of the cost of the final product. In this case it’s clear not only how unequal the exchange is, but also how the entire chain of production in the northern country relies on the exploitation of other workers. Another writer on this subject, Zak Cope, estimates that the total transfer owing to this process of hyper-exploitation, markup and re-export, across all commodities, amounts to sixteen percent of GDP in northern countries every year.
What makes these conditions permanent is the persistently low price of the export for the country where the coffee is grown, which will not allow it to develop or move up the ladder to more capital-intensive forms of production that might be safer on the global market. An additional factor is politics, and the careful policing of the ability of southern countries to raise wages, enforce their own labor laws, hold northern firms to account when they commit crimes(7), and raise the price of their exports. In the case of Rwanda (a major coffee producer) in the early 90s, the political destabilization and genocide that occurred in the country was partially the result of the collapse of an international coffee-exporting agreement that attempted to set a (low) floor on the price of the commodity and provide some stability and guaranteed income for countries who rely on its export. Northern countries oppose any agreement that would make their inputs cost more, or make their value-chains dependent on cheap labor any more expensive. They can be more or less effective at ensuring this, in cooperation with the comprador bourgeoisie. A particularly galling example of this, from the textile sector, unfolded in Haiti in 2009 over the raising of the minimum wage of 31 cents an hour, which president Rene Preval eventually backed away from, after opposition from the U.S. Embassy and local factory owners.(8)
Whose fight, and who’s fighting?
What Smith doesn’t do is discuss the immediate political consequences of all this for us. On the last page of the book he says “together with their sisters and brothers in the imperialist countries, [southern] workers have the capacity, the mission and the destiny to dig a grave in which to bury capitalism.”(9) It’s a little too convenient, and maybe in the future he can discuss the history of this elusive internationalism. Whether workers in northern countries fight actively or consciously for this super-exploitation to continue, whether and to what exact extent different groups of workers in northern countries benefit from this arrangement of production, whether workers of the world can unite and what they could accomplish if they could, are all questions Smith doesn’t answer. MIM would argue that workers in northern countries clearly benefit from imperialism, and seek those benefits in an alliance (an alliance that might have some rough spots now and then) with the bourgeoisie of their own countries, and are thus not a mass base for a revolutionary movement but instead a labor aristocracy. Changes to all of these relationships – between northern and southern countries, and between workers and their bosses, north and south – will drive changes in the political economy John Smith’s book goes a long way towards helping us understand.
Notes: 1. pp. 13-34 2. p. 237 3. p. 12 4. pp. 225-230 5. p. 68 6. p. 31 7. It always helps when the law in northern countries maintains a fictitious barrier between a northern firm relying on exploitation and those they exploit. A recent extreme example is the Supreme Court’s ruling that the slave labor of children used in harvesting product for Nestle under conditions the company controlled wasn’t technically the company’s fault. See: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/17/supreme-court-rules-in-favor-of-nestle-in-child-slavery-case.html 8. Dan Coughlin and Kim Ives, 1 June 2011, WikiLeaks Haiti: Let Them Live on $3 a Day, The Nation. 9. p. 315
“From an organizers perspective, [struggling for quality-of-life reforms such as increased phone access] are not battles which we can effectively push anti-imperialism forward, much less MLM…”
The author cites a failure to apply the materialist dialectic, or the ‘science’ behind scientific socialism, to the situation at hand. When viewed in isolation and out of its proper context, the conclusion that they have reached would certainly be a commonsense position to take. And as they write a little further on:
“How can we then deem that prison struggles aren’t aligned with anti-imperialism?”
Yet if the quote being critiqued were analyzed in its totality, we can begin to see more nuance and why such a statement was made in the first place. So to continue where the partial quote left off:
“…without veering into reformist practices of little tactical or strategic value. I am aware that arguments of principle can be mounted to the contrary, but absent a practicable, totalizing strategy for revolution domestically being put forward by an MLM organization that is actionable in the here-and-now, we cannot effectively utilize many of these prison struggles as a proper springboard to corresponding actions in other areas, actions which do not translate into long-term pacification which benefits their prison administration in an objective, cost-to-us, benefit-to-them analysis. If we cannot muster the resources and external manpower to mount a facility or state-specific campaign for a tactical reform to push our agenda and continually imprint firmly in the minds of all incarcerated that we have their best interests in mind, it may be advisable to abstain from participation lest credit for the reforms go elsewhere and become politically-neutered, or, worse yet, the system co-opts the struggle as its own and touts its successes (ie. The First-Step Act). Otherwise, we are gaining no more than sporadic traction amongst those we are attempting to revolutionize, and then only of a transient nature.” (emphasis added)
As mentioned earlier, there is a nuance to the position I have taken that is obscured in comrade Triumphant’s approach to mounting an argument on principle, and that in itself constitutes an incorrect and unscientific approach to proper discourse. Quoting someone out of context may buttress a particular argument or agenda, however arguments begin to lose their strength when quotations are re-situated in their proper place. You ask, ‘how can we then deem that prison struggles aren’t aligned with anti-imperialism?’, but who has or where has such a view been advocated in the first place for this allegation to be made? As you can see, the position put forth in the original commentary advocated not an abandonment of revolutionary struggle within prisons but rather its placement within a more explicitly revolutionary framework. Refining our approach does not imply an abandonment of all struggle just to focus on study.
It is agreed that the materialist dialectic can be applied in all manner of social phenomena, and the Amerikan injustice system and the struggle between prison staff and the captive population are no exception. But the real question is, should it be applied in this particular instance in the manner which the Team One Formation, K.A.G.E. Universal and others have done thus far – that is, pushing for minor reforms largely divorced from a wider revolutionary anti-imperialist agenda resulting in pacification once concessions are made? I would argue that advocating for these various minor reforms to address the prison masses immediate needs can be classified as (presupposing these formations desire revolution or claim communism as their goal) right opportunist deviations.
Right opportunism is an error in practice that occurs when an organization attempts to embed itself in the masses and in doing so gives up a clear revolutionary program in the interest of fighting for immediate demands. This leads to economism/workerism (or in this case ‘prisonerism’), which is the purview of reformism: solely focusing on economic demands (economism), or the demands of prisoners.
You write that “quality-of-life reforms are connected to the strategy of cadre development.” Now can experience be gained in how to train cadre and organize people while doing this? Sure, but similar things can be argued about improving one’s marksmanship and related skills acquired while employed as a cop too. While a rather extreme analogy, what I am getting at is that productive skills can technically be derived from incorrect practice. Yet the question for both scenarios remains the same: Is there a better methodological approach to training cadre?
It is a laudable desire to want to avoid being all ‘study’ and no struggle, but if ‘struggle’ leads a group to avoiding, obscuring or watering down their politics in order to attain their demands, then that is not getting us any closer to our desired results. As MIM(Prisons) notes:
“We can also say that only focusing on the reformist campaigns, without the larger goals, is not going to change anything in regards to ending oppression and injustice.”
It is encouraging to see that in consequence of previous organizing experience comrade Triumphant has pledged to focus on “reorganizing of the TX Team One under a clearer program and a better understanding of what our strategic and tactical goals are.” This statement also aligns with what this comrade wrote in the November 2020 USW organizing update in reference to the reformist practice of the Prisoner Human Rights Movement (PHRM):
“unless anti-imperialist, revolutionary nationalist and/or communists take hold of this movement and see it as a tactical operation instead of a be-all end-all and thereby re-center the movement, it may only further ‘Amerikanize’ the (only) vastly-proletarian revolutionary sector of society we have (lumpen in prison). That could occur if cats become pacified with all these tokens and reforms that have been struggled for.”
But just because we re-center a movement along these lines and dress future demands to the state in sufficiently ‘revolutionary’ language to avoid the perception of reformism does not mean that we are actually avoiding these same pitfalls.
Here I will argue that even with an explicitly revolutionary program guiding us in the struggle for tactical reforms, we can still be susceptible to a sort of unwitting crypto-reformism if our struggles are not chosen very carefully and with the correct tactical, strategic and narrative approach. In the original commentary I wrote that
“we should not be trying to ‘improve’ Amerikan prisons, much like we should not be attempting to cut a bigger portion of imperialist profits from Third World super-exploitation for the lower class, yet still relatively privileged, citizens of empire.”
This statement meshes with your desire not to have strictly-reformist campaigns “further ‘Amerikanize’ the (only) vastly-proletarian revolutionary sector of society we have.” Of course our current approach differs strategically from the reformists but, noble intentions aside, it is still having the same overall effect in practice: we are inadvertently pacifying individuals, making them complacent sleepwalkers again. You may probably think: ‘Bullshit. We are teaching the masses not to fall for any old reform, that these are ’tactical maneuvers’,etc. And you may very well be able to indoctrinate a core of cadre to hold strong to a political line which promotes this view. However, if we view matters through a historical lens, when concessions from the state were achieved via a revolutionary stage of struggle these victories largely blunted the sympathetic masses desire to seek further redress by way of revolutionary means. Whether that be (to cite a non-Maoist, yet anti-capitalist example) during the peak of IWW organizing a century ago, the transient successes of the anti-revisionist New Communist Movement era or our current campaigns to ‘Abolish the SHU’ and ‘Release the Kids in Kages.’ Our ‘successes’ end up serving as a pressure-release for many and creating a ‘kinder, gentler machine-gun hand’ for our opponents to use against us, akin to replacing the arrogance and political incorrectness of Trump for the soothing reassurances of Biden.
From the commentary of the same USW organizing update from November 2020, you write that
“from an anti-imperialist perspective, the PHRM is only a tactic, a means to an end. That end being, sharpening the contradiction between oppressed and oppressor nations, and advancing the oppressed aspect of that contradiction.”
But how do we really expect to sharpen the contradiction between oppressed and oppressor nations and advance the oppressed aspect of that contradiction if we are actively participating in the lowering or resolution of the contradictions which heightened tensions in the first place? There is a periodic ebb and flow of the revolutionary tide in this country; why do we by way of our current tactical, strategic and narrative approach inadvertently help turn an upswing into a downturn? Of course the inherent contradiction in (note:their) Amerikan society will never truly go away absent revolution, but we are in the meantime attempting to apply balm to their societal problems and in effect delay its arrival.
Circling back to the arguments put forth in ‘An Ongoing Discussion on Organizing Strategy’, you bring up a good question when you write that
“the real crux of the issue, as it pertains to linking a totalizing revolutionary strategy, lies in practical experience gained by the masses in asserting their collective power. For, how will we seize state power if the people lack the strategic confidence to assert their power?”
As my position does not advocate pushing for more quality-of-life reforms even if there happens to be some positive by-product in cadre development, my reply to this question is that we should re-orient our tactics, strategy and narrative approach to the masses by over-emphasizing self-reliance and independence-mastery on the road to communist revolution. Therefore we should largely abstain from trying to prevent erosions of their bourgeois legal rights such as affirmative action, LGBTQ rights, abortion access, etc. and, if we are to engage in any tactical reforms to begin with, instead focus on opposition to proposals to place limits on magazine capacity, bans on assault rifles and other perceived or actual threats to their 2nd Amendment and other measures which will aid in our ability to maneuver and take them down when the time comes. This of course does not mean that we don’t support LGBTQ rights or abortion access, but fighting for their (re:Amerika’s) civil liberties and other bourgeois rights keeps many, including some well-meaning comrades, from seeing the bigger picture: Let their country go to hell. The Amerikan government will not become any less imperialist by advocating for more rights for more people within U.S. borders and it is debatable that we are contributing to anything more than a temporary weakening of imperialism domestically. If anything we are contributing to its further consolidation under the guise of new exploiters with more varied genders, orientations and skin tones.
Our cadre and the masses will gain practical experience and strategic confidence in their power by continuing to focus on construction of independent institutions, not making demands of an illegitimate government to provide redress. In the prison context, I repeat: “if we are to engage in any prison organizing, then censorship battles concerning our political ideology, the UFPP and the Re-Lease on Life programs should take center stage… As for our comrades who do not have the luxury of a release date, or have sentences which essentially translate into the same, their best hope for release lies not in reforms but with an all-sided MLM revolutionary organization planning their release through eventual People’s War.”
Bypass the reforms which do not help us either strengthen our party/cell formations, build independent institutions for the people or hasten People’s War.
Say ‘NO’ to negotiations; focus on revolutionary-separation and self-determination.
Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: I want to thank Triumphant and S. Xanastas for their thoughtful articulations on this topic. And i hope that printing these in ULK are helpful to others in thinking about how to organize effectively under the United Struggle from Within banner or on the streets.
In my many years of working on this project i would say this two-line struggle is really at the heart of what we do. Of course, how we walk the line between ultra-left and rightism is always at the heart of those deciding strategy for a communist movement. But these comrades address this question in our context today in the United $tates and in the context of organizing the First World lumpen and engaging in prison-based organizing.
In all contexts, going too far left means isolating ourselves from the masses and going too far right means tailing the masses and following them into dead ends. Therefore finding the correct path also requires determining who are the masses in our conditions. If we did not agree on who the masses are then we could not have this discussion in a meaningful way. Since we do agree, this is a two line struggle within our movement. With that frame I want to quickly address a couple points brought up here.
First, I think the strength in Triumphant’s argument is not in the skill-building of the individual cadre leaders as organizers, which arguably could be found elsewhere, but rather “in practical experience gained by the masses in asserting their collective power.” Triumphant also talks about the importance of the tactical battles in “increas[ing] the collective practical experience of contesting the state as a united body.”
S. Xanastas’ suggested program echoes closely to what Narobi Äntari’s calls for comrades to do upon release. And they echo much of MIM(Prisons) focus, especially in more recent years. Yet, i pose the question: can building the Re-Lease on Life and University of Maoist Thought programs mobilize and reach the masses in the same way as the campaigns making demands from the state?
And one final point, is that MIM always said the principal task was not just to build independent institutions of the oppressed, but also to build public opinion against imperialism. Isn’t a campaign exposing the widespread use of torture in U.$. prisons an undermining of U.$. imperialism regardless of the maneuvers the various states make to cut back on or hide their use of long-term isolation? Or should we focus solely on the Third World neo-colonies and expose U.$. meddling in Ethiopia, Cuba and Haiti?
One thing we heard from those saddened by the police murder of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was that she didn’t get to have a childhood.(1) While nation is most certainly the primary factor that led to the cop, Nicholas Reardon, shooting Bryant, we think gender oppression, and in particular youth oppression, had a lot to do with Bryant ending up where she did on that fateful day.
When people speak of being able to have a childhood, we may think of a time of fun, carefree play, no work, no oppression, etc. Of course most people in the world don’t have much of a childhood in this sense. But in the United $tates many do. So already we see there is some hierarchy involved in this idea of having a childhood, at least under imperialism. We see this hierarchy as the realm of gender because it is a question of leisure time and not labor time, which is the subject of class (see Clarity on What Gender is). But there is also the question of why we must separate our lives into periods of fun and play and periods of work and oppression? And why do we have oppression at all? And how did work become a bad thing?
To answer these question briefly, the relations of production under capitalism are what alienates people from their labor today, so that they feel their labor time is not their time. But as “adults,” most must spend the majority of their waking hours in labor time. While some people want those like Bryant to have the purist, most care-free childhood as possible, we are working towards a whole life that is enjoyable and fulfilling. And we doubt that is possible without a healthy dose of productive labor. The exclusion of children from work for over 100 years in the United $tates has left them with no productive role to play in society, leading to alienation and lack of worth.(2) This alienation and lack of self-worth is reinforced by abuse, and leads to destructive behavior.
As Greyhound points out in eir article on Ma’Khia Bryant, the Soviet Union provided family for orphaned youth through the productive life of the commune. The communes did not work kids to the bone to squeeze out the maximum profits as the capitalists once did in the United $tates, and still do in most of the world. Below we look at some attempts by capitalist Amerika to provide for youth and why they cannot get at the source of youth oppression as well as socialist experiments that have.
Child Credits Pay the Patriarch
With sheltering-in-place during the pandemic and no in-persyn schooling for most children, the question of childcare has received much attention in the United $tates. The answer from the bourgeoisie came in the form of child credits. Amerikan families began receiving these payments in mid-July 2021, for a total of $3000-3600 per family over the next 6 months.
These credits are a market-based attempt to address the problem of adults in the nuclear family spending large sums of money to have their children cared for when they are working or otherwise occupied. These credits put more power in the hands of the adults who get the money over the lives of the children who qualify them for these payments. Money for those who struggle to make ends meet can certainly mean less stressful conditions for their children. The logic makes sense, it is just a backwards, half-ass approach. By the 1960s in socialist China, all children had guaranteed care that was collectively run and offered ways for youth to voice their concerns and avoid abusive situations. This was in a country where a decade or two earlier children were basically sold into slavery. This is the kind of radical change the youth need, that a profit-based system can’t provide.
Punishing Sex Offenders to Save the Family
It is very evident that affection, support and trust in our lives as young people have significant effects on our health throughout our lives.(3) Lack of positive social relationships and experiences has been linked to drug addiction and correlates strongly with imprisonment. Therefore this is a topic very dear to the hearts of many of our readers.
One way we see this manifest in a more reactionary politic of the imprisoned masses is in the strong, often violent attitudes towards sex offenders in prison culture. This sentiment exists outside prison of course, but became part of the prison culture because of the concentration of convicted sex offenders there. As we’ve addressed in the past, this reactionary politic is problematic on the one hand in that it is allowing the state to decide who our enemies are, that in many cases the actions that led to these cases are mild compared to many non-sex-offender charges and in some cases the people are completely innocent.(4) In the United $tates, white males and females, as a group, have treated the Black male as a sexual animal that must be controlled, sometimes by fake rape charges and imprisonment. In other words, some who are convicted as sex offenders are actually the victims of gender oppression, as well as national oppression.
A second reason we say the anti-sex offender politic is reactionary is that it doesn’t offer any real solutions to the problem of the sexual abuse of children. It is an example of why MIM always opposed the slogan “Think global, act local.” If you think globally about this problem of child abuse, and act locally by ostracizing or even attacking those you come in contact with who have (or who you believe have) abused children, you haven’t changed anything if the patriarchy remains. You can confirm this with crime statistics, or just the fact that we live in a society where we know this problem is still prevalent.
Addressing child abuse requires systemic change as the Chinese instituted during their experiment in socialism. Young people need a different system that supports them with things we know people need to grow up healthy; mentally and physically. These things can not be offered on conditions or the whims of one or two adults who control the child’s life. As they say, “it takes a village to raise a child.” And people who are serious about reducing child abuse need to work to build those villages and build them in ways that give young people full access to information, a wide variety of adult support people, including those in power, and access to other youth without the interference of adults. The village should also give repercussions to youth for “bad behavior.” These repercussions should be consistent in order to provide the youth with social guidance and never be used by individual adults to get what they want from children or to take out their frustrations from a bad day. The oversight of a more village-based model must prevent adults from doing such things.
What the bourgeoisie offers in place of the village is more cash to the patriarch. These cash incentives make single-parent homes more viable. But single-parent homes are some of the easiest places for adults to molest and abuse children.
The reactionary approach to child abuse (imprisonment and violence) also reinforces the patriarchy, where strong adult men must protect youth from other adult men by physical assault. One critique of this line points out how it views the rights of children the same as the rights of animals in that they must be granted and enforced from the outside.
“pseudo feminists… [accept a] zoological implication that child abuse is going to go on forever, as if… child abuse were inherent in the humyn species, and at the same time external to humyn social relations, like animals.”(5)
The Maoist counter-point then is that child abuse is a humyn relationship that is found within the patriarchal family structure. It is part of the central problem of oppression of groups of people by other groups that we aim to resolve through ongoing revolutionary struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Rather than punishing sex offenders to save the family and “protect our children”, we must replace the nuclear family with communal child-rearing, and empower young people to criticize others in order to stop those who might try to abuse children.
Putting child care in the public sphere will do a lot to undermine the conditions of child abuse. But it does not eliminate the biases of the adult population, especially those that grew up in the old capitalist ways, from miseducating or mistreating youth as a group. And we know that institutional living like group homes and prisons, where many adults are involved in “care” for the youth, are rife with abuse. For these reasons youth must have ways of coming together as a group and voicing their interests as a group, even enforcing their interests as a group in contradiction to the adults that they depend on. l Ruth Sidel produced an in-depth report on Women and Childcare in China as well as in the Soviet Union and the kibbutz in I$rael. In one Chinese school, when asked what you’d do if you found a sick child on the street, a 6-year-old child responded: “i’d bring them medicine and water.” Sidel was surprised the child would not find an authority figure first.(6) What a striking difference in world views between socialist children and how most of us grew up in this country. These children still spent most of their days singing and playing and doing things that we all did in school. Yet, they were taught differently, taught to act and be self-empowered as soon as they were able to physically complete the tasks that might be demanded of them, like bringing another child water, or possibly organizing resistance to an abusive adult.
Some reading this will find the youth helping other youth not so strange because they raised their siblings at a young age. This is another way that peoples’ “childhoods are lost” in our culture; having to take care of other children as a child. It is not that care for those younger than you is inappropriate to carry out as a child, but that you need the support of a community to do so in a way that is not oppressive to your own life and most supportive to those you help care for.
According to the story from Ma’Khia Bryant’s grandmother, the conflict that had occurred among two groups of foster children was over perceived disrespect to the foster mother due to the lack of chores getting done. Most likely the situation was more complicated. But we see how there can be a disagreement over the labor responsibilities of members of a family that leads to violent conflict. This would be very unlikely when people have clear responsibilities, clear and consistent consequences that are enforced by the group for not meeting those responsibilities, and ways to communicate up front with both adults and youth about the roles and treatment of others.
The Roles of Youth in Society
In discussing Ma’khia Bryant’s childhood, we must address the fact that she was 16 years old when she was murdered by a cop because of this conflict. Other 16-year-olds in the area could have banded together to take revenge on Reardon for shooting her. Most members of the Black Panther Party joined in their teens. Bobby Hutton was murdered by the pigs emself at age 17 while on an armed patrol of the police. Sixteen is much more physically developed than six, and would mostly only be limited by legal restrictions like being able to drive or purchase fire arms.
Fifteen was the age when members of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejército del Pueblo(FARC-EP) could engage in armed actions.(7) As the struggle of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front(EPLF) advanced, they established the Fitewerari to train male youth 14 to 16 years old and females of all ages. They found that training the adult females separate from adult males helped in both groups overcoming the traditional gender roles they had been inculcated with. The youth did not have these challenges, at least not to the same degree.
“In addition to literacy education, political and military training, and running their daily affairs, they participate in production, adhering to the EPLF’s correct revolutionary principle of ‘integrating education with production.’ They practice criticism and self-criticism to rectify mistakes, develop work and strengthen comradely solidarity. Upon finishing training, they are assigned to the different EPLF units and departments to carry on the struggle on all fronts.”(8)
Much has been put into the idea that a humyn’s prefrontal cortex is growing rapidly up until about age 25. The implication being that you can’t quite trust the judgement of those under 25. But this is only one data point, of a biological phenomenon we still barely understand. And along with this data point comes some implications in how younger people are willing to go against the status quo and can change their ways faster. We look to history, to see the transformative power of youth movements, rather than follow current trends in biological determinism based in preliminary studies of the brain.
Towards a World Without Oppression
When Maoists talk about gender, we are talking about a system of power in the realm of leisure time; the patriarchy. In that system, youth are generally part of the gender-oppressed. Though in the imperialist countries, they are likely part of a gender aristocracy, a child aristocracy, particularly those who have access to the idealized carefree childhood.
Similar to the wimmin in bourgeois society, the bourgeois children are relegated outside of labor and exclusively to leisure time. This leisure time is meanwhile structured to serve the pleasure of the man and the interests of capitalism overall. These groups being relegated to leisure time reinforces the divide between leisure time and labor time in society mentioned above. This is one reason why it is hard to imagine undoing gender hierarchy without first undoing capitalism, which would eliminate the sharp divide between labor time and leisure time. Through this process, gender will cease to be so separate from class struggle as it is in the bourgeoisified First World countries. Then our lives as individuals will be more complete, as will our communities.
Youth liberation is part of and dependent on the struggle to end capitalism and imperialism. Youth don’t need more paternalism, they need a supportive village to learn from and the freedom to self-actualize themselves without the fetters of oppression that shape our lives today.
“There is nothing mystical, elusive or hidden about real working class consciousness. It is the political awareness that the exploiting class and its state must be fought… that the laboring masses of the world have unity in their need for socialism…” (J.Sakai, Settlers)
It is hard for some to accept that only through an actual revolution against this government and its imperialist allies can this world even hope for peace. In addition, any building, calls for unity or worse still, claims of socialism or revolution that is not in the service of this objective is actually in the service of capitalism-imperialism, i.e. counter-revolution.
Mao said: it is only when there is class struggle that there can be philosophy. And to discuss epistemology apart from practice is a waste of time. Additionally it is only through social practice that we can talk about correct or incorrect ideas at all. Recently bourgeois media have made a big deal of gun violence which is an obvious response to BLM and Defund movements. Additionally, we are all aware of the unprovoked attacks on Asians and now the media and politicians are demanding Cuba not crack down on protest and a promise to keep an eye on Haiti. However there is or has been much protest regarding all these issues yet no real consciousness being transformed. Why?
As J. Sakai states, it is due to the failure to identify our class enemies. Also as Mao stated, our philosophy can only be forged via class struggle. However, the reason I mentioned the above latest media spins is to remind us the enemy sadly never forgets to engage in the class struggle. Obviously that means we (the people) are being routed. Presumably most of the hit squad that murdered Moise in Haiti were trained by the U.$. Rumors are that at least one was previously on its informant pay roll. Cuba is heavily embargoed. Trump alone put 243 additional restrictions on it and Obama and Biden very much kept their imperialist boots on its neck. So Cuba, regardless of how spontaneous the protest is, is very much in the cross hairs of European settlers and their flunkies cross hairs.
When we studied Black nationalism a common refrain was an alleged pronouncement on the entrance of an ancient school of thought in Egypt, “Man, Know thyself.” Regardless of if this is true it simply meant for us to know we had content and value. However, it wasn’t particularly revolutionary, nor even dialectical. And for someone who never experienced slavery it would have been a cliche. However, a more dialectical saying would’ve been first to drop the “man”, and just: “Know yourself and know your enemies.” This is dialectical materialism, this is to understand the class struggle and enter the fight on the right side. I say that because far too many “claim revolution” but don’t participate in any revolutionary activities.
Social-imperialism is another way capitalism-imperialism discombobulates our class by getting us to believe most people here in the belly of the beast are “lost” and can be won over to revolution; that they are supporting the parasitism of empire only because they don’t know any better. This wastes time and it wastes resources. I was listening to Cat Brooks, a “freedom fighter” who is bent on defunding the police. On a 5 way call a brother who did 15 years was saying his org don’t work with the pig at all, but Brooks said they do, “but only limited” i.e. they have a purpose. These calls go along with $15/hr a minimum wage or like Raymond Lotta says $10/hr is a grueling wage. These are conscious calls of the labor aristocracy and my point here is that it’s not just Euro-settlers who are labor aristocracy in ideology, as well as practice. This is why commercial hip hop currently is not a vehicle for change.
However, regardless if these people get more people to pander to their line or not and regardless of if the imperialists share more of their wealth or not this only serves to help imperialism fuck over the people even more. Mao said “utopian socialists” are always trying to persuade the bourgeoisie to be more charitable. Mao said emphatically, “this won’t work” and that it is necessary to rely on class struggle of the proletariat. Clearly this means in this day and age anti-imperialism, self-determination struggles, and a clear line denoting our class enemies and their optimistic flunkies who claim we’re all in this together and people will care about us once they get to know us – must be drawn.
Some say it’s too hard, but as I stated it simply is not. Our “genius does not depend on one person or a few people. It depends on a party, the party which is the vanguard of the proletariat. Genius is dependent on mass line, on collective wisdom,” as succinctly stated by Mao. It is impossible to always be in the trenches together as we deserve, but it is a form of class struggle and perfecting this definitely is a blow back against empire.
USW 27 in California reports: Abolitionists From Within(AFW) is back on the move. Building, can’t stop, won’t stop. We put forth United Front for Peace in Prisons statement of principles: Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism and Independence. The work on the ground is coming together. About a month ago, one of the comrades pulled me to the side and had a novel idea about bringing the community together for Juneteenth. What do you know, they made Juneteenth a national holiday. And we had a day of peace and unity here in our facility.
The young Afrikan and older comrades smiled that day. You know me, I told them to get ready for Black August. But it was nice to see our community ask questions about Juneteenth, the end of slavery. However, for us it was a day to learn and come together. Unity, Peace. A day that I can’t be lied to anymore. Thank you to the comrade who hit me up with the idea.
Now I need that same energy come Black August. Now to all you New Afrikans who participated in Juneteenth Day, thank you. You are free Black men.
Da Struggle Continue
a USW leader in TX reports: For Juneteenth, the ‘Black Unity group’, which is called Black Independence Taking Root(BITR), initiated a peace treaty among Black lumpen street organizations. A community meal was shared after sundown as the daytime was reserved for fasting as a show of appreciation to New Afrikan ancestors, and activists of various stripes who’ve pushed the cause of New Afrikan liberation forward. During that time, this cell provided the brothas here with largely unknown New Afrikan revolutionary contributions of the past, both recent and not so recent. The masses responded to the initiative very well.
MIM(Prisons) adds: The New Afrikan holiday, Juneteenth, was made a federal holiday just prior to 19 June 2021. While Amerikans celebrate 4 July 1776 as their independence day, 19 June 1865 has been celebrated by many as “Black Independence Day.” Though the New Afrikan nation was not liberated from the emerging U.$. empire on that day, it marked the day that the Emancipation Proclamation was announced and enforced in Texas, the last state it reached. It took two and a half years after the proclamation for the northern troops to make it to Texas and enforce the law. While the proclamation made on 22 September 1862 by President Lincoln was not originally a permanent law, the Thirteenth Amendment making slavery illegal, except for the convicted felon, was passed in January 1865, prior to the freeing of the slaves in Texas.
With the Thirteenth Amendment, former slaves were made citizens of the United $tates by mandate, and with no say in the matter. This new people had evolved from 100s of years of African slaves working together in a common economic situation, developing its own culture and investing in developing the land they found themselves on. After 100s of years of being denied any rights by the slavemasters who brought them there, suddenly they were told they must join the nation of their slavemasters.
What happened in the south following the civil war was a plan for a bourgeois democratic program for Black people, to incorporate them as full citizens, within the confines of capitalism. This plan was called Reconstruction. It was short-lived (1863-1877), as the whites charged with enforcing it soon gave in to the resistance by the whites who opposed it. We learned that the white nation was not willing to see through the struggle for bourgeois democracy for the New Afrikan nation. That is why today we say real independence, full rights and self-determination for New Afrikans, requires New Democracy. A New Democracy is a proletarian-led democratic revolution, different in class leadership from the bourgeois Amerikan Revolution.
The history of Reconstruction followed by Jim Crow is the most culturally relevant example for us in the United $tates of why a dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary to end oppression. No oppressor class, nation or gender in history has yet to give up its power without a fight. The all around dictatorship of the proletariat is what communists have used to revolutionize societies at all levels to undermine class and gender distinctions.
Jim Crow laws enforcing segregation remained in effect until 1965. During the 1960s there was a significant movement for true liberation of the New Afrikan nation centered around the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. As we enter Black August later this summer, we commemorate those who were murdered by the state in the righteous struggle against oppression. A struggle that was recognized as necessary thanks to the lessons of Juneteenth.
Last year, President Donald Trump made a point by scheduling a rally speech on Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma where whites waged an all-out-war against New Afrikans in 1921. This year was the 100th anniversary of the battle of Tulsa, where the communist African Blood Brotherhood(ABB) led the brave defense of “Black Wall Street” from marauding whites, who shot up and bombed the Greenwood district of the city from planes. The ABB was a secret society in Jim Crow Tulsa and many other southern cities, because to be a communist outright would have meant a death sentence from whites. The battle began when the ABB organized a resistance to the lynch mob coming for a young New Afrikan falsely accused of raping a white girl. While this battle led to many deaths on both sides and the burning of both white and Black-owned properties, it put an end to lynchings in Tulsa for a long time.
A year after Trump’s Tulsa debacle, President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday. This symbolizes the conflict within the Amerikan ruling class, and the white nation as well, in how to deal with the oppressed internal semi-colonies today. While the Republican and Democratic parties have switched positions, with the Republican Party now being the one trying to disenfranchise New Afrikans, the disagreement over the national contradiction is very similar to the days of Republican Abraham Lincoln.
As communists we strive for the resolution of this national contradiction by freeing all oppressed nations once and for all, not waiting and hoping for one slightly friendlier sector of the oppressor to win out. The ongoing struggle for New Afrikan liberation is tied to the struggle of all oppressed people for liberation. It is not surprising that the nation that ultimately worked so hard to keep the Black nation down in the 1800s is now the primary force keeping oppressed people down around the world. We have seen the limits of the euro-Amerikan revolution.
At this moment Cuba is entering into a new phase in their struggle which unveils a reality unfavorable to socialist construction. Yet we should keep in mind that Cuba’s fate remains unsealed. History shows that the Cuban people are up to the task of fighting for socialism as they continue to inspire others around the world. They have enormous amounts of creative and practical experience. Here we examine some of the positions in the popular debate around Cuba, as well as the true source of its successes and failures.
Privatization and Pandemic
The current protests in Cuba are the result of growing privatization of sectors in multiple industries. This has been a gradual trend, but in February of 2021 it took on new heights. Tourism in particular, as a private industry, is Cuba’s largest revenue generator making over $3.3 billion for its people in 2018. With the ease of relations under President Obama there was unfortunately even more of a rise in privatization and large growth in tourism. Labour Minister Marta Elena Feito said the list of authorized activities in the private sector had most recently expanded from 127 to more than 2,000. Some of these include barbershops, restaurants, taxi services, domicile and hotel rentals, small shops and cafes. Most of these private sector jobs, which are primarily in major cities such as Havana, are oriented towards the tourist industry.
The last report showed that 600,000 people, around 13% of the workforce, joined the private sector when the opportunity arose. COVID-19 brought problems as the borders were closed to non-residents in order to prevent the pandemic’s spread. About 16,000 private workers asked for their licenses to be suspended, according to the Labor Ministry, which temporarily exempted them from taxes. Shortly after, the amount increased to 119,000, which was roughly 19 percent of the private workforce. This measure allowed for a small section of the private work force to be protected during the pandemic, however other sections, mostly in tourism, were catastrophically hit.
U.S. Economic Warfare
The labor ministry stated that the decline began before COVID-19 as a result of Trump’s new additions to the embargo on Cuba. In December of 2020, Cuban tourism had fallen by 16.5% due to U.S. sanctions that imposed restrictions on travel to Cuba, money transfers, and trade between Cuba and other nations. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control in 2020 stated the following in regards to the more recent additions, “OFAC is removing the authorization for banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction to process certain funds transfers originating and terminating outside the United States, commonly known as”U-turn" transactions. Banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be authorized to reject such transactions, but may no longer process them." The rules also block money sent to Cuban government affiliates, and decreased the limit but still allow for remittances to most families in Cuba.
On 19 October 1960, the U.S. embargo was implemented as policy to undermine the revolutionary government as a response to its nationalization of industries and dealings with countries led by communist parties. Over the coming years tension only increased and the embargo would continually be adjusted to prevent growth of the Cuban economy. As of now the sanctions vary with over 231 entities and subentities like ministries, holding companies, hotels, etc.; meaning the U.S. is trying to control Cuba’s economy. These provisions also extend to international companies like the various shipping companies in 2019 which were sanctioned by the U.S. government for participating in oil trade between Venezuela and Cuba. This was during the same period that the U.S. was accusing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of falsifying the election results that left Juan Guaido to bite the dust. Allegations which later were proven to be false yet nevertheless caused dire consequences for millions.
Economic terrorism continues to be perpetrated by the U.S. against Cuba to prohibit other nations and companies from participating in trade deals. Some ways the U.S. does this is by denying licenses or deals with U.S.-based companies or other nations that have the audacity to ignore the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Year after year the U.N. votes in favor of an end to the embargo with only two nations (the U.S. and Israel) voting in favor of continuing the embargo.
In 2021 former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Cuba once again as a state sponsor of international terrorism in another futile attempt to further isolate Cuba from potential trading partners. This designation carries with it the implication that any business or state which does business with Cuba participates in sponsoring terrorism. As a result the U.S. will then implement sanctions on those businesses or states or at the very least deny them vital business opportunities that they need to sustain a functional economy in a U.S.-dominated global market. It follows from this that the private sectors in Cuba who were not prepared for the pandemic, were already affected by the ongoing trade embargo for about 60 years, with Trump’s administration amping up attempts to suffocate Cuba’s resilient economy.
Cuban Protests Dwarfed by Uprisings in U.S.
When the protests erupted in Cuba this month, the U.S. wasted no time in opportunistically pushing their agenda. Meanwhile, expatriated Cuban terrorists living in the U.S. sent videos over social media promoting the destruction of public property owned by the Cuban people, looting, assault on peoples security forces etc. These videos, not surprisingly, never found their way into mainstream reports but were exposed by Cuban media. Díaz-Canel even made a point to say that there are revolutionaries who have been misguided by false reports forged by subversive reactionaries, and people with legitimate demands for an end to the embargo and reform of failed policies. This made clear that these demonstrators were not the target of criticism but genuinely concerned, although in some cases misguided, citizens.
In reality only a small capitalist minority from certain private sectors affected by the embargo and COVID-19 have taken to the streets to promote their interests; interests that are antagonistic to that of the Cuban people. President Díaz-Canel proceeded to visit the demonstrations himself and speak with people. On live TV Díaz-Canel called revolutionaries to take to the street and oppose the reactionaries and to stay in the streets as long as necessary in order to defend the revolution. It was correctly stated by Díaz-Canel that the reactionaries with violent intent are of a specific small group who align with U.S. interests. More specifically from his mouth he stated that, “They want to change a system, or a regime they call it, to impose what type of government and what type of regime in Cuba? The privatization of public services. The kind that gives more possibility to the rich minority and not the majority.”
Counter protests proceeded to take place where a greater part of Cuba’s 11 million people came out to demonstrate their support for the revolution and continuance of socialist construction. With such a small minority of protestors being for regime change and only a few dozen arrests we have to ask ourselves why there is such a controversy? It is only explainable by the private interests and imperialist U.S. who wishes to finally deal a deadly blow to Cuba. After decades of failed CIA assassinations, a failed U.S. invasion, and a failed Embargo, the U.S. government is reiterating its fledgling commitment to undermine the people of Cuba.
All the while the Amerikans fail to see the irony that in 2020 the protests in the U.S. were estimated to have between 15 and 26 million participants with over 14,000 arrests documented as related to the protests and a number of deaths associated. These numbers are not even all encompassing in the true magnitude of arrest and torture by the U.S. government on its own citizens. These protests put forward demands guaranteed by the Cuban constitution. Article’s 16, 18, 19, 41, 42, 43, 44 of the Cuban constitution reveal rights and guarantees afforded to Cubans that in the U.S. don’t even exist or are up for debate. A civil war was needed to end slavery only to have it replaced by Jim Crow segregation in this country. Without a doubt a quick look at the Cuban constitution in comparison with the U.S. constitution, one would begin to question the true ethics of the U.S. and why Cuba is portrayed the way it is.
Cuba has made greater advancements than the U.S. in many fields. It achieved a higher literacy rate, lower infant mortality rate, a lung cancer vaccine as well as a COVID-19 vaccine independently developed with a 92% success rate. All this despite the embargo and war crimes of the U.S. The U.S. in their sad attempt to condemn Cuba’s Communist Party declares the people of Cuba to be subjugated, unable to protest, or have free speech. As can clearly be seen, the president of Cuba not only respects the constitutional right to protest and have free speech, but invited millions to take to the streets to do so.
The Will of the People in Cuba
In 2018 a new draft of the Cuban constitution removed reference to communism. This first draft was met with wide-scale protests and a popular demand that reinstated communism as the goal. In 2019 the new Cuban constitution reaffirmed the popular will. Time after time the U.S. is embarrassed by Cuba’s revolutionary people. Which is presumably why the U.S., who routinely overthrows democracies, assassinates world leaders, or suffocates nations with sanctions, takes special interest in torturing Cuba. It is not without effect either, as many Cubans feel this pressure and suffer untold losses in this cruel escapade waged by the United States.
Mind you, Cuba is not without mistake. The continued privatization of industries and reliance on tourism is a massive failure on the part of the Cuban government. Failures to foster the full creative potential of the Cuban masses by putting politics in command has led the Cuban government to become a bureaucratic mess. With a large population of revolutionary masses eager to promote the ideals of socialism and forge ahead on their path of self-determination, it is sad to see the Cuban state fail to remove the fetters on the Cuban people that restrict their ability to take control of power for themselves. This is a result of internal contradictions within the Cuban state.
Over the past few decades the gradual decline of peoples’ power has been witnessed. Today’s events are a result of the pandemic and U.S. embargo. However, the principal issue is not from without Cuba and it certainly is not from the Cuban people. It is in the Cuban state and their failure to remain vigilant against growing opposition forces within the state itself. Forces that undermine the peoples’ will. Forces that cause unnecessary retreats and failures in planning. With all due respect, these are serious errors that must be rectified by campaigns led by the revolutionary Cuban people. Only the Cuban people can determine their destiny.
So our appeal to Cuba should be directed towards the revolutionary masses who represent the socialist majority. We are in solidarity with you and support you. We will continue to fight to bring to an end the U.S. embargo and all interventions. The revolutionaries in Cuba who emulate the ideals as well as principles of socialism with the aim of building communism are a continued inspiration to the freedom fighters all around the world.
Díaz-Canel welcomed revolutionaries to the street to participate in open debate and oppose the reactionaries. This is a step in the correct direction. So long as those revolutionaries are allowed to progress down whatever path they find suitable for themselves to sustain their revolution. So long as they combat the reactionaries as well as the revisionists. All of this on the terms set forth by the revolutionary Cuban masses themselves who are truly world renowned heroes of revolution.
MIM(Prisons) adds:It is not MIM line that Cuba was ever really on the socialist road. The Cuban revolution was very clearly one of national liberation from imperialism. However, Cuba paralleled the Derg in Ethiopia in taking on “Marxism-Leninism” for geo-political reasons related to using the Soviet Union as a counter-balance to other imperialist interests. That’s not to say there weren’t Marxists in their ranks, most popular movements in the Third World are going to have Marxist influences. But the Marxists had not consolidated a party around the proletarian line before seizing power. They did not follow Mao’s example of building United Fronts with other classes by maintaining proletarian leadership and independence. In a capitalist-imperialist world, coalition governments invariably lead to capitalism.
Cuba stood out for many decades as a symbol of resistance to U.$. imperialism, even after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is also well-known for directing resources in the interests of the Cuban people and the people of the world. In our article on Ethiopia we mention that the Cubans had their differences with the imperialist Soviet Union, and that speaks to the path Cuba took independent of the USSR during and after its existence.
We agree with current President Díaz-Canel that privatization is only bad for the people. However, nationalization only threatens imperialist meddling, it does not address the internal class contradictions of a country. And in the case of Cuba, with the dependence on tourist money and remittances, the Amerikans have significant and increasing control over their economy despite nationalization.
In the United $tates state-run firms (like the post office) are often defined as “socialism.” But Maoists define socialism differently, as an economy that is guided by the proletarian line, always engaging in class struggle, pitting the interests of collectivism, humyn needs and humyn relations above production, efficiency and profit.
As Mowgli writes, the internal contradictions of a capitalist economy in Cuba cannot ultimately be resolved without a popular movement to rectify the current leadership and shift to the socialist road. We would go further in stressing that socialism is class struggle. There is no policy shift that can bring a country to the socialist road, only the militant mobilization of the masses concentrated in a communist party that puts the class struggle at the forefront. Our opposition from within the empire to the embargo serves to help the Cuban people see their dreams come true via continued class struggle.
As you know, Black August is here. Do something wherever you are for all the brothers who gave their lives so our struggle could be easy. This year I’m asking our comrades to focus not only on our problems, but focus on our solutions.
I read somewhere, when we think of ourselves as individuals rather than as collectives, we fail to consider the importance of solidarity and collective resistance. We are more likely to treat others as competitors as opposed to comrades.
CDCR administration is anti-Black and Brown, its calculated policy works against the needs and aspirations of our freedom. It is our duty to use every necessary and accessible means to protest and to disrupt the machinery of oppression and so to bring such general distress and discomfort upon the oppressor.
For you young Afrikan who are asleep, an example was shown last month. Chicano, Raza comrades here at Calipatria showed collective resistance to the store for the month. I salute them comrades. At the end their goal was met. Their focus was the solution, not the problem. That how brothers fight collectively at the administration. Abolitionists From Within will show up for this Black August here, collectively with all willing participants.
What is Black August?
Black August is a promotion of a conscious, non-sectarian mass based New Afrikan resistance culture, both inside and outside the prison walls all across the U.$. Empire. Black August originally started among the brothers in the California Penal System to honor three fallen comrades and to promote a Black culture of resistance and revolutionary development.
The first brother, Jonathan Jackson, a 17 year old man child was gunned down 17 August 1970 outside a Marin County California courthouse in an armed attempt to liberate three imprisoned Black Liberation Fighters (James McClain, William Christmans and Ruchell Magee). Ruchell Magee is the sole survivor. George Jackson, Jonathan’s older brother and comrade, a great Black revolutionary theoretician and leader was assassinated 21 August 1971 by guards during a Black prison rebellion at San Quentin, in an unsuccessful effort to cover up the state’s pre-planned assassination of comrade George. The third brother, Khatari Gaulden, was victimized by the blatant assassination of capitalist corporate medical politics in prison on 1 August 1978. In 1979, over 40 people came together to form the Black August Organizing Committee from a united front of New Afrikan prisoners formed in 1978 following Khatari’s murder.
Some tenets for Black August from K.A.G.E. Universal:
We aim to fast as a show of self-discipline and resistance. From the sunrise until evening meal we will abstain from eating.
We aim to abstain from consuming any type of opioids, or other smokable or liquid intoxicants during the month of August.
We aim to combat liberalism even by limiting our selection of non-frivolous TV shows and educational programs i.e., radio, historic documentaries, journal writings and other creative art exhibits.
During Black August, we emphasize political and cultural evolution studies for those participants who care to assemble with other brothers and sisters rather by way of social media internationally and/or via facilitation within the institution forum.
Abolish FSP (Florida State Prison) use of force (pepper spray and cell-extraction beatings) on prisoners who are only voicing their grievances, while in secured cells, not being violent or destructive, just voicing grievances.
End FSP so-called “no talking” rule. Prisoners are being deprived meals and/or pepper sprayed, and/or even beaten during cell extractions, solely for speaking to each other, our stay on CM (Close Management) being prolonged – yes, just for talking to each other.
Abolish mental health staff being in cahoots with and approving of overseer abuse and brutality of innocent prisoners already suffering from CTSD (Current Traumatic Stress Disorder), being misdiagnosed as ‘disruptive.’
End overseers withholding of prisoners meals as a disciplinary sanction.
Abolish preparing meals with subliminal intent of feeding pigs at neighboring swill farms rather than feeding human prisoners.
End FSP serving prisoners meals on mold, greasy and wet trays. Health risk.
Abolish FSP serving meals cold, which are supposed to be served hot. Another health risk.
End FSP serving of half cooked meals to prisoners. Yet another health risk.
Abolish FSP serving of highly carcinogenic, GMO, processed, fake meat.
End FSP’s blatant and rampant arbitrary deviation from FDOC master menu, and serving meals in exiguous portions, denying prisoners legally required nutritional value and calorie count.
Abolish FSP vertical use of black box on handcuffs and waist chains. Black box and handcuffs are designed to be used horizontally, not vertically. Even while having to carry personal property, placing prisoners at great risk of breaking wrists and/or other life-threatening injuries during falls.
End FSP use of exhaust fans and heaters as control and/or torture devices as collective punishment of prisoners.
Abolish FSP’s blatant and rampant withholding and delaying of prisoners incoming and outgoing mail as a censorship tactic.
End FSP’s blatant and rampant arbitrary and retaliatory impounding and rejection of prisoners’ incoming publications, based solely on prisoners political beliefs, expression, affiliation and advocacy/activism.
Abolish FSP repression, re-education campaign and war on prisoner’s aspiration of genuine essential self-rehabilitation via political studies, application and practices of genuine essential self-criticism and rectification.
End conducting of prisoners medical sick-call at cell doors, depriving prisoners of confidentiality and privacy.
Abolish FSP pepper-spraying and/or beating of mentally ill prisoners.
End CM (Close Management) solitary confinement of mentally ill prisoners.
Abolish the blatant and rampant ignoring the audio/video of prisoners PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) calls on overseers sexual harassment, or declaring mental health (psych) emergencies.
End FSP overseers taking of prisoners personal property and giving it to or leaving it accessible to friendly or favored prisoners.
Abolish FSP discriminatory denying CM I & II prisoners their JPAY purchased tablets and service, while allowing CM III prisoners their JPAY tablets and services, denial of JPAY tablet is based solely on punishment for being on CM I & II status.
End overseer training, indoctrination, instilling mindset that CM is disciplinary confinement rather than administrative or segregated housing. FSP staff and overseers literally believe that CM is for torture of prisoners rather than correction and rehabilitation of prisoners.
Abolish FSP’s blatant and rampant throwing away/trashing of prisoners submitted informal and formal grievances.
End FSP fabrication of disciplinary reports, falsifying documents, solely to prolong prisoners’ stay on CM.
Abolish FSP’s racist/KKK/good-ole-boy code of silence. Prisoners are being beaten in the medical building, off camera, in blind spots – being in blues is the new black.
If you are reading this, please understand that the above listed are only a few of the many injustices occurring here at FSP (Florida State Prison). Please understand that our backs are against the wall, we are voiceless, disenfranchised, isolated, alienated and scared of retaliation. Please understand that we are very well aware of the fact that we are in prison, and many believe that we deserve to be tortured. But what we and many others do not realize is the fact that though we are in prison, technically, we are not the real criminals. The actions that land us in prison are only reactions and responses to the mis-education and poverty created and perpetuated by the real criminals, the plutocrat politicians. Most of us are in prison only and mostly because we are not corporation owners who are too big for jail, instead we are the too poor and mis-educated to defend ourselves against the state and the prosecutors who know full well who the real criminals are, their bosses and friends, state and capital.
Please help us by spreading the word and emailing the above demands to all your friends and family, ask them to email it to friends and family, and post it on social media. The idea is to raise mass awareness, and to also let the real criminals, the plutocrats, know that we, the people, know that they are the real criminals, doing all in their power to perpetuate crime, because crime creates and perpetuates state jobs, nationwide.
and the Inspector General using the Complaint Form at fdc.myflorida.com.
“Real change begins with real awareness.”
18 July 2021, approximate 6:22AM, a prisoner in #1217 cell just got pulled out of his cell and jumped by overseers. Prisoner was already in restraints, two cells away from his cell. He was slammed to the ground, one overseer had his knee planted in the back of the prisoners neck while the prisoner was face down and handcuffed with his hands behind his back, while the other overseer punched him. I’m in the wing next door (J-Wing). Prisoners on windows reported it as it happened.
In the past few years censorship in TDCJ has reached epic proportions. In March 2020, the board on criminal justice enacted new restrictive policies regarding mail correspondence, greeting cards, and receiving monies. After a year of wide-spread resistance to this fascist policy, an exposé was written by Kerri Blessinger of the Houston Chronicle’s criminal justice department along with an inside comrade of the National Freedom Movement - TX Chapter.
The public outcry that resulted from this article which spoke specifically to the denial of greeting cards, moved TDCJ officials to annul this restrictive policy and now captives are again allowed to receive cards.
If the story ended there, things would be all well. Unfortunately, TDCJ officials have sought to retaliate against the prisoner population by instituting even more arbitrarily restrictive regulations.
Set to take effect on 1 August 2021, the newly amended Board Policy(BP) 3.91 will effectively ban ANY/ALL publications, photos, drawings, and images that We could possibly receive. This amendment bans any items showcasing thongs, lingerie, buttocks, sex toys, or bodily fluids, as well as photos that hides someone’s face.
Nearly all publications and photos one gets are subject to this rule. Harmless publications such as US Weekly, OK, National Geographic, Muscle Fitness, etc can/will be denied due to this rule. Accordingly, this denies TDCJ captives their visual stimuli, in the case of isolated captives in RHU/solitary such persyn will have NO visual stimuli at all.
The politicized prisoner collective known as Tx T.E.A.M.O.N.E. is calling ALL prisoners in teKKK$a$ to join Us and the souljas on ALLRED seg in Our campaign. We are striving to amass 75,000 grievances on this issue. Included please find a sample of a step 1, shortly We will distribute a step 2 and a petition to be sent to TDCJ Director of CID and the Chairman of TDCJ. We must showcase a show of solidarity as teKKK$a$ captives.
Offender Name:____________________ TDCJ#___________________ Unit:_________________________ Housing Assignment:____________ Unit where incident occurred:______________________
who did you talk to?_________________________When?________________ What was their response?________________________________________________ What action was taken?________________________________________________ sample: BP-3.91, amended on 6/25/21, goes into effect on 8/1/21, and effectively bans ANY/ALL publications, photos, drawings and images that we could possibly receive. This edict is in direct violation of our First Amendment rights against censorship, and fails to satisfy the four-part Turner test as TDCJ officials have failed to justify this policy.(see: TURNER V. SAFELY, 482 U.S.78(1987))
TURNER QUESTION ONE: Is the regulation reasonably related to a legitimate, neutral government interest? These magazines are non-nude, and are commonplace with no age requirement to purchase them. Thus, TDCJ cannot possibly believe such magazines may cause disorder or violence, or will hurt a prisoner’s rehabilitation. Prisoners have a right to non-obscene, sexually explicit material that is commercially produced, MAURN V. ARPAIO, 188 F.3d 1054(9th Circ.1999).
TURNER QUESTION TWO: Does the regulation leave open another way for you to exercise your constitutional rights? No. As an Ad-Seg inmate, the only visual stimuli we receive are pictures and magazines. Yet the very images that are being banned are the EXACT same content any observer can see on TV. Newspapers have circulars with bra sales, etc. Effectively banning those as well. BP-3.91 destroys our ONLY visual link to the outside world.
TURNER QUESTION THREE: How does the issue impact other prisoners, prison guards, or officials and prison resources? BP-3.91 treats ALL inmates, especially Ad-Seg, like sex offenders and pedophiles, creates unrest throughout the prison population, and punishes non-sex offenders, while GP sex offenders still see images that arouse them on TV. It punishes normal inmates while missing the intended targets.
TURNER QUESTION FOUR: Are there obvious easy alternatives to the regulation that would not restrict your rights to free expression? Yes. Restrict these BP-3.91 original to the Grievance DEPT. on (date) copy to my records BP-3.91 is too vague, encompassing a littany of correspondence (see: Alello V. Litacher, 104 F. Supp. 2d1068, 1045-81(W.D.Wis.2000) which struck down similar ban). BP-3.91 actually says, “Any photo that conceals or hides the face of the individual photographed in a manner that prevents identification of that person.” What penological interest does this serve? And during a pandemic when people are still wearing masks?
Action Requested: That the DRC and TDCJ repeal or annul BP-3.91 in its amended form as it does NOT pass the supreme court’s TURNER test.
ALL TDCJ inmates should file a grievance on this issue, it affects all genders and sexualities as pics with an erection will not be allowed. The paper trail begins now, and We may have to file a class action on this issue. By all means, COMBAT GENOCIDE!!
UPDATE: Grievance officers here are saying this is not a grievable matter. THIS IS NOT TRUE. We suggest that if others run into this problem they should write i60 informing the GR.DEPT that the Offender Grievance Operations Manual (OGOM) says that policy is grievable, due to the fact that We are grieving the unit’s interpretation of the new board policy. Prisoners should also see Thornburgh V. Abbot, 490 U.S. 401 (1989). Be sure to attach the returned step 1 to i 60.
Here officers are also saying that we can’t grieve it because the policy isn’t effective yet, and we can do so on 8/1 when policy goes into effect. This policy must be resisted on all fronts on all units. [By the time you receive this it will be in effect.] A separate, more extensive petition has also been submitted to the Deputy Executive Director and a phone zap was scheduled to occur on 1 August by outside supporters.
Anti-imperialists watching the Horn of Africa have sounded the alarm that Amerikans are scheming to further their exploitation of Ethiopia. In May, United States Agency of International Development (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance head Sarah Charles spoke to the U.$. Congress about how the Ethiopian government and other armed forces were restricting the access of Amerikan staff and equipment in the country.(1) Ten days before the 21 June 2021 elections in Ethiopia, the U.$. State Department issued a statement expressing “grave” concern about the conditions of the elections and said they were ready to “help Ethiopia address these challenges” in order to cast doubt on election results.(2)
Many concerned about the talk coming from the U.$. government refer to Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria as warnings of what could happen in Ethiopia. Amerikan troops left the infamous sprawling Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on 2 July 2021, allowing looters to enter the grounds the following day.(3) In 2001, the U.$. overthrew the Taliban-ruled government of Afghanistan. Twenty years later, the Taliban are poised to regain control of the country following the longest war in U.$. history. All peace-loving people have an interest in preventing another one of these long, drawn out wars that have become the norm for U.$. imperialism as it struggles to dominate the rest of the world.
U.$. imperialists have already begun waging warfare in the form of economic sanctions against both Ethiopia and Eritrea. Meanwhile, they continue to push for access by USAID and its affiliated NGOs to meddle in African affairs. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front(TPLF) launched attacks on the Ethiopian armed forces back in November 2020, which began the war that seems to have reached a stopping point this July and has been used by the Amerikans as a reason to get involved. The TPLF led the Ethiopian government until 2018 when the TPLF president resigned due to popular pressure. In addition to domestic abuses, they led Ethiopia in a war for territory against Eritrea during that time. Eritrea has made peace with the new Ethiopian government led by Abiy Ahmed and sided with Ethiopia in the recent war against the TPLF.
Ethiopia is the 12th most populated country in the world, and the second most populated in Africa. In the 1970s, the Derg government led a quick, forced nationalization of the Ethiopian economy. Current President Abiy Ahmed has overseen the privatization and liberalizations of the economy, which began after 1991, when Ethiopia shifted from the Soviet Union to a U.$. client state. These moves by Abiy will increase foreign investment and involvement in Ethiopian industry. A 2018 plan by the Abiy-led government targeted 25% growth rates in manufacturing until 2025.(4) While falling short so far, this indicates their intentions to become Africa’s leading manufacturing hub. In other words, the Ethiopian masses still living in semi-feudal conditions are a potential source of a newly proletarianized population for imperialist corporations to extract surplus value from.
During the recent conflict, Abiy froze the assets of many TPLF associated companies with U.$. and other foreign investments, which may have concerned the Amerikans as well.
As part of their new plan to provide power for this growth in industry, Ethiopia has been operationalizing the new Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). On 6 July 2021, Ethiopia began the second stage of filling the dam. The Egyptian and Sudanese governments have been calling for U.N. intervention for fear of the impact on their water supplies. This will be the biggest hydroelectric project in Africa.(5) Egypt (run by U.$.-backed dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi) has indicated it would support intervention in Ethiopia to stop this project by saying all options are on the table. Egypt is one of the most important U.$. client states, historically falling in the top 3 receivers of military aid from the imperialists. The Trump administration had supported Egypt’s interests regarding the dam, and we expect U.$. support to continue.
Land-locked Ethiopia’s access to the Red Sea is through Eritrea or Djibouti. Djibouti is a small country between Eritrea and Somaliland. It is the home of AFRICOM, the United $tates military’s Africa Command, and a number of other imperialist militaries. These military bases provide 5% of Djibouti’s GDP. China has their only foreign military base in Djibouti, making it a potential location of conflict between the Amerikan and Chinese imperialists. This location is also important for access between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea including large movements of fossil fuels.
President Abiy has formed alliances with Eritrea and Somalia, countries the U.$. has used Ethiopia to destabilize in the past. This show of unity in the Horn of Africa could allow for greater serving of African interests, rather than Amerikan interests.
Strong Marxist History
National liberation struggles influenced by Marx, Lenin and Mao are central to the recent history of Ethiopia and Eritrea. In its early days, MIM often mentioned Eritrea as one of the locations of a liberatory people’s war in the 1980s. Current President of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki, was one of the first members of the Eritrean Liberation Forces(ELF) to train in socialist China in 1967. He was later part of the leadership to form the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), which split from the ELF and combined the ELF’s strong nationalism with an explicit Marxist-Leninist line and the strategy of People’s War.(6)
In Ethiopia a series of Marxist-Leninist organizations emerged to challenge the feudal system of Haile Selassie. This led to the removal of Haile Selassie by his own military leaders in 1974, who formed the Derg government. The Derg undertook a massive nationalization campaign, labeling itself “Marxist-Leninist” and a socialist state in 1975. The Derg assigned head of state to U.$.-trained Mengistu Haile Mariam, but became an ally of the social-imperialist USSR. Their national-brougeois ideas fit nicely with the revisionist distortions of Soviet “Marxism-Leninism.”(7)
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front also began in the revolutionary period of the 1960s. By the late 1970s it was waging guerilla war against the Derg, under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray. At this time there was a split in the revolutionary movement of Ethiopia around the question of secession, with the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front leading the call for the right to self-determination of Eritrea independent of Ethiopia. Others saw secessionist movements in Ethiopia as linked to the reactionary regionalism of feudalism, and a division of the peasant masses.(8)
In 1991, MIM Notes celebrated the overthrow of the “social-fascist Mengistu regime” by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front(EPRDF) as well as the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front(EPLF), which abstained from the provisional government of Ethiopia opting for independence instead. They noted, “MIM doesn’t have much information about the”revolutionary programs" of the EPRDF, so we must watch and let the practice of both the EPRDF and EPLF speak for itself.“(9) Yet, MIM Notes had already quoted the New York Times under the heading”Victories Betrayed":
"The best insurance against another hard-line Marxist regime in Ethiopia appears to be the presence in Ethiopia immediately after the EPRDF’s victory, of an Amerikan, Paul B. Henze.
“Henze, the station chief of the Central Intelligence Agency at the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa from 1969 to 1972, was invited to the capital as a personal guest of President Meles. He spent five weeks in Ethiopia advising Meles and was upbeat when he left. ‘Meles is pragmatic,’ Henze says. ‘He and his colleagues are not bothering with ideological matters. Ethiopia has a good chance of becoming a productive country.’”(10)
Meles Zenawi was a member of the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray before becoming the first president of Ethiopia under the EPRDF government. As the CIA agent predicted, rather than struggling against differences between classes and nationalities in Ethiopia, the TPLF used its power to dominate the government at the expense of other nationalities and regions, and it soon became a pawn of U.$. imperialism in its maneuvering for power. As a result, by 1998, Meles(TPLF)-led Ethiopia had invaded Isaias(EPLF)-led Eritrea. It appears that both organizations abandoned their Marxist-Leninist lines prior to the overthrow of the Derg and their seizing of state power as part of the process of forming the united front against the Derg. This indicates that there were right-opportunist, liquidationist errors within the leadership of both movements that allowed them to put the liberation struggle and overthrow of the Derg above and in place of the struggle for socialism and a dictatorship of the proletariat. They did not heed the lessons of Mao’s China on how to keep proletarian leadership within a united front of class interests against imperialism. This led to reactionary bourgeois nationalism to play the leading role in these countries, despite the promising Marxist origins of this shift in power. The result gives credence to the warnings from those Marxists who argued against regionalism and secession and opposed the politics of the earlier ELF and original TPLF.
The Organization for African Unity, started by leaders like Kwame Nkrumah and Haile Selassie, also took up a line that it was against the interests of the people of Africa to begin dismantling the states that were amalgamations of peoples imposed by the colonial powers. History has proven this strategy to be effective in preventing divisions among the oppressed. Nkrumah had hoped for the OAU to become a federal government uniting all of Africa, but that strategy did not win out.
At the same time, Maoists recognize the right to self-determination of all nations. And the liberation movement in Eritrea held much promise leading up to liberation. Eritrea also differed from other regions in Ethiopia in that it was previously a separately administered state under Italian colonial occupation. Today, Eritrea remains the only country in Africa without AFRICOM presence, leading to much derision from the United $tates and Europe over the years. They took pride in their non-aligned stance in a world divided by the United $tates and the social imperialist Soviet Union. In 1984, Isaias Afewerki also declared they had no links or support from China. They did not take a position on whether China was still socialist at the time. Isaias did look at Cuba as an example of what happens when you become a client state of the Soviet Union. Isaias claimed the Cubans disagreed with USSR policy in Ethiopia and Eritrea, yet Cuban troops operated in Derg-ruled Ethiopia on behalf of Soviet interests in the 1980s.(11)
While Eritrea has a history of independence and remaining politically neutral, they have recently provided support for the U.$./Saudi war on Yemen that has led to a massive loss of humyn life since 2015. This was likely motivated by financial gain.(12) In the 1980s, South Yemen was in solidarity with the Eritrean liberation struggle despite opposition by the imperialist Soviet Union. Like Cuba, South Yemen took on the form of “Marxist-Leninist” state years after its liberation under the influence of the Soviet Union. Like the Cubans, they seemed to recognize the righteousness of the Eritrean liberation struggle. Today, we cannot view the Eritrean leadership as serving real self-determination when they are being pitted against Yemen by the imperialists. Ultimately, it was the abandonment of proletarian politics that led Eritrean leadership to side with imperialism in the Middle East.
While revisionism seems to have thwarted the popular revolutionary forces in the Horn of Africa in the late 20th century, the proletarian, revolutionary line is no stranger to the people of the region. This is further evidenced by President Abiy having to specifically address and critique Marx, Lenin and Mao in his recent book.(13) It is only through the unified struggle of all African people that the current violence, death and starvation can be properly ended. U.$. and other imperialist involvement will continue to pit Africans against Africans and other oppressed people.
Our Role in the Horn of Africa
In April 2018, Abiy Ahmed of the Oromo Democratic Party was elected Prime Minister of the EPRDF government of Ethiopia. This marked the end of TPLF leadership in the EPRDF, which was replaced by the Prosperity Party coalition in November 2019, excluding TPLF. After his confirmation, Abiy quickly established peace with Eritrea, still headed by Isaias Afewerki. This was a historic peace agreement, returning land to Eritrea that the TPLF had been occupying, signalling unity in the region against the U.$.-backed TPLF. Eritrea and Ethiopia have remained united in the war that began in November 2020 with a TPLF attack on Ethiopian forces. Until the people of the region can mount proletarian-led struggles for power again, the Eritrean-Ethiopian alliance remains important for strengthening the region against further meddling by foreign imperialism.
Our role in all of this is determined by the imperial nature of the United $tates government. Like all people in the world, it is our duty to build towards a dictatorship of the proletariat in our own backyard. But we have the added duty of countering the imperial machinations of our current government.
We should expose the imperialist nature of State Department agencies like USAID that want to present themselves as humanitarian organizations. While President Trump celebrated the Ethiopia and Eritrea peace deal, the Biden administration has brought those favoring intervention in the Horn of Africa back into the White House.
Toward the end of his presidency, Barack Obama appointed Gayle Smith to Administer USAID. Gayle Smith was first employed by USAID in 1994. She had lived in EPLF-run areas dating back to the 1970’s, where she was a “journalist” working undercover for the CIA. She later spent time embedded with the TPLF where she mentored Meles Zenawi, who would go on to wage decades of war against the EPLF.(14) Another close confidant of Meles was Susan Rice, who was national security advisor to Barack Obama.(13) And as we mentioned above, Meles had open relations with local CIA agents from the very beginning of his presidency.
In 2021, Biden has appointed Samantha Power to head USAID. Samantha Power had succeeded Susan Rice as Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations after being mentored by both Rice and Obama. Rice was involved in the violent separation of South Sudan from Sudan and lied about mass rapes to justify the invasion of Libya. Rice and Power worked with Hillary Clinton to greenlight the invasion of that killed Muammar Gaddafi, which Clinton later laughed about on television.
In 2013, Power led the charge within the Obama administration to bomb Syria, which Rice came around to support. Power’s book A Problem From Hell justifies intervention against genocide. She used this mission statement of hers to justify bombing Syria and Libya, and now stands behind it to intervene and defend the TPLF.(15) We oppose the continued expansion of U.$. troops in Africa since President Bush started AFRICOM in 2008. U.$. support for the TPLF clearly aims to divide Africans so that they can be better controlled for the benefit of imperialist-country corporations.
On 20 April 2021, Ma’Khia Bryant – a 16-year-old New Afrikan girl – was murdered by a pig belonging to the Columbus Division of Police.(1) As the news of a guilty verdict on killer pig Derek Chauvin was barely starting to make news on various media, an Amerikan pig killed another New Afrikan child.(2)
At the time of the murder, Ma’Khia Bryant lived in foster care in the home of Angela Moore – the foster mother. The incident started as a conflict between a Tionna Bonner, 22 year old former foster child of Ms. Moore, and Ma’Khia Bryant and her younger sister Ja’Niah Bryant. The conflict was originally over housework, and how the former foster child Tionna Bonner said the Bryant children were not giving Ms. Moore the respect that was due. The dispute escalated when Ja’Niah called Ms. Moore who said she was too busy to get involved. Ja’Niah called her grandmother while Ms. Bonner called another former foster child by the name of Shai-Onta Craig Watkins. Watkins was 20 years old at this time.(3)
The biological grandmother of the Bryant children arrived who described the conflict. She tried protecting her grandchildren who were being threatened by the older former foster children Ms. Bonner and Ms. Watkins. By this time, Ms. Bonner had pulled out a knife (according to Ja’Niah and her grandmother) and Ma’Khia had grabbed a steak knife from the kitchen. This is when Ja’Niah called 911 to which she claimed “Angie’s grown girls trying to fight us, trying to stab us, trying to put her hands on our grandma.”(4)
The police arrived 12 minutes later. Ms. Watkins has left the house while the Bryant children began to pack up their things. The Bryant children’s father now arrived at the scene as Ms. Watkins returned with two more people. While the two groups crossed paths, Ms. Watkins spat towards the Bryant family. Ja’Niah Bryant later said, “That’s when everything just went left.”
As Ma’Khia Bryant charged, Ms. Watkins fell to the ground in which then Ma’Khia’s father tried to kick Watkins. When Ma’Khia raised her kitchen knife, pig Nicholas Reardon shot Ma’Khia four times. Ma’Khia was dead.
Many activists and people on Twitter oriented towards the discourse of Amerika’s police brutality pointed out on social media how the New Afrikan masses couldn’t get a single second of judicial justice from the United $tates without having another Amerikan pig take the life away from another New Afrikan. This murder was closely dated with the release of the video footage showing the murder of a Mexican lumpen youth Adam Toledo who was 3 years younger than Ma’Khia Bryant. The liberals and left-wing imperialists oriented with the Democratic Party seemed too busy to pat themselves on the back in regards to the guilty verdict on Derek Chauvin that these two murders of oppressed nation youth seemed to not stay in their national headlines.
The Oppressed Nation Youth in the Foster Care System
In 2019, New Afrikan children made up 14% of the total child population in the United $tates – children ranging from ages 1 to 18 – while their euro-Amerikan counterparts made up 50%.(5) Despite their much smaller population size, New Afrikan children made up 23% of the kids in foster care, much higher than not only Amerikans, but also the [email protected], First Nations, and national minorities.(6) The number of New Afrikan foster children however, has been decreasing steadily for the past two decades with the year 2000 starting with a 39% and reaching a stabilization of 23% around 2016 up to 2019.
Throughout the history of the modern imperialist world there have been problems of vulnerable children; whether they be foster kids, orphan beggars, or a gang of youth thieves, crisis which inevitably comes from the capitalist relations of production will strike the youth populations as well. In the United $tates, one of the many major external factors of the oppressed nations’ material conditions in the recent decades have been the drug war. With the turn of the 1980s, the crack epidemic fueled by the alliance between the CIA and the comprador drug lords of Latin America has hit New Afrikan and [email protected] communities like a locust swarm would to a peasant’s rice field. As the drug game became more and more dangerous, the oppressed nation youth lost the little stability and the nuclear family structure that they had in the first place. The associate commissioner of the Children’s Bureau stated that “most children enter the foster care system, not from physical abuse, but from neglect.”(7) From this we can gather that the primary cause of New Afrikan youth entering the foster care system is not physical and emotionally abusive parents per se, but lack of resources the family or the community around them has.
Children growing in those lumpenized households and impoverished labor aristocrat households vulnerable to lumpenization (and most importantly, surrounded by abysmal living conditions) creates a very unstable social element for the Amerikans (and even the oppressed nation masses!). So in that response, the foster system is utilized where petty-bourgeois households (many of them belonging to the oppressed nation themselves!) with the time and resource could take care of children coming from beneath their petty-bourgeois class status. Despite its well-intended individuals, the foster care system is just as unsafe from bureaucratic and profit-driven work methods that is embedded in the capitalist the capitalist superstructure. Abuse, emotional deprivation, and physical neglect reign amongst children in foster care. Just like how the police departments of every major city juke statistics and makes robberies and rapes disappear – and how the school system juke scores and encourage studying tests instead of studying fields of knowledge – foster homes oftentimes make their abuse and neglect disappear as well. Anti-communists claim that no one would work without the profit motive, and that the profit motive is the main source of good work in any society. Then how come foster parents who get paid hundreds by the government every month per child still can’t meet the emotional and physical requirement for vulnerable youth?
With the crack cocaine epidemic rising in the 1980s and 1990s, bourgeois nationalist ideas hardening the family structure of oppressed nations came to popularity. Bourgeois nationalists pointed at the lack of a nuclear family structure amongst oppressed nations, and rested the conditions of New Afrikans and [email protected] upon that point.(8) The absentee father; the drug addicted mother; the so-called “emasculated” gay man; the gangster who’s “too dumb” to use his parasitic gains to transform into a legal capitalist; and the participator of “loose sex” were seen as the reasons why New Afrikan/[email protected] youth were pulled into lumpenization and the foster care system. Maoists understand that the superstructure cannot change the economic base, and the idea of “superstructure first” will be fruitless without the overthrow of capitalism. Shaming single mothers, persecuting LGBT masses, and enabling the capitalist instincts of the lumpen class will not only fail to give us liberation, but will attack the masses even more.
Socialist Handling of Unattended Youth
In the Soviet Union, revolution, counter-revolution, and world war left millions of orphans in Russia commonly referred to as “besprizornye” (literally meaning “unattended”).(9) Most of these orphans worked as beggars while also looking towards odd jobs such as selling flowers and cigarettes or hoping to work in restaurants for scraps. Competition became more fierce, and many of these orphans turned towards prostitution and thievery.(10) Gangs of orphans as large as groups of 30 came to being; alcoholism and drug abuse became a common site; and STDs, physical, and mental illness became common things associated with the unattended children.(11) From this basis came the battle for communist transformation of not only the unattended children but all children under socialism in the USSR. Revolutionary orphanages were formed, children were provided with necessities such as education while expected to help with maintaining those independent institutions and decision making. The primary split between these orphanages under socialism and capitalism was the agency and self-determination given to the orphaned youth and the question of adoption: socialist orphanages didn’t seek to put children in adoption but give them a family through the productive life of the commune. During the latter half of the 1920s, the Soviet Union succeeded in the rehabilitation of the unattended children although the goal of creating revolutionary youth movement for all youth has not been met.(12)
The murder of Ma’Khia Bryant is overlooked unfortunately by both the Liberals and the revolutionaries. As a guilty verdict has been placed on pig Derek Chauvin, liberals are eager to put a book end to the rebellion that spread across the country from 2020-2021. As Mao Zedong taught us that the masses must learn revolution through waging revolution, we emphasize the work on us that must be done in pulling the correct lessons from the period of rebellion from 2020 to 2021. Many radical Liberals are heartbroken by such morbid killing of an oppressed nation youth – a habit Amerikkka is unable to kick – and often times let the bourgeois moralism alongside catharsis get the better of them. We emphasize again the importance of learning the essence of the reality around us and the importance of serving unattended youth while combating tailist and commandist attitudes.
Bibliography 1. Will Wright, 8 May 2021, “Ma’khia Bryant’s Journey Through Foster Care Ended With an Officer’s Bullet,” The New York Times. 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Kids Count, September 2020, “Child Population by Race in the United States,” Kids Count. 6. Kids Count, June 2021, “Children in foster care by race and Hispanic origin in the United States,” Kids Count. 7. Administration for Children & Families, January 15, 2020 “Child abuse, neglect data released: 29th edition of the Child Maltreatment Report,” Administration for Children & Families. 8. The New York Times, July 31, 1994, “Facing Complaints of Bias, Farrakhan Speaks to Women Only.” 9. Alan M. Ball, 1994, “And Now My Soul Hardened,” University of California Press. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid.
The Republic of Aztlán (ROA) is happy to announce our online study group that we are hosting with various leaders of different Brown Beret formations.
We are studying the intro study program focused on The Fundamental Political Line of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons (FPL). This is the study group that U.$. prisoners have been studying for years. We are applying it to Aztlán with few modifications.
This is groundbreaking that the Chicano Movement outside of prisons is studying MIM(Prisons) fundamental political line. It is important to overstand that hystorically the Chicano Movement was mostly cultural nationalist back in the days; this is changing.
We of the Republic of Aztlán have a slogan that says, “Ideology is key for Aztlán to be free!” We firmly believe that what the Chicano Movement always lacked that prevented it from developing to the next stage of struggle was a unified political line (ideology). Without ideology we cannot move as one. To obtain national liberation we will have to move as one with an ideology that guides us in the most scientific way.
We hope that by connecting the Chicano Movement as a whole to Maoist ideology it will move us closer to independence and in step with the global anti-imperialist movement.
Bringing political instructors to the cadre of the Chicano Movement will inject our movimiento with the political guidance that has been lacking for the movement as a whole. The ROA sees this process of bringing MIM(Prisons) study groups to the Chicano Movement outside of the concentration kkkamp as the process of from the pintas to the pintas. So for those sisters and brothers behind the prison walls, know that the political line that you all are helping to develop is being taught out here in the internal semi-colonies!
MIM(Prisons) adds: We have also been running the MIM(Prisons) intro study program on the outside for comrades who have joined Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support over the last 1.5 years. Each week we do a combination of discussing AIPS comrades’ answers and the answers from our comrades in prison. Some of you have been receiving responses to your answers with our discussions included as feedback. Since switching to a go-at-your-own-pace program for comrades in prison, we think this provides prisoners with more interaction and feedback.
In related news on our joint efforts to promote Maoist ideology in Aztlán, the 5th anniversary of the book [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán was marked with a second printing by Aztlán Press.
As we said in our joint statement printed in ULK 72, MIM(Prisons) distributed over 200 copies of [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán to prisoners, while most of the 1000 copies of our first printing were sold to people on the outside. This was done through our publisher Kersplebedeb online and the Republic of Aztlán on the streets. With the second printing we are all stocked up to keep the books flowing into the hands of the masses.
The book is available to prisoners from us for the discounted price of $10 in the form of stamps or cash, or for work trade. We also can take bulk orders with Monero on the outside for those looking for anonymous online payments.
Finally, we do have a new edition of FPL in the works as well as other publications, but our lack of comrade time is limiting our ability to get these out. With more supporters, we can do more of this important educational work. People outside prison should join AIPS today and get started on the study program while contributing to getting more education materials into more peoples’ hands inside and outside prisons.
News from the National Territory: Republic of New Afrika
On a 85 mile stretch of Earth in Louisiana, from the Mississippi near Baton Rouge, to New Orleans, New Afrikans who were recently liberated from the chains of Amerikkkan color-caste colonialism (slavery), managed to buy land and found numerous ‘Black Towns’ as they were called. These ‘Black Towns’ thrived for five generations, in what was once plantation country, but is now the heart of Our Republic of New Afrika. However, since the 1990s, domestic neo-colonialism has ravaged the health of New Afrikans in towns such as ‘Freetown’ and ‘Welcome’ Louisiana. So much so, that this stretch of land is commonly called ‘Cancer Alley.’
Multi-national petrochemical corporations have targeted this land in order to capitalize on various objective realities. Plentiful water, cheap land, access to natural gas, huge tax breaks and lax regulation attract these international conglomerates (Koch Industries, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp, and others). These imperialist companies have built over 200 petrochemical factories and refineries on Cancer Alley. Since 2015, seven huge complexes have been built, and five more are in the process of being built.
New Afrikan wimmin are now leading a fight to stop the fossil fuels pipelines and plants from multiplying and further polluting the land and air within Our national territory.
Currently, a proposed Formosa chemical complex is the center of this struggle, and as is all too often the reality, the New Afrikan masses of Louisiana leading the struggle against these Amerikan corporations aren’t receiving aid from the Provisional Government or other collectives of conscious citizens. The people need Our leadership to frame this struggle for what it is: a manifestation of the worldwide fight against imperialist greed as it pertains to environmental national oppression.
Formosa Plastics Corp. announced in 2018 that they would be building a 14 plant complex in St. James Parish, which is just north of New Orleans. These factories will not only spew various cancer-causing agents into the air and water, but will also produce the throw away plastics that We as a global community are desperately striving to eliminate. Every year the Formosa project will pump 800 tons of toxic chemicals, 6,500 tons of air pollutants and 13.6 million tons of greenhouse gases into the air. Additionally, wastewater and spill dumped into the Mississippi River will further endanger sea life in the Gulf of Mexico.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards has given Formosa a ten year tax break totaling $1.5 billion, which is $1.25 million per job since Formosa has promised 1,200 jobs to boost the local economy. Instead the New Afrikan sistahs who’re leading the struggle are demanding reparations for those affected by these corporations’ projects. St. James Parish is 91% New AFrikan with an average income of $17,000 a year. Surely jobs are needed, however, 85% of employment at the plants have gone to euro-Amerikkkans.
Neo-colonial puppets have exploited the dire situation of the grassroots. Although Cancer Alley, and St. James in particular, has 50 times the national average of cancer cases. Cedric Richmond spent 10 years in the House as a former congressman and ignored the people dying in Cancer Alley, his fellow New Afrikan people. Instead he allowed these corporations easy access to the land, while building his political career by heading the Congressional Black Caucus, he then co-chaired the Biden campaign, and is now a senior advisor to the President. What does this tell us? It should tell us, that for all the ‘BlackLivesMatter’ posturing done by demokkkrats, the reality is that these are still imperialist politicians and are the enemies of the people.
Many grassroots groups such as RISE St. James have been at this struggle for decades and have also had significant wins against these corporate entities. In 1993, 1998 and 2019, these groups led the charge in order to have proposed factories and plants blocked.
This year, Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE, spoke to the U.N. on the perils of ‘environmental racism.’ These New Afrikan wimmin are putting up a valiant fight, refusing to leave their homes and heritage (New Afrikan). This is obviously a struggle for land.
Currently the Formosa project is on hold due to community unrest. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers withdrew a wetlands permit and a lawsuit challenging 14 air permits is going to court.
To show your support to these modern day New Afrikans, sign the petition at stopformosa.org
Notes: Lois Danks, Battling racist Polluters in Cancer Alley, June-July 2021 Freedom Socialist Newspaper
I am being transferred to another prison for inciting the whole entire population with a statement that said i am an ‘Illuminati Killer.’
I’m out of their established isolation unit and now being housed in a quarantine housing unit. The housing unit is a 300 cell living unit, double cell. There are probably 30 individuals scattered throughout the entire facility/unit. All individuals housed here are from several different institutional facility yards. None are General Population(G.P.) that i know of.
SATF (Substance Abuse Treatment Facility) is bleeding the state for medical benefits, like claiming this building as a medical facility, under the guise of COVID quarantine. But the administration is using the building as an isolation unit. All of the guys housed here are said to be in transit, transitioning from some place to another, but on the cool they all are trouble makers of the California Department of Corrections and “rehabilitation” (CDCR). We get zero yard, zero dayroom, zero facility activities like law library, education, canteen, vocation, etc. They terminated all of our privileges except for writing a letter. And if one doesn’t have postage stamps, it sucks to be you.
The current CDCR 602 [grievance form] is being remodeled thanks to the San Quentin Prison Law Office’s latest negotiation to the Armstrong lawsuit against CDCR to wire the institutions for cameras and microphones to protect the disabled prisoners being abused by pigs and covered up by crooked administrators trying to protect their skeletons from being leaked to the public.
So chances of getting a 602 going anywhere right now is more slim than the yester years.
Rumor has it that a pig killed emself not long ago, due to state layoffs. So the bull shit is in the air. Free staff are refusing to come to work in support of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) work strike against prison closures. The attitude is that prisoners ain’t got shit coming right now at SATF. And if they try pushing the issue, then label them a gang leader and transfer them into an active gladiator environment.
The cadre here are educated to concentrate on being released. Don’t bite into the pigs provocation. They are doing everything they can to prevent us from seeing that free society because they understand the power that we have with zero attachments and very little loyalty to what they are loyal to. Leaders are locating Agent Smith in their comfort zones, gyms, churches, restaurants, etc and revisiting some very awkward conversations that originated on the prison yard.
Tupac Shakur responds to an interviewer That’s why i put the ‘k’ to it. Know what? Niggas was telling me about this illuminati shit while i’m in jail, right, like “the dollar, you know.” That’s another way to keep yourself in chains yo. That’s another way to keep you unconfident. And i put the ‘k’ there cuz i’m killing that illuminati shit, trust me!"
People yellin’ “Wake up!” But they’re still dreamin They say “killuminati” But they don’t know the meaning They took Pac’s saying way out of context ’Cuz what he meant is that illuminati shit is nonsense he wasn’t saying we should kill anybody, he was saying we should kill that talk of illuminati ’Cuz all it is is a bunch of hocus pocus to make us feel powerless and shift all of our focus from the corporations and the corrupt government to the secret societies and sacred covenants That’s what they want so they don’t have to take you serious They brush you off as a conspiracy theorist.
The AQLA is a radical group of anarchists who promote the school of thought that advocates anarchism and social revolution as the means to queer liberation and abolition of hierarchies such as homophobia, lesbophobia, transmisogyny, biphobia, patriarchy, and heteronormativity. In the Tennessee prison system there were no type of groups that were geared at the LGBTQ+ community. In this system, we are the minority and the oppressed of the oppressed. Often times people in the LGBTQ+ community are harassed not only by the pigs but other prisoners as well.
As a self-identified Queer person i see all this going on and it disgusted and outraged me so i felt the need to start a group that not only unified the community but would also serve as a means of educating our members and providing them with a level of political consciousness and get them to see who our enemy is. Our aim is to destigmatize the LGBTQ+ community in regards to other prisoners and lumpen organizations and to hopefully build unity with these other organizations around a common enemy.
The oppression and marginalization of queer and trans people in prison is all too prevalent and for the most part we’re left to suffer at the hands of pigs and inmates alike. But it’s my aim in forming this organization to see that we are seen as humyns who are worthy of respect in this environment. We have a rich hystory of courageous revolutionary comrades who struggled for our freedom all throughout the Gay Liberation Movement. We want to build alliances with other prisoners and L.O.s and hope to educate them and get them to put aside their insecurities or prejudice towards us and build unity to overthrow the common enemy. We hope for fellow captives to gain security in themselves and therefore have respect for our struggle seeing that we are an oppressed people. We implore them not to use racist or prejudiced attitudes toward us. We are NOT a threat to them. We have a right to be free from violence and oppression just like any other group. But we are determined to fight for our respect and freedom. Here’s what the 5 principles of the UFPP mean to us:
Peace: We strive to cease the endless drama and animosity that is prevalent within the u$ penal colony. We are divided enough already by the oppressive pigs and prisoners so we do not need to fight against ourselves over petty prison politics and macho/alpha-male foolishness. We need to stand together and defend ourselves from oppression.
Unity: We seek to unite with those facing the same struggle as us for common interest. To accomplish this, we must have open lines of communication and learn to talk civilly. We know the pigs will use “Divide & Conquer” strategies any chance they can and will gain control if we’re not unified.
Growth: Education and the freedom to grow is crucial when building unity. As revolutionaries, we must always strive to get our politics as flawless as possible and bring the level of political consciousness to the highest possible point.
Internationalism: We must seek the collective liberation of ALL oppressed people. We all are victims of the oppressors but we must go from victims to victors. We must all unite against the common enemy because we can’t liberate ourselves if we’re participating in the oppression of others.
Independence: We must have organizations that are fully independent from the u$ government and all its branches, even down to the police. The racist, capitalist, imperialist system does not serve us or have our best interests in mind. If able, they will co-opt our groups and water down anything we’re trying to do. By instituting independent power we won’t have to compromise our political goals.
As a group we fully pledge ourselves to the United Front and will work to abolish the imperialist u$ empire. We will gladly unite with any group who promotes an end to capitalism, imperialism, fascism, patriarchy, etc., etc., and I want to thank you at MIM for helping to bring the people to a place of constructive revolutionary purpose.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome the newly formed AQLA as an ally in the anti-imperialist prison movement. Gender is one line of division used by the oppressors against the imprisoned lumpen, and we support their efforts to counter that through outreach and alliances with other lumpen organizations.
Anarchists differ from communists, in short, by disagreeing with point 2 of MIM(Prisons)’s six main points. While we share in our end goals, we differ on the strategy on getting there. This is a difference that would prevent comrades from joining MIM(Prisons) or the organizations it leads, such as United Struggle from Within. The function of the united front is for organizations like ours to join forces for a common cause, without giving up our differences on other key points such as this.
April 2021 - The San Quentin (SQ) administration has been running two modified programs on Death Row under the guise of social distancing since the pandemic began. Both look so good on paper, but how they look on paper and how they really work are the only things six feet apart and the result was putting many six feet under.
Death Row’s seven group yards were divided into 14 yards back in the first quarter of 2020. That was accomplished by sending half of East Block (EB) out one day, then the other half the next day with Death Row prisoners warehoused in Donner Section (DS). Which side of EB DS went out with switched at least three times – before, during and after spikes of COVID-19 on Death Row and throughout the prison. In addition to the switches thrown on the tracks of this crazy train, at no time was there a maximum allowed number of prisoners set for each of the yards. Requests to set a maximum number per yard and prepare daily lists by going cell to cell through both sides of EB and the DS tiers (as is done for ‘walk-alone’ due to the limited number of cages) were ignored all the way to Sacramento. Does CDCR prefer the truth be released at half capacity perhaps? Appeal#SQ-A-20-01123 remains unanswered since it was sent for final review on 14 July 2020.
No emphasis on social distancing regarding the shower program in DS exists anywhere but on paper as well. The Daily Program Status Report (PSR) fabricated 14 July 2020 explains only four showers can be used at a time. It conveniently omits the fact there are only four showers total. These consist of steel mesh cages – each sharing a mesh wall with the other. Three are approximately 3 1/2’ x 3 1/2’. The fourth is designed to accommodate a wheelchair. Nobody using these showers can be 6’ away from the prisoner in the adjoining cage. Perhaps CDCR hopes to bring in waterboarding. That would certainly be the effect if you wear a mask in the shower.
Prisoners can refuse to go to yard unless there’s a unit search. Prisoners can even refuse to shower, opting for an in-cell ‘bird bath.’ However, the San Quentin administration is now moving all Death Row prisoners from DS to EB. So, the four shower cage problem disappears as if in a mist of droplets, because the EB showers only accommodate one prisoner at a time.
It ‘seems’ all the moves are deemed safe and if that is indeed true, there is still no purpose for a 14 yard program except to keep something looking good on paper. It’s not working good at all if you read about it on this paper though. That’s because this explains how CDCR managed to execute prisoners even during a moratorium.
Comrades, I want to highlight the issues surrounding the Erick Riddick case because I feel it did not get enough media coverage. Sure there was enough attention given to free him after 30 years, however that is only because he knew a famous rapper. What about the thousands of other people in prison who don’t know any famous celebrities?
[Editor: Erick Riddick was released in May 2021 after 30 years in prison in a deal for time served for a guilty plea. His case was championed by Meek Mill, who he met in prison, and brought his case to the attention of some law students at Georgetown University.]
Riddick’s case disturbed me personally because I too tried to raise a claim of actual innocence in court only to be told that claims of actual innocence are not cognizable. For all who do not understand legal language, that means ‘so what if you have evidence of innocence, the law does not permit one to be freed on those grounds.’
The inequality of Herrera v. Collins 506 U.S. 390 (1993) should enrage anyone who has an atom of decency in them. All of these prejudiced kind of laws are opined in private, however the very moment it is brought to the public’s attention at large, like with Erick Riddick, the pretense of justice is miraculously assumed.
Riddick had solid evidence of his innocence and yet that was not enough for his release from prison after 30 years! Because of Herrera v. Collins, Erick Riddick had to plea to a 3rd degree murder charge in exchange for release. The very notion of the plea deal is illegal – words like extortion, ransom, kidnapping, come to mind – but when are government officials ever subject to the law?
When I was in county jail the sheriffs officers there would boast that a court can not order them to do anything. They would say “a court order is only a suggestion.”
Does anyone in the free world care that 4% of the U.S. population has a ‘do whatever you want’ license or is it ok so long as it don’t happen to you? What? You didn’t know that 4% of the U.S. population works to incarcerate Americans? Look around, someone standing close to you locks people in a cage for a paycheck. They take off their uniform before entering the public domain because they know they are enemies of the people. They are hiding their evil, that’s why they change clothes before leaving work at the police station.
I am doing a life sentence, so that you will be frightened into submission. Any who are complicit encourage further tyranny. I don’t have anything to lose but my chains, but I guarantee you this, if you do not stand against the police now your kids will suffer a much worse fate than mine.
None but prisoners know how unjust the laws are. Judges are paid in excess of $300,000 annually to give life sentences but the jury has no right to know what sentence a guilty verdict carries. The Riddick case should be mainstream media. The public deserves to know that the law don’t care if a man is innocent, their only concern is intimidation, life sentences for some so that all will cower down & pay heavy taxes.
4% of the population roams around with a gun and a badge and a fat belly, living off the working man’s hard work! They carry that gun because they are too lazy for a real job. When will government officials be held accountable for their crimes against humanity? The time to stand united against the police is NOW!! It is me today, tomorrow it will be you. Resist NOW!
Out here in California there’s a buzz going through the state that 76,000 prisoners are eligible for an early release as of 8 May 2021. This is some great news that there’s going to be a mass expulsion of prisoners from these koncentration kamps. There’s a high chance that comrades of New Afrika and Aztlán who are most dedicated to the struggle of the liberation from the grip of imperialism will be freed into society to reach and teach those who inspire to make a positive step for growth and development for the lumpen in Amerikkka through the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons(UFPP).
While it is great to hear that so many prisoners are now eligible for an early release in the state prisons in California, we can’t forget about our political leaders and soldiers who are still locked away in the FEDS, and those in exile. We can’t forget about Larry Hoover Sr, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Bomani Shakur, Assata Shakur, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin FKA H. Rap Brown, and many others who sacrificed their all for the liberation of the lumpen of the United $tates of Amerikkka from capitalism and imperialism. To be honest, we owe it to our political leaders and soldiers to fight for their freedom twice as much as them who fought for us back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
With the release of 76,000 prisoners, a lot of comrades will be hitting the streets and it’s time to go into overdrive. We can’t afford to get out there and fall by the wayside and end up becoming reformist or joining the pop culture revolutionary popularity contest. We don’t do this for popularity or none of that other self-glorifying bullshit. We do this for the reason that liberation of our peoples and folks NEEDS TO BE DONE! PERIOD! Teach the youth of our communities about the truth of their past, what’s really going on around them in the present, and tell them about our leaders who are not being publicly and world-widely advocated for. Let it be known that prisoners are still HUMAN BEINGS; human beings that are majority from our lumpen communities, and that our lives, our political leaders and soldiers lives matter. Regardless of what the individual was convicted for or alleged of doing, inhuman treatment shouldn’t be the punishment.
In the words of Frederick Douglass: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Even though it is crucial that we do re-educate as many mis-educated imperialist/capitalist brainwashed adults as possible, we’ll have a more productive output if we put more focus on teaching the youth through building University of Maoist Thought schools, classrooms or at the least study groups.
“When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself with what he will do. He with low self-esteem is more likely to accept social conditions that society expects of him. He will seek sympathy and handouts as he feels he cannot raise from his beggar’s status.” - Carter G. Woodson, in The Racial Race p. 217
As long as the lumpen masses are stuck in this beggar mindset, then situations like the murder of George Floyd, where multiple bystanders who could have stopped the murder by pushing the pigs off of him instead of begging, pleading and calling the pigs on their fellow co-workers for the checking and correction of unjustified behavior and conduct of so-called officials.
Our leaders will be in these koncentration kamps dying a slow, miserable, tormenting death and many more in our communities will die on the streets and in these kamps if we don’t change as many minds of the new generation as we can.
Right now we’re in the middle of a war, a lot of individuals who are in the class of the petty bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie, who benefit from capitalism is going to deny, but we of the First World lumpen(FWL) all know better than to fall for the lie. As of now we’re working on building up our strength to overthrow the imperialist government and put in our own which will be the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Oppressed Nations (JDPON). To accomplish this, those who are going to be in the wave of releases from CDCR must reach those who are the local leaders of the BLM and NAACP, get them in the studies of the concepts and ideologies that’ll lead to Maoism. If they refuse to change their reformist and revisionist ways, then we show the youth the contradictions of the BLM and NAACP and show them the difference of us who are not reformist or revisionist.
Let it be known that it’s more of a duty than a natural right to defend oneself from any and all attacks by whomever, most importantly and especially the pigs! How long are we going to stand by and let these so-called officials murder us without even attempting to defend ourselves? If we must die like the artwork on the 73 issue cover of ULK states, then it’s best one dies on their feet defending oneself, if they can’t get away. The reformist, revisionist and history has proven that non-violent approach doesn’t get the job done, to obtain freedom, justice and equality. A United Front of armed resistance is the only way.
Through dialectical materialism, historical materialism and deep studying of one’s true history and of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism, we’ll get our moral correctness. And through learning hand-to-hand combat (i.e. martial arts, boxing etc.), obtaining licenses to carry for those who can, also make our own rifle clubs and be our own security force for the protection of our neighborhoods, when we rally, etc. This will be our way to achieve freedom from imperialism through armed resistance as we build our strength to overthrow imperialism, once and for all. Let’s get to work comrades!
I’m a fan of literal and biblical hell But I’m not a fan of people getting tortured to tell Is it because I’m a Moslem that they feed me the wrong foods Or can I say in Jesus’ name to make Jehovah say I do She speaks better English than me yet she’s not an Amerikkkan Maybe because the only citizens are the Ku Klux Klan How can a European call home this land on the Northern shores When the first inhabitants were the Natives and the Moors Columbus didn’t really find this land empty And George Washington didn’t really chop down a cherry tree Columbo found this land full of “savages” he say And that cherry tree was the flag of the Moors of today I wonder will this be said amongst the People And when will the New Afrikan be considered equal I sit here contemplating hour by hour And when I “Rage” against the system I yell Black Power
This is a response to the article “King Von’s Passing and Lumpen Hip-Hop Culture.” After reading this article, it made me think about my own upbringing back in the Midwest during the beginning of what is now called “Drill music.” A lot of us younger folks gravitated towards this latest sound of gangsta rap due to relation of the folks rapping about their own organization, street, block or side of the city. Both the Gangster Disciples and the Black Disciples representing themselves, and also dissed each other which led to the deaths of many, such as Lil Jojo, who was a young G.D. member to King Von who was a B.D. member. But what would Larry Hoover Sr. and David Barksdale say about all that’s been going on?
As kensfolks, we grew up with each other (G.D.’s and B.D.’s) most likely. Went to the same schools, went or still attend the same church or mosque, live on the same side of town, even lived at each others’ homes at a period of time. We have family members who are members of both G.D.’s and B.D.’s, like the word KENSFOLKS, we’re all FAMILY and its time for WE to engage in a family reunion to right all wrongs that’s been happening in our communities. If you’re a member of the G.D.’s or a member of the B.D.’s, or the other Disciple subsets, WE all say FOLKS at the end.
G.D.’s, B.D.’s and the other subsets of Disciples out in the free society in some communities are already in the commission of the family reunion, and are growing and developing to be more righteous members of our society. Being the beacons of light to uplift humanity out of its fallen state. It’s now time to push it into full effect, show ourselves and to the world who look at us for the culture, which was stated in the article, “…The lingo that was used only in certain blocks and neighborhoods of SOUTHSIDE Chicago can now be heard from all major cities in the United $tates from Atlanta to Los Angeles…”. So let’s come and show reconciliation to one another and to be learned in the right way, so WE can fight in a United Front for the Freedom of our brothers and sisters of struggle, our leaders, Freedom Fighters and political prisoners behind these prison walls.
MO FIRE!!! MO FIRE!!!
FREE LARRY HOOVER SR. AND ALL POLITICAL LEADERS!! AND MOE POWER TO THE KENSFOLKS NATION!!!