From Victory to Defeat: China’s Socialist Road and Capitalist Reversal by Pao-Yu Ching Foreign Languages Press 2019
In a recent online debate between two random “Marxist-Leninists” and two fascists, one of the self-described “Marxist-Leninists” stated that every country in the last 100 years has been socialist. The fascists are happy to parade such meaningless dribble as “Marxism” so that they can make Marxism look bad. With Obama’s election, white nationalist fear became expressed in many deragatory words, including “communism” and “Marxism,” with no sense of irony that they were accusing the number one enemy of the world’s people of being a communist.
What is common among “Marxists” in the First World is saying every country is socialist that says it is and has some form of state intervention in the economy. This superficial analysis has also helped muddy the water of what socialism is. And it allows the fascists to say that they share many of the goals and ideals of the self-described Marxists. In particular they both look to China as a positive model of how to run a country and they both think Amerikans and various First World European nations are being victimized by the current world system. The fact that many of these fascists have chauvinist anti-Chinese views and wish war against the social-imperialist CPC is of no matter. For MIM, the question of wether today’s China is socialist or social-imperialist is a dividing line question.
To understand what socialism is, MIM has long recommended The Chinese Road to Socialism by Wheelright and MacFarlane. For the history of the coup that overthrew socialism in China MIM distributed The Capitalist Roaders Are Still on The Capitalist Road. In 1986, MIM cadre Henry Park published “Postrevolutionary China and the Soviet NEP” comparing state capitalism in the early days of the Russian revolution to state capitalism after the coup in China. In 1988, Park published “The Political Economy of Counterrevolution in China: 1976-88”, which tied all of these subjects together through a Maoist framework and analyzes the failures of state capitalism in post-Maoist China.
Pao-Yu Ching’s From Victory to Defeat serves as a more up-to-date introduction to the topic of the differences between socialism and capitalism in the last 100 years of Chinese history. It is written as a sort of FAQ and provides a broad overview, while explaining the key concepts that allow us to differentiate between the two economic systems. As such, MIM(Prisons) recommends Pao-Yu Ching’s work as a solid starting place when exploring this topic. The topic of “What is socialism?” must be fully grasped by all communists.
It seems that Pao-Yu may disagree with the Maoist class analysis. In eir introduction ey states, “Today the living conditions of the working masses in imperialist countries have grown increasingly difficult.”(p.9) Ey then alludes to rising prices, rising debt and precarious work, none of which necessarily reflect worsening objective conditions. Without a recognition that these populations are parasitic on the working classes, this line leads to the politics of the fascists and social-fascist “Marxist-Leninists” mentioned above. It is also relevant to the question of revisionism in the formerly socialist countries who looked to emulate the lifestyles of Amerikans. Since this point is not taken up in the rest of the book we will not dwell on it here, but it remains the biggest problem with this work.
What is Socialism?
Many of our readers and those who are interested in what we have to say in general are still confused as to what socialism is for the reasons mentioned above. Ultimately it is defined differently by different people, and it is used politically rather than scientifically. Pao-Yu outlines what the most advanced example of socialism looked like quite nicely in eir short book, so we will just mention some key points here to help clarify things.
Socializing industry first required that the state took control of the means of production in the form of factories, supply lines, raw materials, etc. This is where many stop with their definition of socialism. Some other key things that Pao-Yu points out is that success was no longer measured in the surplus produced but rather on improvements in the production and overall running of the enterprise.(p.20) This recognizes that some will be more profitable in a capitalist sense, but that the nation benefits more when all enterprises are improving, not just the profitable ones. Another key point is that laborers were guaranteed a job that was paid by the state and a standard rate.(p.28) This eliminated labor as a commodity that you must sell on the open market. Commodities are at the heart of capitalism. Socialism is the the transition away from commodities, starting with the most important commodity of humyn labor.
The above only applied to a minority of the country, as the vast majority of China was a peasant population. It is only in recent years that the peasantry is now less than half the population. It is in the countryside where the capitalist roaders and the Maoists disagreed the most. Pao-Yu walks us through the different phases of the transition to socialism and how the principal contradiction shifted in each phase. Ey explains the contradiction amongst the countryside, where production was not owned collectively by the whole population, and the cities where it was. The disagreement with the capitalist roaders was a disagreement over the principal contradiction at the time, which they thought was the advanced social system (of socialism) with the backward productive forces (of small scale farming by peasants). To resolve this contradiction the capitalist roaders thought they must accelerate production, industrialize agriculture, and feed the industrialized cities with the surplus of that agricultural production. This focus on production is one of the key defining lines of revisionism.
While Marx taught us that the productive forces are the economic base that define humyn history and the superstructure, he also said the contradiction with the relations of production is what leads to revolutionary transformations of society. As Pao-Yu points out, learning from Mao Zedong, during these revolutionary periods is when the relations of production become primary, in order to unleash the productive forces that have become stagnant under the previous mode of production.(p.30) In other words peasants living under semi-feudalism in China pre-liberation were not improving their conditions. They needed to revolutionize how they related to each other, how they were organized, specifically the class relations, in order to move towards a new mode of production (socialism) that could meet their needs much better. Therefore Mao focused on education, theory, class struggle, culture, the people, instead of focusing on production, profitability, surplus, and wage incentives, as the capitalist roaders did. The Maoist path took the Chinese peasants through a gradual process of increasing collectivization through communes, which was quickly dismantled after the coup in 1976.
What is Democracy?
Another question those living in bourgeois democracies often ask is how you can have democracy with only one party, where people are purged for having the wrong political line? Pao-Yu makes the point well by explaining that in established bourgeois democracies you can have many parties and many candidates, because they all represent the same class.(p.48) This is the case because these countries are stable in their mode of production (capitalism). In the transition to a new economic system the political struggle is between two classes. In the case of capitalism thransitioning to socialism, it is between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat (and their class allies on each side).
The bourgeoisie by definition is always competing amongst itself, so it cannot have one party represent all of their interests, except in extreme crises when fascism becomes viable. In the United $tates today, the left-wing of the bourgeoisie are represented by the democrats while the right-wing flock to the republicans. Even amongst these parties are different bourgeois factions fighting amongst each other. The proletariat however is united in it’s class interest, so there will be no need for multiple proletarian parties. There are many books that outline the components of socialist democracy where people select their representatives at each level of administration, where free speech and criticism are encouraged, where education is universal and free and where everyone is involved in studying theory and practice to shape the decisions that affect their day-to-day lives. It does not require having multiple political parties to choose from as bourgeois democracies do in their electoral farce.
What is China?
Pao-Yu covered China before, during, and after socialism so that the reader can better understand the differences. As such the book is a good introduction to the explanation of why China has not been on the socialist road since 1976. Ey touches on the loss of the guaranteed job, with the introduction of temporary workers, the ending of the right to strike and free expression among the workers, the ability of managers to start keeping the profits from the enterprises they oversee, the loss of universal medical care, and the focus on production for other nations, while importing the pollution of those consumer nations. Ey briefly documents the struggles of the workers to maintain control of the enterprises they once owned collectively. China is now a capitalist hell hole for the majority objectively and it does not matter wether the CPC has millions of cadre who believe the opposite subjectively.
The Global Economy
One point Pao-Yu makes that we have also stressed as being important, is the role of the proletarianization of the Chinese masses in saving global imperialism from crisis. When the imperialist economies were facing economic crisis in the 1970s, one third of the world’s population was not available to be exploited by the imperialist system. One of the laws of capitalism is its need to always expand. When China went capitalist, it opened up a vast population to exploitation and super-exploitation for the imperialists. This labor was the source of value that the imperialist system thrived off of by the mid 1980s until just recently.
Interestingly, Pao-Yu says that almost 30% of the Chinese population is petty bourgeoisie, owning (often multiple) investment properties and travelling around the world.(p.111) In a previous article we explained that we saw China as a proletarian country still despite its imperialist activities. We referred to Bromma’s research that stated China’s “middle class” was 12-15% of the population some years prior. It is interesting to hear that the Chinese petty bourgeoisie has reached the same size in absolute numbers as the Amerikan one. It would be interesting to compare the wealth of these two groups, we presume the Amerikans remain wealthier. Of course, China is still majority proletariat, while Amerika is almost completely bourgeoisified, so the class interests of these nations overall remain opposed to one another. But we will rarely hear the proletarian voices from China until a new proletarian party rises there.
The housing market is one example of how China has emulated the United $tates. Investing in properties has become an important way for the new petty bourgeoisie in China to accumulate wealth without working. Just last week, the Chinese investment firm Evergrande made headlines when it became public knowledge that they would not be able to pay the billions of dollars they owe. Evergrande has significant backing from Amerikan finance capital, as is true for the Chinese economy in general. Therefore the collapse of the Chinese housing market could have real ripple effects in the global economy.
The fact that real estate investment firms exist in China, and that they are defaulting on hundreds of billions of dollars owed, is really all you need to know to see that the economy is oriented towards profit and not people. Things like inflation and bubbles and stock markets and speculation just didn’t exist during the Maoist era. The reintroduction of these things for the last four decades destroyed the progress in class struggle in China long ago.
I cry and the teardrop is full of metal bars The bars being another representative for these hidden scars No one can feel my pain because it’s locked away How can you sit in a cell and stare at the four walls all day? Looking this way and that way, right and left, which ever way the tears flow Pain and the trauma is the very essence that cause the tears to grow I lost my liberty and the only thing I can do is freely cry
Plastick of MIM(Prisons) adds: I’m sure many of our readers can relate to the pain this poem expresses. The retribution and the brutality the pigs lay out on the masses and revolutionaries strikes us at our hearts. Mao Zedong taught us that all men die, but death varies in significance: death lighter than a feather and death heavier than Mount Tai. Malcolm X in regards to his life as a lumpen gangster said that it is of no shame to have once been a criminal, but the shame comes from staying in that criminal road unwilling to change.
The author of this poem has done more than just cry in prison. Ey has supported MIM(Prisons) financially, reported on local conditions and studied revolutionary theory. Of course these things can all be controlled by the state or the whims of the prison guard, so perhaps they cannot always be done freely, or without retribution. We print this poem as a genuine expression of a USW comrade, but include this addendum since we do not agree with the conclusion as the pages of Under Lock & Key should make clear.
If you are reading this comrade, know that the world is with you! That goes for our readers as well! There’s much more we can do – more that we must do – against the imperialists and the reactionaries. The world is yours!
On Thursday, 12 August 2021, CNN reported that Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul would fall into the hands of the Taliban in 30 to 60 days.(1) On Sunday the 15th (only 3 days later!) the Taliban took control of Kabul. One day after that, the chief comprador leader of the Islamic Republic, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country on an airplane.
As thousands stormed the capital’s airport to flee the country from the Taliban takeover, U.$. soldiers escorting Amerikan personnel shot and killed two Afghanis on the tarmac of Kabul International Airport.(2) Video footage captured citizens hanging onto the side of the airplane and falling off mid-departure.
In regards to the humiliating end note of their 20 years war, the National $ecurity Advisor pig Jake Sullivian said the following:
“Despite the fact that we spent 20 years and tens of billions of dollars to give the best equipment, the best training and the best capacity to the Afghan security forces, we could not give them the will and they ultimately decided that they would not fight for Kabul and they would not fight for the country.”(3)
U.$. imperialism and the “democracy” they claim to spread around the world propped up the extremely reactionary government of the now fallen Islamic Republic. Despite wimmin’s rights having been a focal excuse for the imperialists to invade Afghanistan, their puppets in the Islamic Republic had no meaningful difference in wimmin’s rights in Afghanistan.
To the U.$. imperialists, their defeat (while surprising in how quickly Kabul fell) did not come as shock. On Saturday, 29 February 2020, (around a year and half before the fall of Kabul) the United $tates and the Taliban met in a five star hotel in Qatar and signed agreements to end the 20 years war.(4) One of the primary points of the agreements was complete withdrawal of U.$. troops within 14 months.(5) It seems that this is one of the rare agreements in which Amerikans made a promise and actually kept it with an oppressed nation. Other agreements included Taliban’s refusal to “terrorist groups” such as Al-Qaeda to use Afghanistan’s territory as operation grounds, and lifting of U.$. sanctions on the country.
The Sober Taliban?
In the Amerikan press, there were two big talking points around their defeat in Afghanistan. One was the would-be refugees trying to flee Afghanistan into the arms of Amerika, which nicely reinforces the story that Amerikans were the saviors in the country after all. The second was how wimmin would fair when the Taliban took over again. This reinforces the justification for invading Afghanistan to have been to liberate wimmin from gender oppression, a point that continues to serve U.$. militarism even after a failed 20 year war. A point that had nothing to do at all with why the U.$. invaded.
The Taliban is not unaware of these perceptions, leading to their representatives at the peace negotiations to suggest for less backwards treatment of wimmin under their rule.(6) Zabihullah Mujahid has claimed that they will “honor women’s rights,” and the “independence of private media” (journalists, news organizations, etc.).(7)
Mujahid’s comment highlights an important part of the Taliban’s new look (and most importantly, their class character). As rising from the bourgeois nationalist position, they were part of a country-wide Islamic movement to usurp warlord factions which ruled Afghanistan. The warlords themselves rose with western aid to usurp Soviet social-imperialist compradors led by Mohammad Najibullah. Mohammad Najibullah also started out with bourgeois nationalist tendencies usurping monarchist compradors.
After coming to power in the 1990s, the Taliban were overthrown by the U.$. imperialists themselves in the early 2000s after seeking to bite the hand that fed them decades before. Now, in 2021, they have risen to the seat again in Kabul. In order to maintain legitimacy, they must seek acceptability to new potential imperialist sponsors. If that means talking the talk to become the neo-colonial semi-feudal comprador state that the puppet regime beforehand never lived up to, then they must do it out of tactical necessity. Despite this tricky position that they have found themselves in, the United $tates’ do not seem to be the number one contender as Afghanistan’s neo-colonial ruler.
Upon the line of which class interest is at the helm of Afghanistan’s liberation from the United $tates’, we should also emphasize that under the leadership of the national bourgeois there was also the petty-bourgeoisie, the peasantry, and the agricultural proletariat within the Taliban movement. This character of Afghanistan’s national liberation gives time and space for the Afghan masses to breathe and provide necessary conditions for discussions on the country’s past, present, and future: what is to be done? What were the historical conditions that led up to colonial exploitations and humiliation? What does our liberation from the U.$. imperialists mean today? These questions will be further asked during the transformation of subjective and objective forces by revolutionaries.
The Social-Imperialist Road to Afghanistan
China was one of the first major imperialist countries to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as a legitimate country.(8) It is nothing new for social-imperialism (not only in Afghanistan but for the whole world) to hijack bourgeois nationalist movements and turn them into satellite states. The number one tactic of Soviet social-imperialism was through neo-colonial aid, and China seems to be using the same tactic. China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said on September 8th, only a few weeks after the Taliban’s victory, that they will be providing the Taliban government $31 million dollars equivalent in food and aid.(9)
While publicly declaring their $31 million dollar deal with the Taliban, Wang Yi has also expressed calls for the Taliban to combat and remove the Uyghar jihadist movements of Xinjiang province – primarily the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP). Where China borders Afghanistan, the Xinjiang province is where most Uyghars reside (a majority Muslim national minority group of China facing oppression). The Turkestan Islamic Party – which has had historical alliances with the Taliban of Afghanistan – poses a major threat to the stability of capitalist China alongside the general Uyghar minority group. As a group who once declared liberation for the Muslim world, the Taliban will now have to be in a position of being the agents for Chinese social-imperialism against fellow Muslim nations/organizations. This is the limit to Jihadism as an anti-imperialist force (and other bourgeois nationalist anti-imperialisms) and the poisonous consequences of social-imperialism. Without Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, liberated countries will only fall back to colonialism.
Long Live Afghanistan
The United $tates’ defeat in Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s victory is a victory for the Afghan people. For the first time, Afghanistan could have a chance of being an independent nation state in our modern capitalist era. However, foreign meddling by the Amerikans, Chinese and others continue to threaten the development of Afghanistan’s self-determination. It is only by continuing down the road of independence that questions of economics, gender and the urban/rural divide in the country can be adequately addressed. The Taliban has served as a historically important and necessary opponent of foreign occupation, but the Afghan people need more than that to continue to address the contradictions they face as a nation. Revolutionaries here in the United $tates must continue to oppose our government’s interference in that progress.
Long Live Afghanistan!
Down with world imperialism!
1. Barbara Starr, “Intelligence assessments warn Afghan capital could be cut off and collapse in coming months,” CNN, 12 August 2021.
2. Rebecca Klapper, “U.S. Military Fatally Shoots 2 at Kabul Airport as Biden Orders in 1,000 Additional Troops,” Newsweek, 12 August 12, 2021.
4. Saphora Smith, “U.S.-Taliban sign landmark agreement in bid to end America’s longest war,” MSNBC, 29 February 2020.
6. Amanda Thub, “Why the Taliban’s Repression of Women May Be More Tactical Than Ideological,” The New York Times, 4 October 2021.
7. Associated Press, “The Taliban Claim They’ll Respect Women’s Rights — With Their Reading Of Islamic Law,” NPR, August 12, 2021
8. Memri, “During September, China-Taliban Relations Continued To Strengthen,” 5 October 2021.
9. Helen Reagan, “China to provide Afghanistan with $31 million worth of food and Covid vaccines,” CNN, 9 September 2021.
These last couple of months, all that was on the news was the U.$ evacuation of Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. U.$. citizens, military personnel (i.e. veterans, active duty) and politicians have been showing their distaste for how Joe Biden pulled the U.$. troops out of Afghanistan; where scenes of Afghanis who aided the U.$. in their failed attempt to incorporate a U.$ controlled government in their homeland, frantically rushing to the Kabul airport to catch a ride with the U.$. citizens and troops. During the frantic and chaotic evacuation, ISIS-Kabul (ISIS-K) committed a suicide-bomb attack, which killed 13 U.$. troops, leading Joe Biden in a press conference to state, “.. We won’t forget and we won’t forgive. We’ll hunt you (ISIS-K) down till the end of the earth…”. I had to laugh at the screen once I heard the words leave Joe Biden’s mouth, because of the contradictions that this U.$. government hands out to the world and her own citizens continuously.
The U.$. preaches of peace and unity to the world over, but terrorizes or keeps a sniper scope on territories of the world, where it wants control over in the disguise of “the spreading of democracy.” But the only democracy that needs to be spreading faster than the COVID-19 virus and all its variants, is the New Democracy controlled by the Joint Dictatorship of the Proletariat of the Oppressed Nations(JPDON). Under the JDPON all oppressed nations may dictate their own destiny and as a collective of oppressed nations keep imperialism in the cage where it rightfully deserves to be in.
The democracy that the imperialists want to implement and maintain will only bring death and destruction. Our FWL men, women, and children are being deemed as terrorists then are murdered and imprisoned by the U.$. piggy force. Just how our TW brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews are being murdered and imprisoned by these imperialist armies and drones. Just how the comrade O.G. Hawk poem in issue #74 stated: “… FBI, CIA, and all of America’s comrades have hurt more people than anybody on earth crying that democracy is what it’s worth!”
We can go back into history and see the shaded hand of the U.$. stirring the pot of confusion and destruction, while the other hand points an entirely different picture of the truth. From the “War on Drugs” to the recently ended “War in the Middle East”, both were supplied with the money, drugs and weapons by the U.$ government and counterparts. The U.$. piggy force are trained to be in a war zone when they hit the local streets; for to them our neighborhood blocks are their Iraq and Afghanistan. How many of We have been terrorized by the U.$. government? As this article was being written, Haitian migrants were being whipped by U.$. border control officers on horse back at the Southern border of this country; an Afghani man and a couple of Afghani children were bombed in a drone attack when mistaken as a convoy of ISIS-K members. The latter is one of many over this ended 20 year war, that the U.$. government won’t admit. Prisoners from the East coast to the West coast are still being tortured with inhumane treatment, as We the FW lumpen are being singled out and put under manipulation techniques to enchant the spell of defeatism; deferring both the leaders and comrades from continuing on with the fight to liberate oneself from a capitalist/imperialist power.
We won’t turn the other cheek, extend the hand of friendship and sing “kumbaya” or whatever make-me-feel-warm-&-fuzzy-inside bullshit that the imperialists use as a ploy to keep We in a docile state. Holding on to the hope for that perfect union that Martin Luther King Jr., his descendants and followers of the non-violent movement have yet to experience. Just as Biden said about ISIS-K, the FW lumpen and TW proletariat won’t forget nor forgive the capitalist/imperialist governments for the genocide of all indigenous peoples and folks around the world, for colonialism and neocolonialism, the destruction of the planet Earth for profitable gain for the few; while everyone else is fighting each other for the top or a closer to the top spots of this fucked up capitalist pyramid scheme.
As We liberate our minds and each other from the imperialist/capitalist doctrines, culture and power, We’ll come to see justice being served to the worlds most wanted terrorist group, and a new age will emerge. An age of Freedom, Justice, and Equality for the majority of the world.
This letter is being sent to you on behalf of Texas TEAM ONE, a prisoner-led organization committed to organizing us captives of Texas as a class, and collectively struggling for human rights. While We do not believe that the fight behind enemy lines is Our end all and be all, We do believe and hope that by inspiring the masses of TX captives to collectively organize, learn and demand their rights, along with establishing independent institutions for Ourselves, that We can slowly but surely develop Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) into a quasi-university, turning masses of socially alienated delinquents into empowered activists for change, productivity, and revolution.
To begin this process of ‘transforming the criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality,’ We need YOU to join your fellow prisoners in mobilizing the masses for collective direct action.
As you may know, Juneteenth has now been made a federal holiday in amerika. On this day many will sing the praises of Our oppressors or otherwise negate the reality of the lumpen (economically alienated class), that according to amerika’s 13th amendment We are STILL SLAVES. While We do not wish to nullify the intensity of the exploitation and oppression that New Afrikan people held in chattel slavery faced, We must pinpoint to the general public, those upcoming generations of youngsters looking to follow Our footsteps, that to be held in captivity by the state or feds is not only to be frowned upon but is part and parcel with the intentions of this amerikan government, and its capitalist-imperialist rulers. We say NO CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH until the relation of people holding others in captivity is fully abolished!!
Furthermore, as you may also know there has been in recent years a national push to end all forms of extended isolation/solitary confinement. As usual Texas remains stubborn, still holding thousands of us in cages in an inhumane and illegal manner. We, TX TEAM ONE, seek to work with all Our fellow captives to finally bring the torture that is long-term isolation to an end.
Strategically, if We are to ever be able to utilize these prison colonies as cadre-development schools/universities, it is of paramount importance that We remove this tool of repression out of the state’s toolkit. For decades this environment now called Restrictive Housing Unit(RHU) has been used to strategically alienate the best of the best of Our lumpen class. Those who will not capitulate to the destructive and oppressive roll of the state. Political prisoners, writ writers and socially influential captives find themselves in long-term isolation as a form of retaliation, and to maintain the ignorance perpetuated within the daily prison environment. It is past time now that We all, no matter our affiliation or way of life, We must NOW begin to work together to the detriment of Our keepers.
If you like what you’ve read thus far, We ask you to join us in mobilizing the captives on your unit, We are looking forward to Juneteenth 2022. On that day We wanna statewide general strike. Depending on ones level of custody We will organize different plans of action.
If you’re interested in this campaign and wish to take a stand, We need you! Female, Male, LGBTQ, Black, [email protected], [email protected], White, multi-ethnic! We need all of you!
As We scribe this message We are and have been on hunger strike for two weeks in protest against those above mentioned injustices, along with others. Those of Us Souljahs on the Allred RHU have been battling this system and building our level of experience and organization. We summed up the many lessons learned, and the main one is that We must GET ORGANIZED on a statewide level, pop city to the isolation tombs, as one strong and organized body We can effect change and build Ourselves and those of Our peer group into NEW PEOPLE. If you wish to organize with or under the banner of TX TEAM ONE We encourage you to connect with us directly at the following address: TX TeamOne, 113 Stockholm #1A, Brooklyn, NY 11221.
We Look Forward to Hearing From, and Working With, YOU
Dare 2 StruggleDare 2 Win
Tx TeamOne Allred Committee
Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. 12 Point Program
An end to racist practices and policies that allow prisoners to be held indefinitely in conditions of solitary; Restrictive Housing Unit.
We want ALL STG confirmed prisoners to be allowed the opportunity to return to general population if and when they have maintained a satisfactory disciplinary hystory.
We want a mandated LIMIT on the amount of time one can remain in RHU-solitary confinement; We want this mandate in line with the international standard put forth by the U.N.’s ‘Mandela Rules’, which limits said confinement to fourteen days.
We want those who are in RHU to be allowed the opportunity to stimulate their intellect through literacy programs, education programs, life skills, job training, parenting classes, drug & alcohol treatment, arts/crafts programs, support groups, and the building of unions and political formations, all in accordance with Texas state law (Tx.Gov.Code§ 501.009 - Volunteer Organizations), captives should be free to exercise these rights without state interference or obstruction.
We want ALL discrimination against prisoners to CEASE; this is in accordance with Texas state law (Tx.Gov.Code§ 501.001).
We want an independent agency established that will fully investigate grievances and citizen complaints against the governmental institution of TDCJ and its agents.
We want an end to unpaid labor in TDCJ.
We want parole requirements capped off at 35%.
We want captives to be afforded meaningful goodtime/worktime.
We want an end to death by incarceration (death penalty, life without parole, virtual life sentences).
We want life terms capped off at 25 years.
We ultimately want an end to the social and economic relations and political policies that create the conditions of mass class control and national oppression (mass incarceration).
We are asking that any TX prisoners who wish to commit themselves to Our program, to use the above 12 points to inspire activism, and to develop peers in a revolutionary manner via trial and error, to contact us:
TX TeamOne/ 113 Stockholm, #1A/ Brooklyn, NY 11221
On 12 August 2021, staff member Karber at Ionia Correctional Facility in Michigan censored Under Lock & Key 74 for the reason: “Pages 8 & 9 calling for Prisoners to organize for uprising for an up coming date.” These pages featured our center spread on Black August and the September 9th Day of Peace and Solidarity. It is interesting that the oppressor sees prisoners coming together for peace and unity as an “uprising” and something that is deemed a threat to security (which would be necessary to lawfully censor any reading material in the United $tates).
On 7 September 2021, the staff in the mailroom at SCI Frackville in Pennsylvania disliked the same pages and censored ULK 74 for “Information on Page 8 Calls for Action (September 9).” In Amerikan prisons people do not enjoy the civil rights many Amerikans hold so dear. Their right to grieve or in this case to take an “action” is deemed illegal and punished. Banning peaceful protest and other such actions in prisons leads to violence.
Meanwhile a USW comrade in California reported,
“C.O. Solerio [a white female] emailed a Mental Health/Death Doctor a referral against me for displaying erratic behavior. I was exercising and calling cadence out loud ?? As is my custom, I commemorate Black August by demonstrating physical fitness and oratory skills, loud and proud, wherever I be. This year’s action continues to be opposed by C.O.s obsessed with social control.”
This comrade was in quarantine isolation, where ey could not organize eir normal group activities for Black August.
While the President offers up Juneteenth and Indigenous People’s Day as sanctioned celebrations, the imperialists simultaneously repress those trying to commemorate holidays that represent resistance to oppression. In case anyone was fooled into thinking that we’re all equal now.
On 1 August 2021, supporters on the outside began a phone zap to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to protest a new policy that restricted many forms of imagery in the media prisoners received through the mail (Board Policy - 3.91). MIM(Prisons) also began distributing fliers to Texas prisoners, who were writing us from all over the state about this new policy. By 23 August 2021 we received the following update from a comrade in Texas TEAM ONE, a leading organization in this campaign:
“We’re hearing that BP-3.91 has been halted. Supposedly they’re to revise it again to make it more sensical, but it’s not in effect as of this date. However, mail room staff here have been holdin on to all materials, which fall under that policy. They are giving no record of receiving the mail, just holdin it until the policy is amended. So that’s an issue.”
In other facilities they seem to not be acting on the new policy at all.
a comrade in Telford Unit reported: …the policy never took place. The complete ban of publications is outright unconstitutional. I have written several grievances concerning publications. TDCJ-CID will never ban harmless publications (U.S. Weekly, Muscle Fitness, OK, National Geo, etc.). They have no right to and it will only cause problems for the TDCJ-CID. Being that the policy did not take effect 1 August 2021 I ask prisoners to give it no attention. Instead be happy about the victory of being able to receive post cards and not arbitrarily have your peers/loved ones self addressed stamps ripped off your letters that way you may know who is corresponding with you.
a comrade at Michael Unit wrote on 4 October 2021: I need a quick reply to Texas’s BP 3.91(Rev 5) step 2 grievance. My step 1 said:
“An investigation into your allegations has been conducted. It was found that Board Policy 03.91 revised the definition of”sexually explicit" photos. The revision was approved by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. Inmates are given the opportunity to appeal the denial of all sexually explicit images denied through the Director’s Review Committee. No further action warranted."
MIM(Prisons): It is not clear to us if a new policy has been approved as implied by this response from a TDCJ official. What is clear at this time is that the masses mobilized quickly around this issue and the state is responding to that mobilization. Below are reports from some others organizing on this campaign, closing with excerpts from a longer statement by a new comrade explaining the hypocrisy of the new policy and encouraging everyone to stand up for what is right.
a comrade in Stevenson Unit: In regards to the new censorship policy, comrades I shared the sample grievance from Under Lock & Key 74 and directed others to file a grievance with DRC @ PO Box 99 Huntsville, TX 77342-0099. One comrade was given his car mags back after being confiscated by the mailroom. This was after filing the sample grievance you provided me! :)
a Texas comrade: We have already grieved BP-3.91 and we stand with those in Allred sacrificing to end solitary confinement even though there is no solitary here on this medium security unit.
a comrade in Jester Unit: I wanted to let you know everyone is grateful about the “Grievance Against Criminal Board” on the (pictures, magazines, and kill-shots) filed by your organization. I will send you my grievance next week, but not before I get some more signatures and people involved. Please find postage within this letter in support.
a comrade at Hughes Unit reported on 28 September 2021: I have 62 grievances filed on the 3.91 BP that is. I’m working on more. And I’m aware that I’m getting help from some female staff as well and they are putting together a form of unity to get rid of this bullshit B.P.-3.91 for their safety is a risk. They shaking us down as I speak for magazines. Women can’t show cleavage or nothing. And it’s sad.
a comrade in Hutchins Unit: Impede the correction, rehabilitation, and treatment of a prisoner, how? Relating to incoming pictures of “sexually explicit women” this is only understandable if enforced upon a sex offender therapy program… As a general population prisoner, rehabilitation and treatment is almost non-existent. TDCJ can only claim correction if it considers this is obtained through prolonged idleness. Prisoners are housed in their dorm where in most cases they only leave for meals and sometimes rec. There is little to no programming or opportunity to rehabilitate through education or vocation but TDCJ is worried about the content of our publications. Sounds like deliberate indifference to their priorities.
Therefore, impeding correction, rehabilitation, and treatment is only terminology intended for manipulation by and for officials convenience.
Sexually explicit pictures only result in masturbation, which is a healthy alternative to sexual fulfillment and expression. Some men spend decades up to life in prison and to deprive them of such fulfillment could consequently result in homosexual tendencies and/or the rape and/or sexual harassment of prisoners and officers. Such dehumanizing intentions will result in the safety of prisoners and officers being jeopardized.
[MIM(Prisons): A number of writers mention female staff being concerned about the new policy. Of course, we object to this writer’s inclusion of homosexuality as a “dehumanizing” outcome of this policy. Rape is bad, sexual harassment is bad, they are oppressive. Even if homosexual rape and harassment is more the norm in prisons than in society, we should not confuse that with homosexual behaviors themselves being bad.]
This is not a unique problem. Prison officials are quick to slap on the windows newly enacted and revised policies that are overly restrictive, knowing the average prisoner is illiterate, uneducated, and at the least inexperienced in lawfully challenging/litigating.
We are not in the barbaric ages and as a maturing society we develop and become more morally and ethically inclined, including the treatment of prisoners; who we understand engaged in wrongful acts to a greater degree than that of the average person but is nonetheless human and capable of change.
This means as prisoners’ rights come to light and advancement, We are to a lesser degree inhibited by biased civil court systems who in the past ruled all officials actions to be reasonable and acceptable in the name of justice, punishment, and deterrence.
Therefore do not be deterred when intending to challenge the conditions of your confinement thinking that it will be in vain. There is more hope than there ever has been in the past. Instead be optimistic, adopting the perspective that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Presumably all major prison reformers that paved the way had doubts about a favorable outcome, however, their action in spite of that doubt has resulted in all fundamental change. The conditions we live in reflect such, while they’re not what they need to be they’re not what they use to be.
Stand with me in progression towards the common goal of more humane conditions and treatment. Do not refrain or procrastinate from submitting a complaint and possibly litigating for change; Just as officials do not refrain from arresting, sentencing, imprisoning, and punishing us in all aspects every day. We are held accountable so why should we allow them to manipulate policy and official position to their convenience?
Despite the feeling of helplessness officials intend to instill in us, we are far from that. Statements such as, but not limited to, “these people don’t care what we got to say”, “the system’s too big to fight”, “It’s only possible if you got money”, “This is just part of the game” etc are all excuses adopted by submissive prisoners who are too cowardly to fight. You would fight your fellow prisoner for less degrading treatment, right? I would hope.
Do you dare to challenge our oppressors? Do you dare to organize for progression with your fellow prisoners just as they do against us?
If so, please keep in mind that weapons of distraction are strategically implemented to keep us from achieving such a goal. If we are lost in our own world we won’t have time to envision and investigate their world, their motives, their actions, and how they negatively affect us.
We are distracted from spending time productively. Time is our most valuable asset as it is limited and required to organize and plan action.
Stop preoccupation; stop smoking, stop watching TV, stop gambling, stop gluttony, stop fighting your equals instead of the oppressor, stop idleness, stop procrastination, stop being submissive, stop feeling defeated, and most importantly, STOP investing time into unproductive endeavors and commit to progression and the achievement of an overall goal.
The poor and oppressed make up the majority of the world. We are only separated by knowledge that is accumulated through resources. If we can obtain the proper knowledge and organize with an intended goal we will overpower our oppressors.
…Break the ice and take action. Take it from a 22-year-old 8th grade dropout with seven plus years in the system. I only obtained knowledge through educational literature. I am self-educated and overcame the hindering circumstance of lack of resources and organized learning opportunities. I am only two years into a progressive perspective and actions and exceeded my expectations. Two years ago, education and progression were no where on my agenda. If I can achieve such, so can you. All there is to ask yourself if it appeals to you and if so make it a priority.
14 October 2021 – Fifty five people were arrested for occupying the Bureau of Indian Affairs(BIA) with demands that the Bureau be abolished, that blood quantum be abolished and that the United $tates stop extracting fossil fuels from native land. Siqiñiq Maupin explained the purpose of the action on Democracy Now:
“The BIA was created to erase Indigenous people. It has always been against us. And today, or yesterday, and every day, we demand that it be abolished. We do not need a blood quantum to say how Indigenous we are or to qualify that. We know our Indigenous ways to protect this land, this Earth, this water. And we understand that the Earth is unbalanced. And we do not have time for negotiations, for compromises. We need to take this serious and take action now.”(1)
Indian Country Today reported:
Tobacco ties hung on locked doors. No one could get inside or outside. Everyone outside of the building looked through the windows of the doors to see what was happening inside and could hear demonstrators yelling.
Some security personnel were injured and one officer was taken to a hospital, according to an Interior spokesperson.(2)
In Washington D.C. the week of Indigenous People’s Day has been marked by indigenous-led civil disobedience actions, calling on President Biden to declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects. It began on Monday with the slogan “expect us” being written on the statue of Andrew Jackson in the U.$. capital. Over 530 climate activists have been arrested so far.(1)
This is occurring after President Biden issued the first presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 8th, along with an announcement to preserve lands important to native people.
In 2017, President Trump re-opened up a number of recently created national monuments for resource extraction, cutting the size of the Bears Ears National Monument by 85%. Biden reversed Trump’s move, reestablishing the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments in southern Utah, more than 3.2 million acres – an area nearly the size of Connecticut.(3)
While President Trump declared genocidal Andrew Jackson to be his favorite president, President Biden was the first president to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. 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. Biden’s multi-culturalism is friendlier, and even makes real concessions like preserving land important to native people. But as Biden himself said, it was the easiest thing he’s done as president. And it was just as easy for Trump to undo those designations during his tenure, leaving native people at the whims of the white man again.
As communists we strive for the resolution of this national contradiction via the project of liberation for all oppressed nations and their land once and for all, not waiting and hoping for one slightly friendlier sector of the oppressor to win out. The ongoing struggle for First Nation land liberation is tied to the struggle of all oppressed people for liberation. It is not surprising that the nation that ultimately waged a settler war for hundreds of years to seize this land is now the primary force keeping oppressed people down around the world. We have seen the limits of euro-Amerikan peace offerings.
On 6 September 2021, 6 Palestinian prisoners of war have escaped an I$raeli maximum security prison known as Gilboa by digging a tunnel with plates and panhandles.(1) The tunnel was 72 meters long, and the I$raeli Security Agency has suspected that the excavation had started around November of 2020.(2) This incident is being talked of as the most significant prison break in the history of Palestine.
The 6 Palestinian prisoners were members of Palestinian nationalist organizations (The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the al-Quds Brigades) which have resisted the I$raeli occupation.(3) Out of the 6, four of the escaped freedom fighters were serving life sentences.(4)
In response to the prison break, the I$raeli Prison Service (IPS), launched a lockdown on Palestinian prisoners: break time has been cut to one hour a day; prison canteen has been closed; and the number of captives able to walk in the yard has been decreased. 400 prisoners, who have been deemed “Jihadist” and a threat to the security of the prisons, have been separated from one another as well. On top of this, family visits have been completely taken away by the pigs.(5) For our readers on the inside, these tactics by the I$raeli prison pigs to punish all for the actions of some sound similar as the United $tates and I$rael are very similar in character. Both are settler-colonial states, and both trade and exchange tactics/information used to better repress their respective oppressed nations.
The Day of Rage
In response to this crackdown, I$raeli prisons faced strikes and riots. In Katziot prison, seven cells were set on fire by Palestinian prisoners and hunger strikes have been set to begin in Gilboa on Friday, 17 Septemebr 2021.(6) The Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission has declared that 1,380 prisoners have joined the hunger strikes.(7)
Outside of the prison walls, the nationalist organization Hamas has declared a “Day of Rage” on the Friday of September 10th.(8) At the al-Aqsa mosque, supporters of the escaped freedom fighters have organized a sit in protest after the end of prayer. The I$raeli forces stormed the mosque in response to the protest and killed one man and arrested another. The man killed was a Palestinian doctor named Hazem al-Jolani.(9)
About a week after the escape, the 6 prisoners were recaptured into imprisonment. One of the freedom fighters, Yaqoub Mahmoud Qadri, was put in solitary confinement with nothing but a blanket and was subjected to physical and psychological torture.(10) All other prisoners involved in the escape were sent to separate high security prisons as well.(11)
Internationalism in the Prison Movement
While studying Engels’ writings on the bourgeois state, Lenin said the following:
“Engels elucidates the concept of the ‘power’ which is called the state, a power which arose from society but places itself above it and alienates itself more and more from it. What does this power mainly consist of? It consists of special bodies of armed men having prisons, etc., at their command.”(12)
As Lenin explains, prisons serve a class purpose in maintaining power in class society. In the world we live in today, the bourgeois class utilizes prisons to control their “unruly” populations under their command. Under socialism and proletarian dictatorship, prisons will exist as well (albeit under principles of rectification and rehabilitation learned from the past socialist experiences rather than punishment for punishment’s sake). For the case of not only the 6 prisoners of war who escaped Gilboa, but also for all prisoners in Palestine and all prisoners in the United $tates, their facilities are a material form of capitalist-imperialist power locking them up in their every move. Here in the United $tates, we have had historic moments of prisoners fighting against the repression and seeking for redemption and liberation through class struggle. The Attica uprising of 9 September 1971 is a prime example of that class struggle. With Attica as the battle cry of the revolutionary prison movement in the United $tates, we hope to reach that cry across the oceans and to Palestine itself.
From Attica 2 Gilboa!
Down with the I$raeli Prison Service! Down with the Department of Corrections!
Bibliography1. Toi Staff, September 14, 2021, “Jailbreak probe said to find 11 Gilboa prisoners started tunnel dig in November.” Times of Israel2. Ibid.3. The Palestine Chronicle, September 6, 2021, “Six Palestinian Prisoners Break out of Gilboa Prison after Digging Tunnel”4. Ibid.5. Middle East Eye, September 10, 2021, “Palestinian killed during ‘day of rage’ solidarity protests for prison escapees”6. Khaled Abu Tomaeh, September 14, 2021, “Palestinian prisoners to begin hunger strike Friday,” The Jerusalem Post.7. Ibid.8. Ibid.9. Ibid.10.Yeni Safak, September 16, 2021, “Palestinian prison escapee to keep fighting for freedom.”11. Middle East Eye, October 1, 2021, “Israel: Recaptured Palestinian jailbreakers transferred to solitary confinement”12. Vladimir Lenin, August 1917, “State and Revolution.”
On 11 September 2021, Chairman Gonzalo has been reported to be dead by the Peruvian prison service and the Peruvian government.(1) The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, has tweeted in regards to Gonzalo’s death:
“The terrorist ringleader Abimael Guzmán, responsible for the loss of countless lives of our compatriots, has died. Our stance of condemning terrorism is firm and unwavering.”
Born as Abimael Guzmán, Chairman Gonzalo was the leader of the Partido Comunista del Perú(PCP) also known as the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path in English). The PCP initiated People’s War in Peru in 1980, and waged a righteous struggle against the U.$.-backed regimes in Peru until the capture of its leadership in 1992. Arguably the first communist leader to explain Maoism as the next stage of communism, Gonzalo was instrumental in pushing these ideas within the international communist movement.
At age 86, Gonzalo had lived in complete isolation in a Peruvian prison for 29 years. Long-term solitary confinement is a form of torture used around the world to combat political dissent. It is used most extensively within the United $tates, where in recent years over 100,000 people languished in such conditions.
Religious Idealism Barks
Gonzalo was an infamous figure in Peruvian society. The revolutionary violence of the PCP sparked hostile reactions especially from the petty bourgeoisie, the middle-peasants, and the likes within Peru. One outspoken figure which repeated these sentiments condemning Gonzalo on his death day was Archbishop Eguren of the Catholic Church in Peru. During a mass on September 12, a day after Gonzalo’s death, Eguren said this referring to the Maoist ideology and the Maoists of Peru:
“Along with him fell the principal members of his communist, terrorist, genocidal, and murderous gang, which caused the massacres of entire communities of poor inhabitants of our Andes and jungle regions in the 1980s and 1990s.”(2)
The Archbishop continued:
“The day Guzmán was captured was also one year after the start of the campaign ‘Peace in Peru is well worth a Rosary.’ This campaign was conceived and promoted by Bishop Ricardo Durand Flórez S.J., a great Peruvian bishop who, throughout his life and ministry, worked hard for the poor according to the Gospel.”(3)
After condemning Marxism through the usual Christian idealism, Archbishop Eguren replaces the anti-capitalist vacuum with the Catholic church’s historical response to poverty and capitalist ills: distribution of wealth and charity to the poor. We Maoists do not believe in the metaphysical notion that “the poor will always be with us,” nor that walking across a homeless person on the street is a test by god to prove ourselves of our good heart and soul. We believe poverty – and the impoverished proletariat along with the rich bourgeoisie – comes out of material phenomena: rise of capitalism through revolution, class struggle, and change of production relations. Thus, the elimination of poverty and capitalist ills will be done through the proletarian revolution against capitalism, class struggle, and change of production relations as well; not through wealth redistribution nor through charity.
Along with condemning Marxism, Eguren used this chance to call for the elimination of the politicians and bureaucrats of the current Peruvian government who had historical ties to the Maoist movement:
“We Peruvians should not forget, for an instant what this intrinsically perverse ideology embodies, as well as the immense suffering it has caused in the recent history of our country, much less allow it today to be able to seize total power. Therefore: Mr. President, clean up your cabinet!”(4)
Chairman Gonzalo and the PCP’s legacy in Peru is often associated with the “violent left.” So it is appropriate that one of the most popular opportunist and reformist newsletters, Jacobin, condemned Gonzalo by saying that Peru’s left is finally free to “move forward.”(5)
In the article, “The Shining Path’s Abimael Guzmán Helped Keep Peru in the Past,” Jacobin news cited the Lucanamarca massacre and the violence of the PCP against the indigenous masses as one of the main arguments against the PCP. The Communist Party of Peru (PCP) has mentioned in their writings the attacks against the masses by the masses, and how the state security used the differing class levels of the peasantry against itself (poor peasants, middle peasants, rich peasants). These tactics to divide the masses are used against the communists of India as well. In the remote and countryside regions under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (CPI-Maoist), the capitalist lapdogs in India find it much more useful to use local reactionaries against the guerrillas than using the army. If not the local police, it is the paramilitary organizations of rich peasants, middle peasants, lumpen-bourgeoisie, lumpen-proletariat, etc. that is attacking the Maoists. In Peru, the majority of the PCP guerrillas were indigenous themselves as the main population base in the communists’ base areas were indigenous.
When judging the legacy of a People’s War and a revolutionary party, communists should know when to throw away the baby with the bathwater and when to still keep it. Before the capitalist roaders overthrew socialism in the Soviet Union, many of the errors of what would become the capitalist line (commandism and economism) has been planted by Stalin as well and other comrades. This did not cause Mao to throw away Stalin’s legacy. In the same breath, when Fidel Castro liberated Cuba from imperialism and semi-feudalism, his merits were part of a worldwide movement for national liberation of the colonies at the time – it isn’t until Castro’s selling out of the entire island to the Soviet social-imperialists as a sugar factory that Maoists should throw Castro away.
Heavier Than Mount Tai
It is well within the realms of material reality that the PCP’s legacy among the general Peruvian society lies not only in the Peruvian comprador bourgeoisie who propagate the ideas of the PCP as bloodthirsty terrorists, but also within the bad lines and practices of the PCP as well. It is an often repeated idea we hear that if the revolution fails, it is the fault of the revolutionaries. In the same light, it’s the internal characteristics not the external of a communist movement that will ultimately decide its success and failures.
We must draw a clear line between us and those who condemn the PCP because they waged People’s War. Whatever internal contradictions led to the collapse of the Peruvian revolution, it was a shining example in theory by leading the world to the concrete ideas of Maoism and in practice in mobilizing the Peruvian people to control a majority of Peru before their fall.
Communists should learn their lessons from their errors in history. For the enemy to say, “Denounce Gonzalo!” is for them to also say “Don’t learn your lessons! Give up revolution!” Nevertheless, no matter what the Catholic idealists or the writers of Jacobin wish, the PCP and Chairman Gonzalo’s legacy will not go away as easily as they wish.
Long Live Chairman Gonzalo – Death Heavier than Mount Tai.
Notes1. RPP, September 11th, 2021, “Murió Abimael Guzmán, el sanguinario cabecilla del grupo terrorista Sendero Luminoso.”
2. David Ramos, September 13th, 2021, “Archbishop calls on Peruvian president to rid his administration of ties to Shining Path.” Catholic News Agency.
5. Miguel La Serna, September 15, 2021, “The Shining Path’s Abimael Guzmán Helped Keep Peru in the Past.” Jacobin.
A few weeks ago lots of Black folks were celebrating Juneteenth, which they claimed was about the banning of slavery in the U.$. Say what? Apparently none of these folks have read the actual 13th Amendment, which only banned plantation slavery, while opening up far more slavery with its Exclusion Section, which basically said “slavery as punishment for a crime is just peachy.”
…how about you get the May 2021 issue of Prison Legal News and read the main article, “The Punishment Economy: Winners and Losers in the Business of Mass Incarceration.”
A fact not mentioned in the article was that businesses (owners) in many foreign countries are making money “servicing” U.$. prisoner needs.
Until just a couple of weeks ago, me at 75 years old, with various health problems, was forced under threat of write-up to work as a kitchen slave. So I get to read the labels on the products used there.
Oranges and mixed vegetables from Mexico. Cut carrots from Spain. Franks (weenies) from Canada. Cucumbers from Mexico. Broccoli from Mexico. Pineapple from Indonesia. Heat sealed plastic gloves from China. White plastic “sporks” from Vietnam.
Do you think the owners of these businesses make donations to U.$. politicians that always vote for more laws, more prisons, and more money to cops?
Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: We share this writer’s concerns about prisoners being used as a source of exploited value by capitalists. When Third World countries begin to delink from the united $tates economically, Amerikans will face serious crisis and imposing fascism on segments of the u.$. population in the form of slavery is a likely outcome as we saw fascist Germany do.
However, we think the concern about foreign companies selling cheap produce to u.$. prisons is misled. In fact, most of the value created in producing that food in the Third World is stolen from those who make the food and realized in the First World (see our recent review of John Smith’s Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century). Even those Amerikans reaping the profits on these food sales to Amerikan prisons are not likely backing prison construction. Food is about $2.1 billion of the $182 billion spent on mass incarceration each year in this country.(1)
But what about this question of prison labor? The persyn above has written us numerous times to challenge our line on prison labor. In 2018 we did a survey of ULK readers to further research this subject. And we have extensive articles on the economics of the U.$. prison system available to those interested. But we are always keeping an eye out for new info, so let’s look at this Prison Legal News article.
As it turns out, this article does not offer much information on prison labor at all, far less than our research does. The article is a thorough documentation of many ways that companies are making money by offering services to the government related to prisons and to families of prisoners; what we might call profiteering or even extortion in the case of fees charged to families.
1 in 8 U.$. jobs rely on prisons - Big if True
Daniel Rosen doesn’t cite the source of this one in eight jobs estimate towards the beginning of eir article. Regular writers for ULK have long called Amerika a pig nation. Then why does Rosen turn around and ask, “are we just producing greater corporate profits at American families’ expense?” It is Amerikan families who are getting payed labor aristocracy wages to work these 1 in 8 jobs that relies on this system of punishment. Meanwhile, the majority of people suffering from the injustice system are members of internal semi-colonies, not Amerikans. And this is the exact contradiction we try to bring to light every time we get into this debate.
After citing the exorbitant amount spent on staffing prisons, Rosen offers a section on how employees are underpaid. In states like California, prison guards start at salaries that most reading this newsletter will never see in their lives. To make eir point sound reasonable, Rosen claims “pay for starting prison guards is usually in the range of $25,000-$35,000.” This range actually represents the lowest 10% of prison guards in the country, with the median actually being at $45,000 per year starting salary.(2) Is this underpaid? As regular readers of our work will already know, employed Amerikans are generally in the top 10% income earners globally, including those that make $25,000 per year. An individual living on $45,000 per year is in the top 2%.(3) And as many of our readers know, overtime and hazard pay are a regular occurrence in that line of work, easily putting annual prison guard salaries into six figures.
Our writer contacted us about prisoner labor, not prison guard labor. The reason this is relevant though is that it represents the economics of those who see prisons as a product of corporate interests. It often comes hand-in-hand with those who see $50k/year pigs as the oppressed and exploited opposed to the corporate interests. Even if they’re in the top 2%, they are still in the bottom 99% that the left wing of white nationalism sees as allies. This idealism wants to see all people come together for a common cause, ignoring the different material interests of different groups in the world today. We focus on prison organizing because there is a greater consciousness in prisons that these pigs are part of the imperialist system and that they serve the enemy because they benefit from that system.
I Pay Your Salary, Buddy
Rosen starts off his article with the message that U.$. taxpayers are paying $80 billion per year to lock people up. While there has been an upsurge of concern about spending on incarceration in the halls of Congress, why is it that the same “fiscal conservative” voters who don’t want social services are quick to yell “lock them up” when it comes to so-called “criminals”? Our explanation is that the system that is trying to control the rebellious oppressed serves them. It serves them with some of the highest incomes in the world, from which they pay taxes. These incomes, and taxes, are superprofits stolen from the international proletariat.
We know many in the prison movement are not Marxists, and therefore may not accept the labor theory of value. With such people we are working from different theoretical models and different terminology. It is not a coincidence that such people are predominately reformists. We need to be debating Marx vs. bourgeois economics. Even many self-described “Marxists” in the imperialist countries think there is an infinite amount of wealth to go around.
Rosen writes, “Recidivists are the primary ‘product’ of the punishment economy and the real source of its profits.” It’s true, unlike the military-industrial complex, there is no real product being made here, just ancillary services like phone calls and food delivery. But are recidivists the source of these companies profits? No, the only source of profits is surplus value from surplus labor time. And as we’ll reiterate here, that is coming from the Third World proletariat.
The Endless Road to Reformism
Of course, most of the concerns about mass incarceration that Rosen mentions in this article are ones we share. One that we’ve been discussing lately is how for-profit communication services are replacing in-persyn visits and mail under the guise of reducing drugs. Yet the drugs magically keep getting into prisons, and now prisoners communications are being digitized for easier monitoring and censorship, while valuable resources and family connections are being cut off. We’ve also helped expose the issue of a second-class system for migrants, the vast majority who haven’t even committed any anti-people crimes, being stuck in poorly run, privately-owned prisons on behalf of Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE).
We just don’t agree with Rosen’s economics and where it leads us strategically.
We agree with Rosen that there is a whole slush economy around incarceration, that’s the nature of the United $tates mall economy in general. And in the case of imprisonment, the result is buying people off to support it. There’s too much money, corruption and greed in this system. But this is nothing particular to incarceration, and incarceration is just a tiny drop in the bucket that is this problem. Do we want to make this tiny corner of the imperialist economy a little less gross? Or do we want to end mass incarceration? liberate oppressed nations from imperialism? end exploitation of the proletariat? We are aware that a majority of our incarcerated readers might lean more towards the first option. And while we appreciate our prison reform allies who stand with us in many campaigns, this newsletter is not a forum to promote reformism.
Rosen writes “[t]he most important way that mass incarceration fails prisoners is by all but guaranteeing that they’ll come back.” This is one of the true crimes of the system. Socialist countries like China showed the world how prisons could be used to integrate former oppressors into a new people-focused society. Yet, “corrections” in the u.$. has always taken a much different form, one of punishment. And this is why we prioritize our Re-Lease on Life Program for those released from prison to help comrades continue to reform themselves and integrate back into society as servants of the people, and avoid getting locked back up. Our humble program is a precursor to a system that will serve to rehabilitate the real criminals on this continent in a socialist future.
This country not only institutionalizes disparities between the oppressed nations and Amerikans in the united $tates, it is a tool of genocide in how it affects the productive and reproductive years of a vast segment of oppressed nation men. These problems beg the solution of liberation and independence.
Rosen closes eir article with a number of examples of progress in reforming the ills ey discusses. We agree these are progressive things, and yet they do not address the problem. Which is why you won’t see these campaigns in the pages of ULK. See recent discussions between USW comrades on how to organize prisoners in a way that keeps our eyes on the prize. Sometimes our campaigns will overlap with the reformers. Even then, we must promote the proletarian line and not succumb to coalition politics.
Sanyika Shakur, formerly known as ‘Monster’ Kody Scott, author of three books and numerous articles, legendary street gang figure, self-transformed New Afrikan revolutionary and communist, passed over to meet the ancestors, Black August 2021. Sanyika was only 57 years of age.
Sanyika is most known for his auto-biography, Monster, which also was produced as a film. What most don’t know is that even at the time of writing that book, Sanyika had begun what would become a life-long struggle to evolve not only his thinking but to have his social practice match his level of theoretical prowess.
Sanyika’s story is a testimonial to what a lot of us, lumpen, go through. He battled drug addiction, he struggled to navigate between his evolving socio-political awareness and the loyalties embedded within him during decades of hard-core gang-bangin’. In the end he stands as both an inspirational, as well as a cautionary example, for those of us lumpen who seek self-evolution, and revolutionary transformation. He is an inspiration, showing how far We can bring ourselves with Our sheer will power. When the brother entered prison in 1985, he was functionally illiterate. A handful of years later he would author the first of three books. This in itself is quite a feat.
However, Sanyika’s greatest feat was his determination to unify, and organize gang members, and former gang members into revolutionary formations. These formations he founded or took part in included, C.C.O. (Consolidated Crip Organization), C.R.I.P.(s) (Clandestine Revolutionary Internationalist Party (of Soldiers)), August Third Communist Organization, and the New Afrikan People’s Liberation Army.
Sanyika obviously wished to be remembered, not as a gang bangin’ Crip, but as a New Afrikan revolutionary nationalist and communist who sought to unify his people, New Afrikan lumpen, and he was thankful for the ‘overstanding’ (as he would say) he was able to grasp due to the knowledge and wisdom passed down by his/ Our ancestors. For his chosen name, Sanyika, means ‘Unifier of the people’, while Shakur means ‘most thankful’ in Ki-Swahili and Arabic respectfully.
In including the memory of this comrade-brother in Our newsletter, Power Moves, We wish to call Our readers to dedicate self to self-transformation, and more specifically to transform the criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality. In order to ‘Re-Build To Win’, We must first Re-Build Ourselves. By this We mean, We must rectify and re-orientate Ourselves with new and improved values, social circles, and social habits. Without these traits of evolution, there will be no revolution, if We think otherwise We’re merely kidding Ourselves.
REST IN POWER COUSIN
Sources: 1)Re-Build!: A New Afrikan Independence Movement Periodical, Special Commemorative Issue, Black August 2021.
[This is re-printed with the author’s permission, from the internal prison newsletter Power Moves, a publication of Black Independence Taking Root (BITR), an organization taking root in Texas Koncentration Kamps.]
For over a decade MIM(Prisons) has offered correspondence study courses to help those trying to transform themselves inside the belly of the beast. Yet, we struggle to keep these Serve the People Programs running and ask those on the outside to contact us to help out. This winter we will be releasing a Revolutionary 12 Step program that is focused on transforming yourself from the lumpen/criminal lifestyle, to the committed revolutionary. The first printing will go out to USW leaders across the country to help implement self-transformation programs in prisons and on the street.
I’m writing this letter on behalf of all Texas prison inmates who have been denied access to respite areas here at the Mark W. Stiles Unit or anywhere within TDCJ-CID agency state wide.
In United States District Court, Southern District of Texas in the Houston Division, Keith Cole et al. v. Brad Livington, TDCJ Director, et al.; Civil Action No. 4:14-CV-1698, a class action lawsuit, at page 769 it states:
Respite Training and Education
All inmates, both those assigned and not assigned jobs, will be trained on the importance of respite and how to access respite. Training will include:
Respite means cooling off for a period of time in an air conditioned place;
Inmates are allowed to access respite 24/7;
The education wing is now a dedicated respite area;
Inmates do not need to be sick, injured, or feeling bad to access respite, rather they may do so to cool down whenever they wish;
To access respite, inmates can make the request for asking correctional officers if there are problems ask to talk to a ranking correctional officer;
Impress that no one will be retaliated against for asking for respite, and;
Education about why respite is important to protect ones health. The training will follow a script and there will be a time for questions from the inmates. A training circular will be distributed that mirrors the respite notice. There will be a sign-in sheet for inmates to confirm training and receipt of the circular.
Also, a new poster has been developed and will further emphasize these same points. The poster will be placed in common areas accessible to inmates, it clearly states that an inmate may request access to respite areas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, not being required to be feeling ill. It further states that if an inmate is feeling ill, he should alert staff so that medical assistance can be obtained. The poster also gives the inmates a description of the expectations regarding their behavior in respite, stating that inmates:
Regular access respite any time during the day or night, do not need to be sick, injured, or feeling bad to access respite, rather they may do so to cool down when ever they wish;
Should use respite regularly because it helps the body thermoregulate;
Should be aware that heat is dangerous and heat illness can occur suddenly when temperatures are high;
Should ask staff for medical staff attention if they actually feel ill due to heat;
May talk quietly in respite;
May bring a cooling towel;
Will be provided a chair, and must remain seated;
May not engage in horseplay or arguing;
May not create disturbances;
May not save chairs for other inmates, and;
Must be properly dressed (pants and shirts).
The TDCJ’s Respite Area policy is not being honored here at the Mark W. Stiles Unit even though there are designated areas such as:
Medical Department waiting cage,
Offenders General Library, Windham School District Department
Law Library Department
Note: The Law Library Department, Education Department and the chapel will only be used as a respite area after normal hours at other areas are over.
The current warden has modified or ignored all of these rules. The warden has ordered that all inmates at the Mark W. Stiles Unit must get a pass to have access to respite area and each pass per inmate is only good for 30 minutes. When 30 minutes expires such inmate must return back to their living area buildings to obtain another pass.
These wardens are playing physicians in practicing medicine without a license in the way that they are violating this policy. It don’t have to be hot for another human being in the Texas prison system to be affected by heat related symptoms. There are many drugs that lower heat tolerance, ranging from anti-convulsants to beta blockers. These drugs may disrupt the body’s ability to sweat or thermoregulate, make the body more sensitive to sunlight, or otherwise make people more susceptible to heat illness, and need more respite than thirty minutes broken up by having to go get another pass every time.
There are also reports identifying offenders with heat and/or sunlight sensitivity restrictions, and unit courtroom staff will provide unit security staff with this Medical Heat Restriction List, which identifies offenders who have a heat restriction and is supposed to require security staff to perform wellness checks, in accordance with Administrative Directive 10.64, ‘Extreme Temperature Conditions in the TDCJ.’
Here at the most corrupt unit within TDCJ, the Mark W. Stiles Unit, the respite area and heat related symptoms policies are not followed. In the 11 building restrictive housing area where there is no ventilation system functioning nor any open windows, offenders can not get a cool down shower or access to the respite area, only because the Unit is short handed in staff and all the cool down showers and respite areas are set aside for general population offenders and not those in restrictive housing.
There are offenders in the restrictive housing area that have asthma, use a CPAP machine, or have other respiratory needs/illnesses. Staff will use their chemical agent on an offender which will effect all innocent bystanders, and won’t take anyone to medical even if they do recognize or notice breathing issues owing to the use of the chemical agent. Offenders have to get the attention of the authorities some other way, and once an offender is at the medical department and tells the nurses or other medical providers what’s going on, we can only get medicines or treatment that the security staff approve of, not what we might actually need.
So basically us offenders with heat sensitivity or any respiratory issues are walking dead at the Mark W. Stiles Unit. Please help us investigate and organize against this corrupt TDCJ unit, we in the Texas prison system don’t want to die.
by a North Carolina prisoner September 2021 permalink
On 15 September 2021 twenty four prisoners declared hunger strike at Foothills Correctional Institution in North Carolina. By 2PM the administration locked up 3 comrades. Me and another comrade stayed fasting.
They only give us phone once a week; no yard in a month; and less than 2 hours of recreation per day. Basically we’re in segregation for no reason. I reflect on these b.s. measures, then I asked myself why and how does this opre$$ion end?!
“Why are the battles endless?! Why the Us vs. them?! Why is the Earth CRYING ?!”
In regards to the article by a Texas prisoner “Stimulus Checks are being stolen by TDCJ-CID”, well Texas isn’t the only state with such tricks up its sleeve. Last week the great snake of Arkkkansas done the exact same thing, however, they turned right around & put the money back in prisoners’ accounts after being met with resistance by means of grievances. Quite often they’ll try to pull a caper simply just to see if they can get away with it. Point: Utilize the grievance process.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Right on to the comrades in Arkansas who stood together to grieve this issue. As we say, there are no rights, only power struggles. Just because the law says they can’t take your stimulus money doesn’t mean they won’t. A comrade in California has drafted sample grievances and raised the money to distribute them to comrades who haven’t received their stimulus money in that state. We’ve also been hearing from more comrades in Texas and in the Federal Bureau of Prisons who continue to fight this battle. Because we are getting so many requests, here are some FAQs from https://www.taxoutreach.org
Will the amount of my second stimulus check be reduced if I have overdue debts in prison?
Unlike your first stimulus check, your second stimulus check has greater protection from garnishment. Like the first stimulus check, your second stimulus check is protected from back taxes or federal and state debts. In addition, the second stimulus check is also protected from debt collection. That means that federal and state prison cannot reduce the amount of your second stimulus check to pay overdue debts.
Will the amount of my third stimulus check be reduced if I have overdue debts in prison?
It is unclear whether your third stimulus check will be reduced to pay certain prison fees or debts. We will update this page once we have more information.
What happens if my stimulus check was sent as a debit card instead of as a check?
The IRS sent a letter to prison officials that if debit cards couldn’t be processed at your prison facility, prison officials have to return the debit cards to the IRS fiscal agent at:
Fiserv Attn: RAPID 1007 North 97th Circle Omaha, NE 68122
The debit cards will be voided and you will have to claim the stimulus checks as the Recovery Rebate Credit by filing a 2020 tax return or using GetCTC.org if you don’t have a filing requirement.
Previously I argued that taxpayers are not responsible for government capital policy because they are ignorant. My error was pointed out to me and now I see the truth – the January 6th rioters showed me that they are willing to fight for my oppression therefore their ignorance is irrelevant – they are indeed more responsible than I assumed, therefore I must ignore my compassion for their humanity as unnatural as that is for me. The object is more important than the subject.
When evaluating responsibility, it is tempting to be blinded by the subject. For instance, government officials are directly responsible for enforcing capital policy. However, collaborators often look like our neighbors, friends or even family. These collaborators will support & encourage oppression & tyranny out of ignorance or out of a callous heart. Ignorance cannot be excused if freedom is ever going to be won. When the object of freedom becomes important enough all barriers must fall, even if that means forcing ourselves to do what is not natural.
Rights are never granted, rights are won. Unfortunately, this includes basic human rights such as freedom. To win freedom from the tyranny & oppression that comes with a capitalist economy, the opposition must fall. This necessity does not come naturally, that is because the values instilled in our youth are instilled by capital policy (submission), these values are what allows capitalists to steal your freedom. We must relearn a greater value.
There exist those that will take more than one has to give, that is what capital is (inequality). There is only so much resource & for one to have more than one needs he/she has to deprive another of what they need. For one to be rich, one must be poor.
As I watch the January 6th investigation, one thing is clear. That is the effort was weak. I think that is because the rioters knew in their hearts that they were fighting for the exploitation of an oppressed class. Ironic that they choose to capture the Capitol Building in order to keep their capital wealth at the expense of the oppressed class.
For those of us that are fighting for freedom, We will not make a half-hearted effort because it is our very survival that we are fighting for. We are not fighting for material wealth because we have none. Because our oppression is total & complete then so is our fight for freedom.
We will not fight for one building, not even for one city, or one country. We are fighting for equality. We will not stop until all opposition is fallen. Our fight comes from the heart & that is why it is stronger than the January 6th fight for material wealth.
The difference is that I am sick & tired of being oppressed so that another can live lavishly. The difference is that unlike the January 6th rioters I am not here to have a big party with a bunch of friends at the Capitol Building – I am here to win my freedom and to fight for the freedom of all oppressed people and I will not stop and lay down, I will never stop!!
That is what Marx means by permanent revolution, we must never stop fighting because the very moment we relax is the moment the exploiters continue to exploit as they have always done. Sun Tzu said we can “never leave an enemy on the battlefield.” If we do they will come back again.
As communists we must know our enemy is the object and not the subject. Compassion can blur our vision of the object and it is in these moments I must remember that the capitalists never had any compassion for the oppressed.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This point is relevant as Amerikans remember the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and Afghans sigh in relief as the invader of their country pulls out. Professor Ward Churchill took a lot of heat for quoting Malcolm X on chickens coming home to roost after 9/11 and referring to Amerikans as “little Eichmanns.”(1) Adolf Eichmann was a Nazi in Germany who ran logistics for the system of concentration camps there. He was captured years after the war and in his trial claimed he was just following orders, just a cog in the machine, and should not be blamed for the deaths caused by that machine.
Since the end of the second imperialist war, the Amerikans have run the largest system of concentration camps in the world. While they lack the mass murder of the Nazi system, they are genocidal nonetheless against the oppressed nations that make up the majority of the prisoners. The day will come when Amerikans will be charged for their decades of crimes against humynity. Our success at building anti-imperialism and accountability in the United $tates today will ease the transition to a more just future on these lands.
The most recent killing of U.$. troops in Afghanistan on 26 August 2021 marks the deadliest day in over a decade for the imperialists in that country. It also makes two points quite clear. First, the once reviled Taliban has negotiated a deal with the United $tates in which they regained control of their country in exchange for cooperation against organizations like ISIS(K) who’ve claimed responsibility for the attack. The explosion took the lives of thirteen U.$. soldiers.
ISIS(K) is just one of over twenty armed groups in Afghanistan that pose a threat to Taliban rule. However, the main incentive for the Taliban’s allegiance to U.$. imperialism seems to be the Afghan economy which the Taliban inherited once the “democratically elected” government of Afghanistan realized that U.$. imperialism would no longer prop them up.(1)
Second, [email protected] continue to account for a substantial portion of Amerikan occupation forces in the Third World. Statistics in recent years have shown [email protected] continue to be a growing source of foot soldiers for the Amerikans.
The attack on U.$. troops came just three days before the fifty-first anniversary of the hystoric [email protected] Moratorium. Contrary to what various sell outs, integrationists and those who’ve simply been kept in ignorance have to say about the matter, the moratorium was not about civil rights or equality. Rather, the moratorium was an exercise in power by Raza who attempted to deprive the imperialists of [email protected] troops in their war of colonization and attrition in Vietnam.(2) Thus, it is both heartbreaking and sickening to see that so many years after the last real upsurge against U.$. imperialism in the semi-colonies, [email protected] continue to sacrifice and be sacrificed for the oppressor nation. If [email protected] are to live and die for a cause then it should be for Aztlán, the international proletariat and socialism. August 26 was yet another example of what happens when we fail to organize the oppressed – the imperialists organize them for us.
While four of the thirteen soldiers killed at the Afghanistan International Airport that day were [email protected] born and raised in occupied Aztlán, it should be noted that at least two other fatalities had Spanish surnames.(3) That said, it is still important to note that the attack was a blow against U.$. imperialism by anti-imperialists in the region, and for that we should be appreciative, not horrified. Our sympathies should be with the Afghan family who lost their lives in the U.$. retaliation drone strike and the rest of the victims of the ISIS(K) who were caught in the crossfire on August 26. [email protected] or not, those U.$. soldiers chose their own destiny when they decided it was okay to travel halfway around the world to further oppress an already oppressed population.
It is not far-fetched to envision a reality in which [email protected] youth strive to live and die for Aztlán liberated and free. The development of material conditions will be crucial in this regard, but it will be the struggle of revolutionaries and the masses of turned up youth that will be principal. We should not let the fact that Amerika’s longest war has come to an end deter us from the urgency of organizing the oppressed nations for liberation and against U.$. militarism. “Raza Si, Guerra No!” should be one of many political slogans that we champion in the bi-polar world that is life under imperialism, as Amerikkka’s designs on the African continent promise to become an even bloodier killing field in the years to come.
Notes: 1. The PBS News Hour, 27 August 2021. 2. A MIM(Prisons) study group, 2015, [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán. (available to prisoners for $10) 3. KTLA 5 News, 27 August 2021.
This will be the official statement of the North Carolina United Front for Peace in Prisons. We will contribute to accomplishing these goals:
Peace. We must first find peace within, then help those around us to understand the tactics of divide and conquer; the true reason they’re in the system and how and why making peace within thy-self and with those around us is what real men/wimmin & L.O.’s represent.
Unity. Unite to achieve common interests; justice & peace and safeguarding our communities. Brothers of the faithful will continue efforts to restore peace among NC L.O.’s. All within the USW may join our branch of the UFPP.
Growth. Study MIM Assignment 1 on dialectical materialism & MIM structure & organization study pack. Then continue to study in whatever fields are appealing. To be successful we must learn to organize and (in certain matters) learn from the past (dialectical materialism). We spread our message and ULK to interested convicts and outside supporters. Books will be cyphered among comrades.
Internationalism. We will support the liberation programs of the oppressed nations internationally.
Independence. We plan to use a clothing company to promote political art. Some of us will also learn to become independent from government, which allows you to also make citizens arrest. Further abolishment.
On the day the Chicago city government released the body camera footage of the way Adam was killed, police abolitionist rallies and protests were gathered in Chicago and other major cities of the United $tates. Primarily, these rallies were calls for abolition and reform of pig forces in the United $tates and were attended by the Mexican and [email protected] masses – mostly the youth. Despite comprador Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Pig Department’s fearful cries of imminent social unrest and “riots,” these social rallies were peaceful and non-violent.(1)
During school time, the same youth who might have attended those non-violent rallies mourning Adam’s death and righteously condemning the Chicago Police Department (CPD) would have found a bit more safety than usual due to the lack of pig presence in their schools. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials announced on the 23rd of April – a week after the release of the body cam footage – that uniformed pigs won’t be on school campus until the fall semester. This policy however, is only temporary and will not apply to sergeants who patrol the areas around CPS schools. On top of that, officers are still assigned to 55 high schools whose local school councils voted to keep them in.(2)
The murder of a fellow oppressed nation youth has sparked a lot of righteous resentment against the oppressive police system among Chicago’s public school students during that month – the CPS population is comprised of 83% oppressed nation students.(3) Nathaniel Martinez, a sophomore of Roosevelt High School in Albany Park, made the following statements:
“The cops are the ones who are holding the gun. They have the power to choose what will happen, what won’t happen. And what they chose for Adam was death. And when I saw that, when I realized that, it just made me scared. But at the end of the day… am I scared of cops? Yes. Am I scared what one of them will do to me if one of them ends up having a bad day and they just want to do something crazy? Yes, I always am. … But right now we’re trying our best to make a difference.”
“We shouldn’t have students being monitored like criminals by cops in schools,”
Oppressed nation youth like Nathaniel lead movements across the country to get rid of armed pigs monitoring school halls. Many of these youth correctly recognize the disparity of how much harsher and more frequently New Afrikan or [email protected] children would be targeted by school pigs as compared to their Amerikan peers. Other progressive minded people have also recognized how the patrolling of schools and youth (oppressed nation youth in particular) lead to those youths entering the prison injustice system. In this sense, there is strong solidarity that should be built among the prison movement and the youth movement. However, a big weakness, reflecting pre-scientific thinking within these movements, is reformism and dependency on the imperialist system. These are ideas communists should be challenging through political education when deepening their roots into the progressive youth movements.
The Elders Respond
One important voice that has been raised are the ones from the older migrants. While these elders recognize the tragedy of Adam’s death, they also supported more pig presence among the Mexican/[email protected] neighborhoods in fear of violence from lumpen organizations. One Mexican elote (Mexican street food) vendor aged 74, named Santamaria, had this to say:
“We are tired of gang violence; it’s sad what happened with the young boy, but he had a gun with him and his friend had been shooting, so the officer responded to the threat,”(4)
Many of our reader base will know that the oppressed nation lumpen in the urban centers of the United $tates have hostile relationships with their urban petty-bourgeois counterparts. Some of our readers (and also many communists) might be quick to condemn the above attitude claimed by Miss Santamaria as coming from a petty-bourgeois street vendor and a chauvinist attitude against the lumpen class. However, we shouldn’t be too quick to brush off these sentiments and thoroughly combat the anti-people aspect of the lumpen class as well. Ideas stem from material reality after all. The segregated nature of the United $tates will mean that the bread and butter of oppressed nation lumpen will be other oppressed nation people: pigs will care less if a gangbanger steals from a New Afrikan or a [email protected] in the ghettos/barrios than stealing from the Amerikans. As stated in “Who is the Lumpen in the United $tates?” by MIM(Prisons), the First World Lumpen parasitically gets its means of living through other labor aristocrats, or other lumpen. This examination should lead to their surrounding petty-bourgeoisie as well. While it is true that in the United $tates, the First World Lumpen class should be organized to abandon the road of banditry and follow the road of revolution, it is also true that to demand respect and sympathy from poor and lower petty-bourgeois masses while also committing said banditry is idealist and commandist.
One important point that has been brought up by the youth and the intellectuals which led many of the mass rallies and discourse surrounding the murder of Adam was the fact that many of the elders in the Mexican/[email protected] community bring over conservative cultural attitudes of the countryside in mother country Mexico to the cities of the United $tates.(5) Many of these attitudes include the reaction against the violence of the lumpen proletariat drug lords and the Mexican bourgeoisie that fund and cooperate with these enemies of the people. Nine times out of ten, the Mexican drug lord is a gangster and a comprador capitalist at the same time – if not the running dogs of those comprador bourgeoisie. In the oppressed nation areas of the United $tates, most lumpen organizations might just be small-scale collectives of hustlers, pimps, and drug peddlers who claim blocks and corners and can’t afford to have the country’s military under their thumbs; in the Third World, they are war lords who control swaths of land and political power. This difference should stay in the minds of revolutionaries and communists who intend to organize not only the first world lumpen, but also the migrant proletariat who come from the third world oftentimes to escape from war lord tyranny.
The Campaign Against ShotSpotter
Several months after Adam was murdered, his family and activists gathered on the site of his death to protest the ShotSpotter technology used to detect gunshots in areas where lumpen activities heavily occur. On the Thursday of July 29th when that rally was held, activists demanded the cancellation of ShotSpotter’s surveillance presence in their neighborhoods as the contract the company had with the city of Chicago only had one month left.(6)
In response to the protests held by the people, ShotSpotter issued this response:
“All residents who live in communities experiencing persistent gunfire deserve a rapid police response, which gunshot detection enables regardless of race or geographic location. Because cities lack sufficient funds to cover an entire city with gunshot detection technology, they deploy sensors in neighborhoods suffering the highest levels of gun violence.”(7)
In classic Amerikan fashion, ShotSpotter disguised its surveillance and monitoring of the empire’s problem population (the oppressed nation of urban centers) as a gift and a right that the said population “deserves.” Maoists recognize that gunshot detectors in ghettos and barrios aren’t a safety measure. These technologies enable pigs to be deployed faster to occupy these regions in a more efficient and fruitful manner. The company also claimed that the technology detects “gunshots regardless of race or geographic location.” Any sane person should be able to recognize that this claim means nothing since humyn beings (in this case Amerikan corporations profiting off of militarized police occupation) put these technologies in to monitor New Afrikans and Mexicans/[email protected] geographically located in ghettos and barrios. Like Mao Zedong taught us, man is principal over machine and weaponry in warfare.
On August 11th, Adam Toledo’s family spoke about the plan of creating “Adam’s Place”; a non-profit shelter for at risk boys trying to escape inner-city conditions and lumpen violence. The shelter would be built on a 70 acre farm in Potosi, Wisconsin and was chosen by the family’s attorney Joel Hirschorn. The location is 3.5 hours away from Chicago and 2.5 hours away from Milwaukee.(9) The non-profit is claimed to be modeled after the Christian ministry program “Boys’ Farm.” In a town hall meeting in Potosi, Wisconsin, Joel Hirschorn announced that the home will not take in boys already in a lumpen organization. We are not sure how Adam’s Place will define a child to be “in a gang” (whether affiliates or individual hustlers will be classified as belonging to a “gang”); however, we see the fact that Adam Toledo himself would not be allowed in Adam’s Place as a prime example of liberal NGO tactics.(10) We hope for stable and safe path for all children who will enter Adam’s Place, and wish the family members of Adam Toledo for a peace of mind from the nightmare they must be facing. For attacking the problem at the root, and for real rehabilitation of lumpen youth, we point our directions away from NGOism to our readers and towards socialism and revolution.
When my brother first articulated the vision for the new venture, Forever Protecting the Community, and his general desire to uplift Our people, We were in a supermax prison, in the middle of nowhere. He himself had just days prior been released from a similar prison and had come to visit me. It was Our first time seeing each other in six years, since my trial, in which i was unjustly sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Thick, shatter proof glass separated Us in the visitation booth. i expressed through the phone, between static, my approval and tipped my head in acknowledgment of the self-development and maturation process that i knew had led up to this point in his life. i knew the process intimately, as i myself have undergone it as well in my own way. It is a process of social and mental growth that many before us have gone through. It is a process that sees one evolve from a state of self and socially induced ignorance, towards a state of a more completely functional humyn being, one who is engaged with the community and world around them, being productive therein. It is this way which We were meant to live among each other, but through the process of social-economic development, from a communal economy, into a hyper capitalistic society, We’ve become a mutation of Our true selves. Individualism dominates collectivism, greed has taken the place of contentment. Being as We are born and bred in such a world it takes a process of re-education and re-commitment in order to shun these counter-productive characteristics and act in the furtherance of productivity and communal upliftment.
Sometime later after Our visit, Prisoner A asked me to make a contribution to a collection of short stories that he wished to publish under the banner of Forever Protecting the Community. He stated that his vision was to correct those of Our homeboys behind enemy lines with the movement that was/is in process in the streets. As it is, when Our people are held captive by the state they’re often forgotten about, or merely become just another hashtag, as the world moves on. Additionally he figured, and i agreed, that brothers such as myself who are living the effects of social alienation, political disengagement/dependence, and economic insecurities, the combination of which has led to lives tarnished by and through captivity, should have much to express in regards to the direction of Our communities and Our nation (that is the nation of Black people in Amerika which i refer to as New Afrikans).
In responses to my brother’s request i consciously refused to contribute a ‘short story’. Reason being, short stories are fictional, while the subject matter surrounding the necessity of Forever Protecting the Community is far from fiction. It is real life that drugs and STD’s have ravished Our communities. It is real life that millions of New Afrikans – Black children, wimmin, and men are currently in captivity or under the ‘supervision’ of the state. It is real life that the public school system is failing Our youth, not providing the necessary tools to live a self-sufficient life but only to enter the ranks of the wage slaves. It is real life that in areas which We call ‘Our community’, property ownership among New Afrikan people is less than 5%, this number includes homes, commercial real estate, and ‘essential infrastructure’. These property relations are significant, as it is this factor which creates ‘social alienation, political dis-engagement/dependence, and economic insecurities’, so it is real, very real, that many of us live and die without having owned Our living spaces, and under the rules of Amerikan settler-colonialism and imperialism, it is increasingly difficult to own Our very identities, both collectively and individually.
So because this is Our real life, and has been for sometime, i felt what was/is needed more than mere entertainment is some ‘real talk’ as it pertains to ‘us’. Therefore i’ve offered up this place to shed light and open much needed communal discussion.
The word ‘protect’ means ‘to guard’; ‘to secure’; ‘to hold in safe keeping’; all these definitions imply that there is a force, or forces which seek to bring destruction, in whole or in part, to whatever entity needs guarding, security, safekeeping, or protecting. In Our context We are alluding to the need to secure Our ‘communities’, which are essentially semi-colonized territories dependent upon and occupied by outside forces.
It follows that if and when there is an entity that seeks the destruction of Our territory, Our community, Our nation, Our family, Our people, and Our self, that said entity is an avowed enemy to Our cause and Our interests. So therefore i pose the question, ‘who are Our enemies and who are Our friends?’ 402 years ago with the advent of the Maafa (African slave trade; tragedy) an unresolved contradiction arose. This contradiction has been characterized by the colonization of New Afrikan Black people, first as slaves, a nation of slaves, and oppressed and exploited free people, until now, where Our colonization is characterized by the forced dependence upon the United States, settler-imperialist neo-colonial empire, for the basic functions of modern nationhood. That is free development of independent political, social, and economic production and advancement.
During the last 402 years, what it means to be a New Afrikan in Amerika has been tied to Our ongoing collective struggle to express Ourselves in the full extent of Our humynity, to cast off the old forced colonial relationship, which saw us as completely dependent pawns in the ‘game’ of world affairs, and to exercise a role and position which has been guaranteed to almost all other peoples of the world, that is to determine for Ourselves who We are, what We are (a colonized nation), and how We wish to organize Ourselves for the daily survival of Our people.
For the settler-empire’s part in this contradiction they’ve sought to undermine Our natural, independent, development at every turn. All the empire’s actions towards Our people, whether they be in the field of military intimidation (police terrorism), propaganda, political policies, and all other matters, they have all been to further the relation of dependence upon their governance and economic structure.
Due to these simple truths and the multitude of ramifications that they produce, it shouldn’t be lost on the reader that the enemy of New Afrikan–Black people is the system of economic and political power that has been FORCED upon us. This system is called capitalism-imperialism, and the u.s. government at both federal and local levels is the world leader of this system which is the cause of not only Our collective misery, but that of the majority of the world’s people.
We, as a people, must come to understand that, ‘yes’, ‘protection’ is needed and it is needed from the forces of power. Our enemies are not those of another block, set, or turf who not only look like us, but more importantly, are victims of the same systemic oppression and alienation as us, which has fostered Our like conditions. Our enemies are not those whom the real enemy has told us are the ‘gangs’ and ‘criminals’. These We must begin to see as Ourselves, Our siblings, Our allies, in this struggle. Allies whom have not yet been awakened to their place and position within the ranks of Our New Afrikan Independence Movement.
Forever Protecting the Community, as many of you reading this already know, has grown out of the legacy of the Forum Park Crips, in particular, and that of New Afrikan-Black street organizations in general. Modern street organizations within Our colonies (communities) have for a long time possessed the tendency to re-imagine their identities and the role in which they intend to play in the development of Our people, that of destroyers or builders.
Prior to the creation of the original Crips of Los Angeles in 1971, there were other street organizations. During the mid-1960’s as Our nation was on a collective march to determine for Ourselves Our own destiny, several Black Power organizations began to recruit effectively within the class of people in Our colonies that were or would likely become members of street organizations. These Black Power revolutionaries impressed upon the sisters and brothers that the most effective way to combat the mistreatment they all faced was to unite on the basis of nationhood, and the shared quest for self-determination.
On the West Coast, the main Black Power groups leading the shift in social philosophy and participation among the ‘street class’, were the Black Panther Party, and the US organization. The former would succeed in consolidating ALL of the New Afrikan Black street organizations on the West Side of South Central into one mass body. This effort was led by Panther deputy chairman Alprentice Bunchy Carter: a former leader of the ‘Slausons’ street organization, and convict, turned political revolutionary while in California’s San Quentin Concentration Camp. Bunchy Carter would help politicize most of his former ‘gang’ buddies, recruiting them into the Panther organization and more importantly, re-install the sense of common-unity (community) among the working class of the surrounding area, with the former ‘destroyers’, the ‘gang’ element. This was only possible once the people could see that the 5,000 strong Slausons had made themselves a vehicle for productivity in opposition to the people’s REAL enemies instead of assisting the enemies of the people in the destruction of the people and Our areas of residence. Forever Protecting the Community, if it lives up to its calling, will follow down this same path of self-liberation, utilizing the examples set by the Slausons and others to build upon the advancement of Our nation in Our quest for self-determination and independence.
"The time is NOW for a total refocusing of Our efforts, away from non-productive distractions and other elements of temptations, and focus towards those disciplines that will make us real [contributors] in Our communities. We must stop the gangbanging and drive-bys. Our [nation] is being destroyed by the killing [drugging and imprisonment] of Our own youth. We must stop hating one another because of the block, hood, turf, and color We represent, these actions only continue the cycle of self-destruction.
“And finally, in my sincere appeal for peace and unity: Those of us that have experienced being Our brother’s keeper – We must educate Our members around Us. Education brings about awareness. Awareness generates the ability to think. Our youth must know the end result of crime is shame, disgrace, and imprisonment to themselves, as well as the community. We must come to the point of outlawing those who willfully disrupt Our communities and Our call [to Forever Protect the Community]. Crime must not be accepted as the normal way of doing things.” – Larry Hoover’s 1993 ‘Call For Peace’
As articulated previously, there has been a tendency among New Afrikan-Black street organizations to re-imagine their identities and the role in which they play, or intend to play in the development of Our people, that of destroyers or builders. Larry Hoover leading the transition of his organization from ‘Gangster Disciples’ to ‘Growth and Development’ is one of the most noteworthy and informative examples that We can/should take lessons from. Yet before We delve more into the lessons We can take from this grouping, it is important that We illustrate the hands of the enemy in regards to the growth and expansion of today’s street organizations and the sanctioned culture of gangsterism.
Going back to the mid-60’s, as the Slausons and other similarly situated groups began to cast off the self-destructive, and counter-productive behaviors, they consequently began engaging in the socio-political battles Our people faced at the local, ‘national’, and global levels. Once it became clear to the masses that Our oppression was/is political and economic and that the political reinforced the economic, it became evident that the interests of Our people had to be represented, by Our people, in the political sphere, and subsequently political bodies were formulated. The Black Panther Party, along with the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika, were two of the foremost leaders among these such groups. On a national level, the ‘street class’ began to be involved in the development of themselves, and their people on an objective basis, as such naturally their priorities began to shift, instead of clubbing, slanging and banging, this class of people, many of Our predecessors, began to initiate community political education classes, free health clinics, community ‘face lifts’, and clean up programs, free busing to prison for visits, and a host of other ‘survival programs’.
It was during this time, because Our people had clearly drawn a line of demarcation between themselves and the enemies of the people, furthermore the same elements of the New Afrikan-Black Nation which had, by force of circumstance, been most dependent upon the u.s. federal and local governments couldn’t and/or wouldn’t. Such a development signaled to the people that they themselves had the necessary power to liberate themselves, hence the popularity of the phrase, ‘Power to the People’.
Much of the oppressors continued rule depends upon the people’s belief that they’re utterly helpless without the structure of the settler-colonial imperialists. Once this illusion is unmasked and the essence of the establishment is exposed, the oppressive state apparatus must solely rely on brute force to maintain its illegitimate rule upon the people, Our people. The establishment seeks to bypass such a reality. Overt violence for the sake of political repression usually swells the ranks of those in opposition to the illegitimate governmental authorities.
It was this exact situation which saw the federal government intensify the contradiction which began in Black August 1619 to the level of a domestic war between two opposed and contradictory entities, through the FBI’s declared war on the various organizations and people within the Black Liberation Movement, by way of the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).
The u.s. government’s carrying out of COINTELPRO in order to prevent the self-developed expression of the New Afrikan-Black experience as a colonized nation held captive for centuries by the u.s. government, resulted in numerous political assassinations of New Afrikan-Black liberation combatants, the political/false imprisonment of various souljahs and activists of Our cause, and the subsequent obliteration of what has been up until this point the most progressive era of Our collective struggle in 402 years (the Black Liberation Movement).
The defeat of the movement is important to this discourse on FPC, because it was in the wake of the defeat of the movement that the Crips, Bloods, Folks and Peoples established themselves. The establishment of these street groups was facilitated by the war initiated on the movement, and the subsequent elimination of progressive, productive, and revolutionary leadership in the colonies which We call communities. Ajamu Niamke Kamara (Stanley Tookie Williams), co-founder of the Crips, said the following:
"i’m convinced that had the Black Panther Party still been recruiting - uninterrupted by the duplicitous COINTELPRO… Huey Newton and Bobby Seale would have salivated over the untapped youthful potential We represented.
“Throughout this state and country, We embodied only a small divided body within a multitude of reckless, energetic, fearless, and explosive young Black warriors. Though we were often seen as social dynamite, i believe We were the perfect entity to be indoctrinated in cultural awareness and trained as disciplined soldiers for the Black struggle.”
Unfortunately for the original Crips and Bloods, and the many multitudes who have since followed in their foot steps, in 1971 while Tookie Williams and Raymond Washington were establishing the teenage clique that would become an international menace, the Black Panther Party was enduring a major split within its ranks, which was caused, partially, by the assault(s) of COINTELPRO, that would be the beginning of the end for the Party and the movement.
In the wake of the defeat, the establishment initiated a wide variety of methods to ensure that the widely dispersed wave of righteous rebellion and the desire of an internal colony to free itself from the forced yoke of imperialism and neo-colonialism, would never happen again. To insure that Our people would remain collectively divided and conquered, and sleep, the enemies invented and distributed crack cocaine, and military grade weapons throughout the mid 1980’s and into the 1990’s, allowed for the AIDS/HIV epidemic, created laws and policies that would hold millions of Our youthful and vibrant siblings in captivity based on fabricated and over-exaggerated portrayals of Our colonized territories and peoples, and Our responses to Our colonial oppression.
While the movement for self-determination was brutally crushed by the u.s. government, that same government, wherever it could, assisted the growth and expansion of the street organizations. The very industry that was factually created by the CIA (the Crack Trade) was the vehicle which drove Crips, Bloods, Folk, and Peoples factions in their growth across the u.s. empire. This subsequent growth and expansion led directly to the formation of the street organization, Forum Park Crips, an independent Crip faction in Houston, Texas, along with countless other similar factions and groups. What could have been the u.s. establishment’s motive in instigating the growth of parasitic groups, while murdering and torturing the productive organized bodies? The answer can only possibly be the intended destruction of Our nation and people.
With this realization that We have been manipulated, on a large scale, to act against Our own interests and that of Our nation, the formation of Forever Protecting the Community, though not the solution within itself, surely takes a step in the correct direction.
“… Our women and children are suffering greatly at the hands of an oppressive, dominant, racist political system… We can no longer afford the forced luxury of non-involvement or non-participation. The question remains: How can We contribute within Our limited capacities? .. i say to you: If We accept a partial responsibility for the plight of Our own people, then We must take an active role in the game of POLITICS.” – Larry Hoover’s 1993, “Call to Action”
Where Do We Go From Here? As stated above, the formation of Forever Protecting the Community is not a solution in and of itself, and it remains to be seen whether or not this formation will live out its full potential. What has already taken place however is the necessary act of determining for ones self what your identity and purpose will be. There will be naysayers who will point to all sorts of negative aspects of those who are or become active with the new FPC movement. They will, if hystory is any indicator, deter the general public from supporting and identifying with the movement of Our people and colonies.
In order to get out in front of this foreseeable roadblock to Our progress, We must do one of two things. 1) Abandon the words and personification of ‘gang’, and ‘criminal’, to those who have defined them (Our enemies) so that now they will have purely negative connotations; 2) redefine those words/personifications - or create a new word or phrase to describe organized groups within Our oppressed colonies (communities).
Whichever choice is made, NEW concepts must be developed that reinforce NEW forms of activity that should begin to appear on the basis of the NEW concept. Forever Protecting the Community is the NEW concept, and now what the leaders of this organization must act towards is organizing a wide variety of people of the community to work collectively to transform the ‘gang’ into a progressive organization of New Afrikan people, which struggles and works in the interests of Our people. The problem within Our colonies (communities) isn’t that there are ‘gangs’, but it is the real problems which all peoples under capitalist domination face, it is capitalism itself, and the social, economic and political alienation it creates, which indirectly gives birth to ‘gangs’ and ‘crime’.
Forever Protecting the Community has taken one step towards empowerment – one critical step closer to a new sense of collective identity, purpose, and direction – by using the power that We already have, to define Ourselves, name Ourselves and speak for Ourselves – instead of being defined and spoken for by others. The next step consists of leading all the people of the community to share in the responsibility for providing a NEW broader sense of collective identity, purpose, and direction – for Our children and Ourselves. It is time now to promote NEW ideas about the life We wanna live and the society We wanna live in. Its time to promote NEW definitions of Our problems (e.g. ‘racism’ or capitalism/colonialism) and the real solutions to Our problems (e.g. ‘empowerment’ or genuine independence). We must begin to promote among Our people the idea that Our purpose isn’t to simply own a nice car, jewelry, a house, or even to quasi control a few city blocks, but to share in Our control of entire cities, entire states, and eventually, to share in the control of Our independent nation.
The task is to begin to formulate a community coalition behind the idea/motto/slogan of Forever Protecting the Community. By a coalition i mean connecting with a variety of people who identify with and support the cause of the organization. Particularly, the following elements within the community should be sought out for support and assistance:
“What We have to do is get together the conscientious progressive thinkers within these [street] organizations that know that they have to make a change in order to survive… We have to put together a concerted effort by all segments of Our community– clergy, business, activists, and progressive thinkers within street organizations [local elected officials, educators, health care providers]. You have to go within these organizations to change them… You can’t just write off a generation… It is time for [New Afrikans] from all over the country to realize what has happened to Our people, and that while much of it can be attributed to outside forces We have to begin to take responsibility for Ourselves.” – Larry Hoover
As a politicized prisoner, and activist, co-founder of the prison activist organization Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E., i extend my hand, and that of my comrades and supporters on both side of the walls, in support and solidarity of the Forever Protecting the Community organization, and more importantly i look forward to workin with my brothers, the 10’zzz, on concrete actions both FPC and Team One can collab on that will suit both Our missions.
We of TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. believe the current United Struggle from Within movement which We support, along with the general prison resistance/abolition movements, align perfectly with Forever Protecting the Community’s mission. As such, We humbly ask that if you are a part of or support the mission to FOREVER PROTECTING THE COMMUNITY, that you also contact and actively support the souljahs behind enemy lines within the TX Team One formation fighting against legal slavery in Texas prisons, and the inhumane use of indefinite, and long term solitary confinement, as a toll of social and political repression.
Dare 2 Struggle Dare 2 Win; 1 Love 1 Struggle for LAND AND INDEPENDENCE
“Look you a Blood, i’ma Crip, but i figure we can get back to that Black shit, instead of killin and bangin for crack shit, is n****z too stuck in they ways? i know We long overdue, but is We ready for change? Stand under one flag like an ARMY brigade. Time to put the deuce-deuce down and pick a ‘K’, and if We bangin on sum Black shit. Let’s ride for the dead homies and get the burners for Malcolm and Nat Turner. Talkin’ to them other n*****z, my so called enemies We don’t own one block but We live and die for these city streets. Even though the pain runs deep, REAL n*****z know its time to make PEACE so We can FOCUS ON THE PAYCHECK.” – Nipsey Hussle
“Now if We wanna live the THUG LIFE and the gangsta life and all that, okay, so stop being cowards and let’s have a REVOLUTION. But We don’t wanna do that, dudes just wanna live a character. They wanna be cartoons, but if they really wanted to do something, if they was tough alright, lets start Our OWN COUNTRY, lets start a REVOLUTION, let’s get out of here [prison], let’s do something.” – Tupac Amaru Shakur
Triumphant TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E Co-founder New Afrikan Independence Movement
Any pig that enjoys punishing citizens who even think about resisting arrest or even ‘looking funny’ at him should move to Corruptarado (as we call this state) and go work for the Denver Pig Department.
Per an 11 August 2021 article in the Denver Post, “Denver paid $1.1 million settlement to police officers fired after beating unarmed man, records show,” two pigs that severely beat a 23 year-old Latino man in 2011 were fired, but as part of the ‘deal,’ were paid thousands of dollars in exchange for agreeing to never work for a pig department ever again.
But wait. The pigs sued, claiming they should have not been fired. After a ten year battle, the Colorado Supreme Court allows this Colorado Court of Appeals ruling to stand. A ruling for the pigs.
So … one of the pigs got $420k, and the other got almost six hundred grand from the City and County of Denver. City officials said “We are acutely aware that this result means that the officers essentially escape the consequences of their conduct.” Ya think?
No doubt pigs around the country smile when they read of this decision. Maybe many of them will now be sending their job applications to the Denver Pig Department, home of the pigs with 007 licenses to kill.
The American reformers who first devised the penitentiary believed that criminals could be ‘reformed’ through solitary confinement, labor and religious indoctrination. The use of solitary confinement and isolation/sensory deprivation began at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary in the 1820’s. But what was actually discovered was that conditions of sensory deprivation caused mental deterioration and psychosis. Leading writers such as Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, upon touring the penitentiary, spoke out against its conditions of mental torture. As Dickens observed: ‘I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.’ The Supreme Court ultimately ruled such solitary confinement ‘mentally destructive’ and outlawed it. It stated,
“A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to remove them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal better were generally not reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of sufficient service to the community.” See: In re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168 (1890)
Since that time, however, solitary hasn’t ceased. This is even after courts and legislators in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have outlawed even the new and more scientifically designed forms of solitary confinement.
TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. was founded by persyns who have endured years and decades of solitary confinement in the forms of SHU and Ad-Seg (now called ‘restrictive housing’).
Many modern courts have found the same conditions and injuries to prisoners from confinement in modern control units as did the high court of 1890 in the Medley case (see: e.g. Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1995) )
“Many, if not most inmates in SHU experience some degree of psychological trauma in relation to their extreme social isolation and the severely restricted environmental stimulation in SHU.” This court concluded that confinement under such conditions may press the outer boundaries of what humans can psychologically tolerate. The psychological consequences of living in these units for long periods of time are predictably destructive, and the potential for these psychological stressors to precipitate various forms of psychopathology is clear cut. "Another court found that isolating human beings year after year or even month after month can cause substantial psychological damage, even if the isolation is not total. Davenport v. DeRoberts, 844F,2d 1310, 1316 (1999)
As a study on sensory deprivation by a team of 4 Harvard psychologists conducted for the CIA revealed:
The deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress;
The stress becomes unbearable for most subjects;
The subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli, and;
Some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations and other psychological effects.
“Segregation is the modern form of solitary confinement. Segregation inmates are almost completely deprived of the commonplace incidents and routines of prison life. In theory [RHU] is not punitive. In practice, it can only be described as punishing.”
It is with the preceding information that TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. has been inspired to put Our lives on the line in the most literal sense, by refusing the necessary nutrients for survival, and good health. This coming Black August 21st, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of George L. Jackson, TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. will be leading the masses on TDCJ’s Allred Unit in a hunger strike to protest and bring attention to the fundamental injustice that is embodied in the mere use of isolation solitary confinement. We ask the inside community to join us in struggle, as We already have a case in the courts challenging TDCJ’s use of the RHU. We ask the outside community to join us in solidarity (solidarity actions will be listed at the end of this pamphlet).
What is BP – 3.91?
Board policy 3.91 has recently been revised and is set to take effect on August 1st. These revisions seek to create an asexual environment in prison. If the penal system has its way, all publications, pictures which may possibly cause arousal will be considered contraband.
While We, T.E.A.M.O.N.E., recognize the needs of some to rehabilitate themselves from what may be considered perverse sexual behavior, the same cannot be said for all, nor even most, prison captives. For factually speaking, each individual has individual needs to the realm of recovery and redemption.
TDCJ, when it benefits their agenda, seems to agree. For, in recent years they have mandated that each captive complete an ‘individualized treatment plan.’ All captive persyns must complete the plan prior to their release on parole, or risk remaining in prison.
What Penological Reason Does BP – 3.91 Serve?
At the date of this writing TDCJ has refused to state any reasoning for this policy amendment. This refusal in itself is unlawful, by the standard set by the Supreme Court’s Turner case.
That aside, since they’ve left the reasoning up to interpretation, let’s interpret it:
Why on earth would anyone want an asexual environment? One where in theory only sexual desire doesn’t exist? We say in theory only because factually speaking, no matter the variations of sexual expression, desire and arousal are as natural as breathing. What then happens when large masses of people are warehoused, cut off from ALL social stimuli, as We are in RHU? Frankly, this act falls in line with historical missions of the american establishment, in terms of genocide, a slow and deliberate de-population of outcasted sectors.
REMEMBER EUGENICS? The selective breeding of persyns in order to weed out unwanted social characteristics that were thought to be found in ones genetics. REMEMBER FORCED STERILIATION of both wimmin and men who were largely held captive, were mentally unequipped, or otherwise considered a liability to the social order. This BP – 3.91 is aligned with this grim history.
But that’s not all! BP – 3.91 will ban any material which depicts a persyn with their face covered! Still in the middle of a pandemic! Enough said!?
Phone-zap: Those outside persyns who’re not local should call the TX Board of Criminal Justice on August 1st (512-475-3250) demanding BP 3.91 be annulled as it has been revised, as it is an unlawful use of prison censorship.
On August 24th, supporters should call the executive director of TDCJ (936-437-2101). On the 24th We will have been on strike for 3 days, which makes it official. Demand that TDCJ begin to rectify its inhumane confining of RHU inmates indefinitely and without meaningful review. Express your support for the hunger strikers on Allred.
Those who are local to this region, We ask to come out in droves to support Our cause via an outside noise demonstration at the grounds of the Allred prison colony. We need and appreciate your support.
This update incorporates the “health and safety concerns created by Housing Cage Staging” grievance submitted on 21 July 2021. A bullet point appears before text from the grievance. An asterisk appears before comments/explanations of the text for readers not familiar with terms, misnomers, and other devices prison officials implement to obscure the big picture.
Current policy forces prisoners from both sides of East Back (EB) to be in close proximity to each other (forced under threat of CDCR115)
*A “CDCR115” is an infraction. Repeat infractions of this particular variety leads to punitive solitary confinement resulting from what is called “program failure.” Prior to and while being classified program failure, loss of privileges, i.e. phone, canteen, packages, etc. are imposed. But who is it that’s not playing by the rules?
Administrative level prison officials and their supervisory staff are directing policy which discourages prisoners movement by presenting prisoners with an ultimatum to either be placed in danger of exposure or decline transport to destinations i.e. medical appointments, law library, visits, mental health programs, and get a 115.
*For clarification, San Quentin Death Row prison officials refer to these holding cages as “holding cells.” The misnomer obscures the fact each is constructed of steel grate. The cage is approximately 3 feet wide (front to back and side to side) with no solid partitions between them.
If prison officials continue promoting/demanding social distancing (even outdoors as with the “one side of EB per day” modified yard policy) then also continue staging prisoners in cage rendering social distancing impossible inside the unit (known to have inadequate ventilation) that would demonstrate an extreme lack of care – a criminal act under PC2652 (aggravates under threat).
*Prison officials know or should know placing prisoners in close proximity makes them susceptible to exposure to any number of COVID-19 variants. Yet not only do they demonstrate an extreme lack of care they’re basically saying “get into the cage and be exposed or else!”
Housing cages are not even disinfected between uses.
*Death row prisoners going to and coming from various locations are staged in these cages before and/or upon return (see second bullet point of grievance/602-1)
Staging prisoners in holding cages is for the sole purpose of convenience not health & safety.
*Apparently due to custody staff’s inability to maintain accurate lists of where prisoners are at any given time of day and lack of intelligence for search and escort (SE) officers, the cages are where prisoners are held once they are located by the desk officer who calls out names of prisoners over a loud speaker saying “get up and dressed” to the prisoner then saying “Tier officer bring them down to a Bay Side Holding cell” for whatever the case may be.
Current staging policy design causes yard release disruption/delays.
*Death row has 7 different yards (essentially split into 14 since only one side of EB goes out at a time). Yard release is scheduled to being 7:30 AM for these group yards but that does not happen. Further delay/disruption occurs as the desk officer halts yard release so the tier officers can escort prisoners with dictated medical appointments to the holding cages instead of releasing prisoners on their tier to yard. This disruption/delay design is relatively new.
The current holding cage staging policy has no validity in law or science regarding its deceptive benefits and potentially adverse effects.
Specific Action Requested: 1) Discontinue the double standard regarding social distancing. 2) Discontinue the policy design causing yards program disruption/delays. 3) Enforce 15CCR3271 without implementing retaliatory/punitive policy designs under guise of safety measures. 4) Stop threatening prisoners with CDCR115 violations who refuse to be placed in holding cages with these conditions. 5) Stop staging prisoners in holding cages knowingly endangering their health and safety by rendering social distancing impossible.
*using holding cages and/or congregate staging of prisoners in close proximity to each other going to or returning from medical appointments for a variety of symptomatic illness, facilitates the spread of a variety of viruses including but not limited to COVID-19 variants and influenza strains. The bottom line is: it is illegal for prison officials to knowingly endanger the lives of prisoners (See also 15CCR3271).
I want to thank you for sending me the newsletter. I’ve been getting fellow prisoners together to help change the ongoing troubles we’re having here on the John B. Connally Unit. I’ve had my mom email the Ombudsman due to the fact that the Warden stated everyone filing a grievance on his officers actions or the units conditions will find themselves in building lockup, facing disciplinary.
So we can’t write a Step 1 or 2 cause they are getting stopped by the officials. Right now we’re on lockdown due to a racial riot that happened due to the guards making our environment ‘hostile.’ A lot of the guards don’t be wearing they mask; and they haven’t been vaccinated, yet they lock us down when one or two people take down our mask.
We try to get an ‘informal resolution’ but they refuse to talk with us. Sgt. J Sandoval stated “fuck you, we don’t care.” Exact words. When they put us on 23 hour lockdowns they make it into a 26 or 28 hour lockdown cause they don’t want to let us up. Some of the guards are 19-20-21 year olds who’ve been an officer for 2-3 months, and they get rank and misuse their power. I’ve also written the Ombudsman and my mom emailed him.
The riot was Brown vs. Black cause the Blacks don’t wanna wear they mask and were tired of going down behind one or two people. Last night everyone had enough, grievances don’t get addressed. They write bogus cases for going to respite for heat restriction. TDCJ policy says we’re allowed respite 24 hours 7 days a week even during count yet when we go to respite, Sgt. Reed and Sgt. Sandoval write out of places cases when policy says we’re allowed respite. Also, August 1st TDCJ is trying to take all our pics of females away and calling pics of women in lingerie or exotic poses ‘contraband.’
Each day, I observe my fellow captives. I then sit back, and contemplate the “why’s” of our collective ills.
Firstly, the CT captives do not get basic prison protocols; i.e. Do’s and Don’ts! In my now, 2+ years of being imprisoned in CT, I can truthfully say that I now know what “defeat” looks like! A majority Afrikan & [email protected] populace whom have given up any thoughts of changing their conditions – content to work for a shower! As their fellow captives languish in cages during facility lockdowns! No empathy for their oppressed kindred. The individualist ideals supercede any/all “collective” ideals in CT: “As long as I get mines, fuck them.” Perfect conditions for reactionary/collaborator classes to regenerate among the ignorant masses.
I was always taught that no convict worked during a lockdown making the pigs do everything to shorten the lockdown as pigs are lazy by nature. So having to feed, collect trash, walk through garbage and bird-bath soaked tiers, etc. stress them out. Here in CT however, the prisoners have willingly acquiesced to being divided into 3 groups: (1) prisoners who work (2) apathetic individualists (3) collaborators. Daily, I am bombarded with “ideas” of what so called struggle entails and how to fashion a movement in CT; forgetting that a critical piece of any conscious progressive movement is ideological cohesiveness! How do we forge a movement with cats who see: working during facility lockdowns to the detriment of the rest of their class, or standing at the pig station talking as if such behaviors are socially acceptable norms?! Apparently, in CT this is how new age progressive movements are created. This is the working prisoner class.
The apathetic individualists are exactly that: adverse to everything! These types have grown weary from years of being in prison here in CT. Tired of trying and tired of being ratted on: tired of fighting! These types tend to have a million excuses as to why they’ve never participated in any anti-system activities. Typically, their past activities involve reactionary political actions. Cats who sow doubt among the uneducated and aiding the enemies in ignorance forgetting that “conditions” create ideologies, and from those ideologies correspond actions. The apathetic types want success without doing the necessary groundwork. It is our job to sow seeds amongst these cats, change their pessimism to optimism!
The collaborator groups in CT seem to crave the attention of the pigs. Whenever you look up, they are smiling and “jeffing” with the pigs. I have never seen cats so comfortable just kicking it with pigs. Cats who find a million reasons to dislike a fellow captive, but can’t find one to hate a pig. Being seen as “cool” by the pigs has never been a desire of those whom identify with progressive politics. So I’m quite uncomfortable being in an environment where the pigs and their captives have more in common than I do with captives. The “dragon” that I earned in blood sweat and tears coupled with the portrait on my arm of comrade George! It speaks volumes on how my comrades and I view the pigs and the oppressive system they represent. Question is: can the collaborators be co-opted/brought to a revolutionary state of mind? I shall stand firm regardless, even if it must be walking alone!
Here in the Michigan Department of Corrections(MDOC), like in any amerikan prison, we have drugs. We have weed, cocaine, heroin, even meth; but what we have the most of is not the drugs you get from your neighborhood dealer, no. We got drugs straight form the manufacturer the ones you get doctors to prescribe and then get a monthly “script” of 30 to 120. I’m talking about a drug who is so closely related to its hot older sister they’re basically twins. I’m talking about suboxone: subs, strips, strippers, orange slices, because they are orange and have the lovely smell of oranges coming off of them. Suboxone has become the number 1 choice in the drug trade: it dominates all others, even heroin. Impossible right? No, don’t even think. Its perfect small little paper thin strips that only take up maybe the length of a stamp and only need a 16th of it to get blown away. You can sell a 16th of a strip which is smaller than the whites of your fingernail. As much as real deal Big Poppa heroin is, it is nothing compared to “subs.” They are small – very potent – and are guaranteed by the manufacturer to get you high every time on a consistent basis. Anyone who was on the Dog or Heroin takes to it like a fat kid at the buffet line. It’s no surprise that this drug is used for heroin addicts to come off of heroin it is so close I honestly see people trading heroin addiction to sub addiction.
Around 2012 is when I first heard of subs. In 2013, I saw the problems of them such as the quick money which they bring because of the easy ways they’re smuggled into the prison system. I saw how easily it was taken by guys who never had done things like heroin. Like the crack dealer trying his own stuff, these guys tried it too cause what do you do when you sit around making money all day and the only things you have to do are either get high or sell. Lots of people sell the strips but everyone does them. It don’t matter Black, White, or Hispanic: all of them.
The thing about strips that people fail to realize is that it is a drug: a drug to help people get “off” heroin. But because it comes from a doctor and is handed out at every rehab facility across Amerika, nobody thinks it is addictive. I’ve seen it and it’s just as bad, no worse, than crack or Heroin. I’ve even seen suboxone on T.V. being handed out to heroin addicted teens as an intervention. Doctors handing this drug out on T.V. says a lot about how people perceive this miracle drug. Just like how oxycontin and fentanyl became the miracle drug for pain which led to the opiate epidemic. That only trades who you buy the opioids from because when you ran outta oxycontin or vicodens, you could go to the dope man and get a blow pack of heroin for a fraction of the price. Now you can get it from the doctor no problem. Being an affiliated member of a large Latin organization, I’ve seen guys go from selling it and making money to running around robbing Peter to pay Paul selling his shoes to finally getting knocked out because he has not paid his debts.
Not only does this drug slip past your normal “say no to drugs” defense; not only does it slowly take control of an addict’s life; it lulls you into this docile scared state where you are no longer the proud man that held his head high and looked your problems right in the eye. Instead you are now feeling like scum beneath one’s shoe, and when people see the weakness in you they pounce. They pounce so hard and so fast. The homies I thought were giants have tucked tail and ran away thanks to strips: this miracle drug for heroin and opioid addicts. This drug that can be so lucrative in the prison system that is so lucrative to Big pharma has made our men – our brothers and our fathers – into cowards. This drug takes away your will to fight and stand tall and to me if that don’t scream to you that this government is trying to destroy the hearts and minds of the proletariat – the workers – who bleed for every dollar; who get coddled by big pharma to take their opioids for pain and then their suboxone to get off the opioids they sold you in the first place; then you’re a damn zombie and are now hopeless. And what do you do with an animal that is beyond hope… bang!
It is my hope though that for your sake and everyone else’s that you learn to see the sign of addiction and stop them. It’s important to have a hardliner stance on taking suboxone for any reason: it is a very addictive drug and should be treated as heroin is. And like heroin it should be avoided at all costs: this is the only way to keep you and your compañeros from falling victim to this dangerous drug.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We echo this comrade’s conclusion that drugs, like prisons, are being used for social control.(1)
As we wrote in ULK 59, discussing our survey results on drugs in prisons:
Our survey showed significant abuse of Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction. In the 1970s Methadone clinics, backed by the Rockefeller Program, became big in New York. The state even linked welfare benefits to these services. Yet, Mutulu Shakur says, “In New York City, 60 percent of the illegal drugs on the street during the early ’70s was methadone. So we could not blame drug addiction at that time on Turkey or Afghanistan or the rest of that triangle.”(2) Revolutionaries began to see this drug that was being used as treatment as breaking up the revolutionary movement and the community. Mitulu Shakur and others in the Lincoln Detox Center used acupuncture as a treatment for drug addiction. Lincoln Detox is an example of an independent institution developed by communists to combat drug addiction in the United $tates.(2)
Our 2017 survey revealed Suboxone as the latest scourge coming to prison systems in the northeast.(3) And it is making it’s way across the country. While it hit Michigan in 2012, it has just hit California in the last couple years. To document this shift we are asking our readers to submit to us your responses to the following brief survey. We especially want to hear from those of you on the West Coast, where suboxone was not being reported 4 years ago.
Drugs in Prison Survey 2
Please rank the most common drugs/intoxicants in your prison and answer the following questions for each one:
What percentage of people use this substance in your prison? You can use percentages or think of it in terms of if you picked 10 random people from the prison, how many of them would use the drug – 1 in 10? 5 in 10?
Are there certain groups, nationalities, agegroups, etc that seem to prefer this substance?
If you have been in that system for more than a year, have you seen the use of this substance increase? or decrease? or stay the same?
What are the health impacts of this substance on the population?
What are the social impacts of this substance on the population? (ie. more fighting, more passivity, more/less socializing, more/less community, what activities would people likely be doing if it weren’t this drug)
Are there conditions on prisoners abilities to receive suboxone? For example, do you have to attend any other treatment like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT) classes for the duration of your prescription?
Are suboxone doses generally lowered over time, or can patients stay on suboxone for as long as they want?
Have you seen effective efforts by prisoners to organize against drug use and its effects? If so, please describe them.
Would you be interested in implementing a revolutionary 12 Step program that is focused on transforming ourselves to serve the people and transform society?
The Soldiers of Bondage have a determination, To gather the masses to hear our proclamation. It is time to end the discrimination, That terrorizes the people of the oppressed nations. Why is it the factions continue the hating’, That’s propagated by the oppressor that all of us are facing’? Too busy gang-bangin’ and listenin’ to radio stations; And believin’ the tyrants when they say we’re mistaken. Caught up in the deception we don’t see that they’re fakin’, So we continue to struggle like something forsaken. And as the years go by we forget what was taken, So we abandon the war that we had been wagin’. Lost throughout history the terror of Caucasians; As they enslaved the Negro and persecuted the Asians. Don’t forget the Indians on the war-path ragin’, At the injustice of the Wyte man’s invasion. The capture of men and the practice of encagin’, Those men and womyn that they weren’t enslavin’. In horror our ancestors watched as the fiends were rapin’, Every man, womyn, and child that they had taken. Imperialist pigs want us dragging our feet; To succumb to their tyranny and accept defeat. But a Revolution has started, led by S.O.B.; Whose goal is to crush the oppressor and set the people free. United we stand before the masses and speak; In defiance we roar and reject defeat. Attacking the oppressors until all of them bleed; Not satisfied until oppression is six-feet deep. The Revolution is strong while the tyrants are weak, In supplication they bow begging for peace. No longer do we wish to hear the barbaric swine shriek, Nor the sound of our womyn as they wail in grief. We gave them a chance to pack their bags and leave, But in arrogance they stayed thinking we wouldn’t succeed. For how could they know the power of a seed, That was planted long ago and is now a tree? Nourished by the blood of our comrades who died; Sacrificing their lives so that we might survive. We’ve had enough of the capitalist lies, They’ve fed us for years throughout our lives. Now is the time for the people to rise, And let them know this treatment we despise. In anger our voices soar and in passion we cry, At the outrage of all the people we had to see die. How dare they have the audacity to hope, That they’ll be given a chance to escape their rope. It wasn’t in weakness we started this revolt; We’ve gotten this far and we won’t start to choke. As the funeral pyres burn the sky fills with smoke, We annihilate our oppressors with a merciless stroke. They had heard of our struggle but thought it was a joke; Confronted with reality none of them spoke. The time of slavery has come to an end, And the era of freedom is about to begin. Gone will be the inequality of men; While society embraces its enemies as kin. On a brand new axis the world will spin, When the Revolution we’re waging finally wins.