Under Lock & Key Issue 77 - May 2022

Under Lock & Key

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[Theory] [Organizing] [Education] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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An Ongoing Discussion On Organizing Strategy Pt.4

Analysis based in dialectical materialism

Within the prison movement there is much talk about ‘political education’ and ‘raising consciousness’. Truthfully, even when We reflect on recent and distant episodes in Our collective struggles against the bourgeoisie, many of us often lament upon the fact that a key ingredient that has always been lacking from Our movements, parties, organizations, and the unorganized masses, is the lack of a systemic and organized framework to political education. Assata Shakur expressed her criticism of the Black Panther Party for the same reason. Veterans of the [email protected] movement i’ve spoke with have expressed the same criticisms, stating that had more deliberate, organized approaches been given back in the days it may have progressively altered the cultural nationalist tendencies of the movement towards a revolutionary nationalist praxis. Yet and still, today We’re still stressing, and rightly so, the paramount importance of political education. However, the question has become, must become, what is political education, how do we apply it, and why is it so important?

Political education takes many forms, and phases, and the correct application of it, or what is paramount for a persyn to know is dependent upon the conditions one finds themselves in. Thus i begin with Fanon,

“It is commonly thought with criminal flippancy that to politicize the masses means from time to time haranguing them with a major political speech…But political education means opening up the mind, awakening the mind, and introducing it to the world…To politicize the masses is not and cannot be to make a political speech. It means driving home to the masses that everything depends on them, that if we stagnate the fault is theirs, and that if we progress, they too are responsible, that there is no demiurge, no illustrious man taking responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people and the magic lies in their hands and their hands alone.” (1)

Now as i was saying conditions will determine quite alot. So it is the line of USW, and many others, that amerika is a settler-neo colonial imperialist empire, and as such holds actual nations of people subjugated, meaning their/our self-development is thwarted, within its borders as well as in the Third World.

Hystory indicated that this line is right and exact. When We recall the process of how amerika was established we understand that it (nation of euro amerikan settlers) settled upon this land, removed, and committed genocide against the native nations of people, some of which are still among us today. So those (the indigenous) are just one group of nations within the borders of amerika, which We call the First Nations. Of course We all know about the forced migration of millions of Africans, and We know they underwent slavery at the hands of those same settlers, as did some Natives. What We often fail to analyze is that slavery, is only an economic system, it is a mode of producing social value, however, to describe the plight of the African people in amerika by mere economic lingo alone is highly insufficient. What is the term that would encapsulate the experience of the economic exploitation, social and political repression that the African people in amerika eventually triumphed over? Slavery? No, servitude? No. That one word which encapsulates that struggle is COLONIALISM.

Well, what the heck is colonialism? Quoting from the Black Liberation Army Political Dictionary;

Colonialism - foreign domination of a country or a people, where the economic, political and military structure is controlled and run by the occupying force. (2)

So African people residing in the United $tates are not merely the offspring of enslaved people, but a colonized people, and because of that diametrically opposed nature of a colonized people to its colonizer, the African people residing in amerika developed organically into a nation, that is a people distinct from the settler by its culture, its language, its land, and thus We call this nation today New Afrika, but others call it Black Amerika, or Black nation, or a host of other titles. No matter the title New Afrikan people are deep down aware that they’re distinct and separate, but the reality of a nation within an empire doesn’t register to some, to most, after a substantial time frame of this reality being obscured from the public consciousness.

Having roots in, but eventually developing distinct from the First Nations, there is the [email protected], and Puerto Rican nations/colonies. Overtime all these domestic colonies subjugated by the settler amerikan empire have developed thru struggle, and have reached a new and different phase of colonialism, called neo-colonialism, which can be characterized by the power structure now formally allowing representatives of these oppressed peoples to integrate into the economic, political and military structures, and in many ways act as a buffer between the ruling class and the masses of neo-colonized people.

This brings me back to Our discussion on organizing, and political education. See, depending on what We organizing for, one will require different political understanding. Fanon says,

“A political informed [person in a colonial situation] is someone who knows that a local dispute is not a crucial confrontation between [them] and [the system]”

“It is the repeated demonstrations for their rights and the repeated labor disputes that politicize the masses.” (3)

So basically what Frantz Fanon is saying here is that first one must understand they are indeed colonized, and this understanding disallows them from settling for any ol’ concession that can come from a ‘local dispute’. And here when he says local, We can put it in Our immediate context and understand it to mean, ‘prison struggles’.

What does this mean? It essentially means that We utilize, and in fact manufacture these ‘repeated demonstrations for their/our rights’ as a means to politicize the masses. However, if We are organizing the masses utilizing such demonstration alone We run into a few pitfalls. The one which i’ll deal with here can be understood by the old saying, “Be careful what you ask for you just might get it.” So in Our context, in the prison movement, what happens to the momentum of the masses, of the people as a whole if We as organizers manufacture a or a few demonstrations and the administration actually concedes? If the masses don’t understand the complexity of Our situation, that We’re colonized, dehumanized, an alienated sub-class, the dregs of the society, and that not only must these realities change, We must change within Ourselves, and We must take part in changing these realities, then the masses the people will quit the struggle after what they’ve perceived to be success, and they’ll resume their normal ways of existence. This pattern is counter-productive to the cause of revolution. We must at all times possible keep the masses active, and that activity pertaining to the struggle. Fanon said, “The colonized subject is at constant risk of being disarmed by any sort of concession.”(4)

So an understanding of what Our issues are, colonialism, neo-colonialism or racism, or individual wrong decision making, will determine the strategies and tactics We take moving forward. If We begin Our study of literature proceeding from the perspective that We’re colonized nations of people, We study how anti-colonial struggles have developed, failed and triumphed around the world. Furthermore We realize that unless an action fundamentally eradicates Our colonial existence than it is only a reform and does not solve Our fundamental problem(s) which stem from Our thwarted development under neo-colonialism. Thus We don’t even seek certain reforms, or concessions, and the ones We do are to advance Our strategic goal.

The question now becomes again HOW to maintain the masses attention before, during, and after demonstrations? The answer leads us to ORGANIZATION. Those who have a study level of political vision must take the initiative in forming real organized organizations. Within these organizations leaders should allow for activities to be carried out by the rank & file and must be sure that activities assigned to a comrade are in alignment with the talents, interests, and abilities of said comrade. In this way one keeps the masses involved and engaged. If able weekly or bi-weekly meetings should be established. Minutes should be kept of the meetings, meaning, write down what you’re doing, what you’re talking about, what are the plans going forward, etc. At said meetings each comrade should have a progress report, which entails what they’ve been doing since the previous meeting.

If a comrade can draw, they should be assigned something to draw. If a comrade can write, they should be assigned something to write. If a comrade has a typewrite they should be tasked with typing up the documents of the group. In fact it is good to take up one project that the entire collective can attribute to. Say a pamphlet, of course you need writers, We need art work, and We’ll need a typist, We’ll need some donations of stamps to circulate it to publishers, and in this way every one not only feels involved, but more importantly feels that immeasurable feeling of accomplishment. In understanding the complexities of Our class (lumpen) We must understand a lot of us have not accomplished much of anything in the way of real world accomplishments. A lot of us have been caged, stagnated in a state of arrested development, since Our pre-teen and teen years, and thus are persynally under-developed in many ways. This feeling of accomplishment motivates and inspires one to continue to chase that good feeling, and particularly when the feeling is derived from doing something productive, it overtime alters a persyn internally, and this is what We, as revolutionaries especially within the lumpen class want most.

Organizations in their many varieties are the vehicles of the people and their struggle. Vanguard elements must seek to organize all aspects of the people’s struggle, all aspects of the people’s lives under their leadership and influence. This doesn’t mean everyone has to or will be a member of a particular leading organizational body. What it means is that organization must make itself seen & heard & felt in each aspect of the people’s lives. The musician they listen to should be expressing some theme derived from the organization. The farmer should have the organization’s line on collectivizing agriculture and land. The prisoner and their family should know that the prisoner, if deemed capable can/will have a place of refuge, work, and re-humanization with the organization. The womyn must know she has a group trustworthy and capable to care for her kids collectively, and ensure her access to safe abortion if necessary. Those in the LGBTQ community must feel at one with the organization, enabled and empowered.

In a nutshell the proper organization will galvanize the popular masses of the people, educating and organizing the most capable from every and all sectors, and from there synthesize the aspirations, and ambitions of the people’s struggle with practical and concrete measures to realize these objectives.

With the formation of Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E., the Texas USW re-branded, We have formed the vehicle for the Texas prisoner’s struggle. We have thus far established multiple wings which can/will be used to activate the stored away genius of the masses. We have the legal wing for those writ-writing jailhouse lawyers, a space for like minded cats to put their heads together to attack certain aspects of the system that can help us better build the movement. We have established, in its early stages, a wimmins & LGBTQ wing, which is again an avenue for certain people to step up and utilize what they already know how to do, in concert with the rest of the organized body to get what We want. We’ve established the Worker’s wing a lane where people around the state can collectively struggle for worker’s rights, and incorporate those struggles with the others and in combination gain bigger gains…We’ve established and/or influenced the establishment of numerous committees with the members therein playing roles in the ‘wings’ mentioned above. In all this We’ve done well in applying lessons learned from MIM(Prisons), and some of Our own experiences, thus synthesizing theory & practice.

It must be said however that We have made many mistakes. We began organizing as Fanon said, around demonstrations. We learned in practice, some of us without ever having read Fanon, that the masses, and Ourselves could easily get complacent after concessions are made. The mistake came by not initially focusing on ideo-theoretical questions. We had to learn that the truth of the matter that prior to any organization the people in question must sit down and individually intake information, after a certain amount of information has been accumulated they must come together and discuss their findings and thoughts, establish their points of unity, modes of organization, and other such matters. Of course this isn’t to say that all organizations come together like this. Many take on a more spontaneous approach to development and this approach is observed in their style of work.

The re-occurring theme will always be political education, the need for it will never cease, and the need to bring all the people to an active level of consciousness, that is a level where they can be/are active in the struggle.

In Our campaign to end RHU, it was selectively chosen for a multitude of reasons. One of which is to show & prove We can shut it down if & when We organize Ourselves and the people correctly. Because of conditions that prevail in long-term isolation, many of the most radical and politically astute people are in or have been in long-term isolation, if We could multiply those types of elements, and then get them out on the pop city We can make conditions more conductive to politicizing more and more prisoners sending more and more of these to the outside. To illustrate the contradiction that despite the various levels of illegality present within the solitary confinement apparatus, it still continues, and yet We’re the so-called criminals. There is of course the fact that if We can eliminate the punitive answer for dissent then We leave the enemy with little recourse once Our collective resistance picks up. In this way We take a tool out of their tool kit. However, the underlying goal is simply to shut seg down, what if they just capitulated and gave us what We wanted? What becomes of the struggle then? IF that was Our actual GOAL and not a MEANS TO AN END, then Our entire struggle would have been defeated, at least temporarily, not by bullets, or bombs, but by sugar-coated bullets, by concessions, by reforms, which weaken the intensity of contradictions rather than increase them. Mastering this delicate balance will determine the successes and failures of Our organizing methods.

“At first disconcerted, they then realize the need to explain and ensure the colonized’s consciousness does not get bogged down. In the meantime the war goes on, the enemy organizes itself, gathers strength and preempts the strategy of the colonized. The struggle for national liberation is not a question of bridging the gap in one giant stride. The epic is played out on a difficult, day-to-day basis and the suffering endured far exceeds that of the colonial period. Down in the towns the colonists have apparently changed. Our people are happier. They are respected. A daily routine sets in, and the colonized engaged in struggle, the people who must continue to give it their support, cannot afford to give in. They must not think the objective has already been achieved. When the actual objectives of the struggle are described, they must not think they are impossible. Once again, clarification is needed and the people have to realize where they are going and how to get there. The war is not one battle but a succession of local struggles, none of which, in fact, is decisive.” (5)

An Ongoing Discussion

We’ve picked this discussion back up, as some of us felt that somethings were still left unsaid or unclear.

We’ve articulated previously that one’s method to organization is logically dependent upon one’s goals, and also one’s circumstances or conditions. It is Our view that the conditions and circumstances being what they currently are in North amerika, the lumpen-prisoner class is a highly dynamic entity. This class, Our class is also a vacillating class, meaning its members can be like see-saws, moving from one side (revolutionary) to another (reactionary) as their emotions and whims take them. However, We assert that the other classes of North amerika have become so bourgeoisified that the social vehicles for social revolution are so slim to none that the last objectively repressed class in amerika, the class that still has little to no stake in the bourgeois democracy, is the lumpen.

We’ve reached this conclusion by analyzing the social forces and classes within North amerikan society. Observing their material benefits of being cozied up to their bourgeoisie. We’ve observed how and why social movements only advance so far, being largely unwilling, or sometimes unable to carry the struggle to higher levels, due to a certain level of comfort in the status quo. And We logically look to Our own class and see that these factors, though still present are vastly diminished. Therefore, arriving at this class analysis We say that it is most conductive to Our goal of social revolution to invest time and resources into the lumpen in order to politicize them, and that investment should be in proportion to the classes potential to lean towards a revolutionary line and practice.

Now We reach the basic question, how do we maximize the dynamic potential of this vacillating lumpen class? How do We ensure that the majority of lumpen are progressive, neutral, or all the way revolutionary and not objective enemies of the people? The answer again points to ORGANIZATION. The only way to maximize the people’s initiative in general and the lumpen in particular is to formulate them into tightly organized units/groups. The lumpen struggle is a class struggle, and thus We must organize the First World Lumpen on a class basis.

What does this mean, what does this look like? What is a class? There is often mention of the prisoner class, or a particular class of prisoners. However, very rarely do comrades utilize class in a Communist framework.

A ‘Class’ 1) shares a common position in their relation to the means of production; common economic conditions, relative to their labor and appropriation of the social surplus; 2) that they must share a separate way of life and cultural existence; 3) that they must share a set of interests which are antagonistic to other classes; 4) that they must share a set of social relations,;i.e. a sense of unity which extends beyond local boundaries, and constitutes a national bond; 5) that they must share a corresponding collective consciousness of themselves as a ‘class’, and; 6) they must create their own political organizations, and pursue their interests as a ‘class’ (6)

We must also clarify that Marx differentiated between a ‘class in itself’ and a ‘class for itself’. The difference between the two can be summarized by saying that a class in itself simply shares a common economic position but lacks the other listed criteria. Whereas a class for itself is an entity fully organized and meeting all listed criteria.

Therefore, what We are saying here is that We must organize in a manner that will bring the lumpen from the level of class in itself, to the elevated level of a class for itself. Our organization should be modeled in a way to obtain the collective mobility, ingenuity, and potential of the lumpen as a whole. We must ‘nationalize’ these structures, meaning expand them state-to-state, with each one developing its own relative strength locally.

The next question is how do We get there? How do we reach this point of mass participation and organization? We’ll quote Fanon here:

“The duty of a leadership is to have the masses on their side. Any commitment, however, presupposes awareness and understanding of the mission to be accomplished, in short a rational analysis, no matter how embryonic.” (7)

Here he stresses the basic conscious political education of the people. We continue:

“The people should not be mesmerized, swayed by emotion or confusion. Only [under-developed people] led by a revolutionary elite emanating from the people can today empower the masses to step out onto the stage of history.” (8)

I’ve put the above in bold to illuminate certain mistakes We often make. We often capitulate to the weaknesses of the masses in Our good intended desire to win them over. One of the weaknesses of this sort is the masses never-ending desire to be entertained. This desire almost always precedes from a desire to escape reality, and when done too much establishes a state of complacency with oppression and exploitation and undermines revolutionary or productive/progressive activity. When We reach out to the masses We often make the mistake of trying to move them into immediate action with a fiery speech, with the showing of the video of the latest police killing, or whatever We believe may move them. Although We have good intentions this method has hystorically proven inadequate for carrying out revolution. Instead, because it relies on emotions, which fluctuate, the activity it renders, if it renders activity at all, is necessarily fluctuating, and vacillating.

We can see this in real time if We observe the ebbs and flows of social movements in North amerika. George Floyd’s taped murder shook people emotionally. It awakened pent up anger and frustration from many sectors. People took that, and nothing else, no political education, no political organization, no political vision, only anger and frustration into their protests, and rebellions, and uprisings. Soon, the only people left in the streets were politicized people. Anarchists, Socialists, Abolitionists, and this sort. The masses however, had long since retreated back into the comforts of their amerikan life of escape, and leisure, isolating what was then allowed to be percieved as extremist/terrorist elements.

This what Fanon calls the ‘weakness of spontaneity’ showed its face. We must learn from this. In the quote above the ‘under-developed people’ are those masses of North amerikans. They reside in the land of excess, material excess, but the land of political sleep-walkers. These are the people Fanon says must be led by a REVOLUTIONARY elite. Now what does he mean by this? Because of the under-developed state of the people’s sociopolitical consciousness, those cadre elements who’ve struggled to grasp the complex concepts of political-economy, and revolutionary theory, although not desiring to be perceived as an elite, meaning above the rest, they actually do represent a higher stage of development, and in that context ONLY are they ‘elite’. The key phrase of the quote is the necessity that these ‘elite’ emanate from the people, meaning they must be one of their own, or perceived as such. The cadre-organizer must take care to balance its level of understanding with the level of the masses. There will be a contradiction between these masses and the politicized persyn, there should be, but this should not be an antagonistic contradiction. The people should be able to look to you for example, not look at you in disdain. As one might do to someone who thinks their shit don’t stink. Now we move to exactly HOW does these cadres, EMPOWER THE MASSES,

“…On the condition that We vigorously and decisively reject the formation of a national bourgeoisie, a caste of privileged individuals. To politicize the masses is to make the nation (or class) in its totality a reality for every citizen. To make the experience of the nation (or class) the experience of every citizen.” (9)

“Only the massive commitment by men and wimmin to judicious and productive tasks gives form and substance to this consciousness.” (10)

“No leader, whatever their worth, can replace the will of the people, and the national government, before concerning itself with international prestige, must first restore dignity to all citizens, furnish their minds, fill their eyes with human things and develop a human landscape for the sake of its enlightened and sovereign inhabitants.” (11)

It is Our intention as USW leaders in Texas, as Tx T.E.A.M.O.N.E. cadre, to have Our organization act as a vehicle to organize and mobilize and educate the masses of lumpen in North amerika. We hope you will be inspired to join us.

Sources:

1) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.138, chapt.3

2) Black Liberation Army Political Dictionary, pg.4

3) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.63 chapt.2

4) ibid, pg.90, chapt.2

5) ibid, pg.90, chapt.2

6) see; Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire; also Karl Marx, The Holy Family;also, Meditations On Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, James Yaki Sayles, pg. 286

7) Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon, pg.140, chapt.3

8) ibid

9) ibid

10) ibid, pg.144, chapt.3

11) ibid

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[Drugs] [California] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Suboxone Spreads to More Prison Systems, Little Evidence of Counseling

Following up on some recent warnings and reports from comrades on Subxone(buprenorphine), we conducted an updated survey on drugs in U.$. prisons this past winter.(1) We received survey responses from NC, PA, VA, WV, MI, CA and TX.(2) While we heard from Michigan in ULK 75 all of the other states were represented in our original survey, which was distributed more widely and received more responses.

So has anything changed in the last 5 years? In 2017, Suboxone use was reported to be common in many states in the northeast and midwest United $tates. Specifically comrades in NY, KS, WV, TN, CT, WI, and especially PA reported Suboxone use being popular. We do not have info on whether the Suboxone was obtained from the prison or not in that data set. In 2022, we can add California, Virginia, North Carolina and Michigan to the list of states where Suboxone is abused in prisons. Of those four, only Michigan was not represented in our 2017 survey, meaning Suboxone seems to have become popular in the other 3 in the last five years. Texas is the only state we got responses from this year that reported Suboxone still not being available at all.

Our comrade in Michigan reported this new drug appeared on the scene in 2012, and had become the most common drug abused in the MDOC, with perhaps 5 in 10 prisoners using it. (until recently when K2 took over)

We have updated info from Pennsylvania affirming that it is prescribed there and that people can stay on it for as long as they are held in prison. About 1 in 7 people are using Suboxone at SCI-Dallas.

In North Carolina, Suboxone is very popular, though less popular than K2, which has been increasing in use. Suboxone may be more popular with white prisoners there.

Our Virginia respondent is in a “big mental health/drug rehab” unit, where ey says “we can’t order self-help programs nor books.” Imagine that! Yet you can get a Suboxone subscription with no indication that there are any classes to go along with it. Some are continuing their Suboxone subs from the streets.

Michigan and West Virginia do not prescribe Suboxone according to our survey respondents. Yet it still gets into the prisons there and is quite popular.

California the big mover

The biggest shift we learned from our second round of surveys was the new introduction of Suboxone, which Ehecatl already reported in ULK 76 started in 2020. A recent study reported a sharp increase in buprenorphine consumption in prisons from 2020-2021. The number of incarcerated people consuming it rose an estimated 250,000 from January 2015 to May 2021. With only 115,000 prisoners total, CDCR may have been a good chunk of that growth, but clearly was only part of it.

That said, one comrade in California reported that they now “give anyone and everyone Suboxone. I know a bunch of people who never have used drugs and went to see the doctor and got put on Suboxone.” The price of Suboxone on the black market has decrease from $100 to only $2-4 as a result. This comrade continued,

“I’ve been in solitary confinement for over 4 years so I signed up to get put on Suboxone and I got put on it a week after seeing the doctor. I’ve been a drug addict my whole life, but was still surprised how easy it is and was to get put on Subxone.”

We’ve always held that solitary confinement is used as a tool of social control in the U.$. injustice system. We also see Suboxone being used in the same way. Here they are being used in conjunction as a way to help people adjust to the torture of solitary confinement. When used outside solitary, most prisoners reported its use leading to people retreating from socializing and not engaging in any kind of group organizing.

Another CA comrade had put in a request in December 2019 after the CDCR publicized a new drug to help with addiction. By March or April 2020 ey was approved for Suboxone. Doses there range from 8mg to 20mg. As for counseling, this comrade did report that, “while I was receiving it we were seeing a C.O. Healy and ex-drug user facilitator bringing us 5 days of work on Monday and coming back on Monday to pick up the homework.” It is not clear why ey stopped receiving Suboxone.

“Buprenorphine use in jails and prisons increased by 224-fold, from a daily mean of 44 individuals in June 2016 to 9841 individuals in May 2021 (Figure). Most of this increase occurred from 2020 to 2021. Nationwide, across all retail and nonretail settings, buprenorphine use increased by 53.9% from a daily mean of 466,781 individuals in January 2015 to 718,591 individuals in May 2021. By May 2021, correctional settings accounted for approximately 1.5% of all buprenorphine use nationwide. An estimated 3.6% of the 270,000 incarcerated individuals with [Opioid Use Disorder] in the US received buprenorphine.”(3)

These numbers are likely underestimated as they are based on retail sales numbers from one source. But the sharp increase in prescribed Suboxone starting in late 2019 is certainly something of note.

K2 Still King in TX

We received the most responses to our second survey from Texas, and things seem to have not changed much there. Everyone agreed that Suboxone was not available in Texas. K2 appeared there around 2013 or 2014 according to our respondents, and has been on the increase ever since. Many people report tiers filled with the smoke being a common occurrence in the TDCJ. K2 use rates reported in TX this time around estimated 10%, 20%, 30% and in the RHU up to 75% of people.

Our correspondent from Allred’s RHU reports that back in 2013-2016 “drugs were virtually non-existent… 1/2 that time there were no cameras, yet there still was no drugs, no cell phones, no contraband at all really. Since i’ve been back here there has been at least a 70% increase in contraband” (2017 to present). This comrade points to a huge cultural shift among staff leading to the change.

Ey goes on to explain the social effects of this influx of drugs and how it serves as a tool of social control:

“We had a good thing going here after working to bring all New Afrikan lumpen groups and people together, but clashes over drug debts have undermined the unity… We were able to organize 1/3 of the RHU population against their confinement. With the drugs one year later, barely 50 people!”

As far as effective efforts to combat drugs, we once again got a resounding “no” answer to that question form all states. One TX comrade reported, “the Christians and Muslims are the only social groups openly condemning drug use, simultaneously, some of their”coordinators" are getting officially charged with possessing it!"

Another comrade who struggled with prescription psych meds as well as illicit drugs explained, “One of the worst parts of my own ‘addiction’ was the shame and guilt that came from using these ‘illegal drugs.’” This is just one reason why the approach to drug addiction in this country is ineffective. We encourage comrades to try our new Revolutionary 12 Step Program, which will walk you through addressing these feelings of shame.

A couple of respondents reiterated a preference for “natural” drugs rather than ones that are synthesized by multi-national corporations. But we’d point out the reason we can’t trust modern technology is because of capitalism. It is not the fact that humyns made it that makes it unsafe, but rather the profit motives that cause humyns to hide and overlook any safety issues that come up. There are lots of things that grow naturally that can kill you. In a system that operates in the interests of the people, we wouldn’t be making things to add to that list like the capitalists do.

Notes:
1. [see the results of our first survey on drugs in prison in Under Lock & Key 59]
2. The response size for this survey was much smaller and only included the following number of responses by state: NC-1, PA-1, VA-1, WV-1, MI-1, CA-2, TX-5
3. Ashish P. Thakrar, MD1; G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS; Brendan Saloner, PhD; Trends in Buprenorphine Use in US Jails and Prisons From 2016 to 2021. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(12):e2138807. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.38807.

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[Drugs] [ULK Issue 77]
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Reader Found Suboxone Helpful

Hello

I’m just writing to say hi and thank you. I got my latest issue of Under Lock & Key no.76. I love your newspaper even though I don’t agree with a lot of the stuff you say about Suboxone. I’m on it myself and there’s nothing to do in prison, so a lot of people use drugs.

I had overdosed 3 or 4 times, but always had a celly who brought me back. Then, I had a celly I stabbed so I no longer could have a cell mate. If I were to overdose again I’d probably die. They started giving us Suboxone and I stopped using heroin – I no longer want or need heroin or meth or anything else. My suboxone is perfect.

Over my 10-plus years in prison, most drugs enter the prisons through the cops, C.O.s, nurses, and other free staff, not visiting. I always had and sold drugs, then when I got a couple pen pals and my family came back into my life I stopped. Even the Prison Legal News noticed during the pandemic a lot of drugs were still entering jails and prisons even though there were NO in-person visiting in a lot of states. But anyways, I love your newspaper: keep up the great work.(1)

I’m sending you 7 more stamps – I’ll send them whenever I can. I know you guys are a non-profit and can use all the help you can get.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We thank this reader for this perspective. In past articles, and again in this issue, we address the spreading use and abuse of Suboxone in prisons, both state-authorized and not. This occurs despite Suboxone being marketed as a tool to help with addiction. Our point is not to say that people who have found Suboxone helpful are wrong to use it or wrong that it can help. But like so many drugs under capitalism it is overly-prescribed, and abused widely without prescriptions in the black market. This serves a couple interests: the pharmaceutical companies profit interests, and the oppressors’ interest in social control.

We promote bigger solutions to the problem of drug addiction. Whether Suboxone is a tool some people need in today’s world we have not taken a position on. But we can say that through revolutionary organizing and liberation from imperialism we can overcome, and virtually eliminate drug addiction without the use of drugs like Suboxone.(2) As this comrade says, many people do drugs in prison because there is nothing to do. And things that people might be engaged in that would keep them off drugs are often discouraged or punished, such as political organizing. The comrade also found that being able to have basic social interactions with people that cared about em also got em to stop using drugs. This supports our position that long-term isolation is torture.

Another thanks to this reader for sending 7 additional stamps. July 4th is our annual Fourth of You-Lie fundraising campaign, where we ask all of our subscribers that are able, to send us 7 stamps for their annual subscription to Under Lock & Key. To say we are a “non-profit” is a bit misleading as non-profits generally have grant money and paid staff and such. We have none of that. Our “staff” is our comrades who also fund all our work from our pockets. So yes, we can use the help. And small contributions from lots of supporters is the kind of mass base we need to make our work sustainable.

Notes:
1. also see TDCJ: Your Staff are Bringing in the Drugs, and it Must Stop by a Texas prisoner in ULK 73.
2.Wiawimawo, November 2017, Opioids on the Rise Again Under Imperialism, Under Lock & Key 59

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[Organizing] [MIM(Prisons)] [ULK Issue 77]
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ULK 77 Editor Notes

As imperialist crisis deepens, national liberation grows. The right for national self-determination is gaining mainstream discussion with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The imperialists are boycotting Russia to support Ukraine, when they punished those boycotting I$rael for denying the self-determination of Palestine. Meanwhile, here in occupied Aztlán comrades are engaging the [email protected] movement on this topic, which has forced the largest reformist parties to discuss national liberation in the current political climate.

Before the next issue of Under Lock & Key comes out we have two events that we are asking you to support. One is our second annual Fourth of You-Lie fund drive. Thanks to all who donated already this year, we are off to a good start rivaling last year’s steady increase in donations. If you haven’t donated yet this year, we’re asking every reader to send us 7 stamps or more by July 4th. We just received notice that, like most things, printing costs will be increasing this summer.

And more importantly, June 19th marks the boycott Juneteenth Freedom Initiative. The campaign is centered in Texas, where comrades are organizing a general strike in prisons across the state. Different custody levels will be organizing different forms of action leading up to and continuing after June 19th. We will be sending updates to USW comrades in Texas over the next month. Campaign demands include:

End Solitary Confinement!

End Restrictive Housing Units!

End Mass Incarceration!

Transform the prisons to cadre schools!

Transform ourselves into New People!

Speaking of transforming ourselves, we released the Revolutionary 12 Step program this winter as promised. USW leaders should have that in their hands already. The Power to New Afrika pamphlet is almost done, and should be out shortly after this ULK. The new The Fundamental Political Line of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons however, is not on schedule and we do not know when we will be able to complete that. For now our introductory study program will continue using the old version. We are also very behind on responding to comrades in the intro study program. As always, we need more outside supporters to help with basic tasks like transcribing, editing, lay out, and promoting prisoner-led campaigns. We just don’t have enough comrades out here to keep up with everything comrades need in there. Thank you to our newest supporters who helped with this issue, we hope to have a long and revolutionary relationship!

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[Prison Labor] [National Liberation] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Exposing the Lone Star Chamber (of Enslavement!) Part II

Slavery By Another Name

Texas has been overtly operating a slave trade for decades. You may be surprised to know that people still wrestle with distinguishing the difference between being incarcerated and being enslaved. This is why after the countrywide prison demonstrations of 9 September 2016, Bennu Hannibal Ra Sun of the FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT said that he noticed a dragnet pattern after 15 to 20 interviews where they kept asking why we refer to incarceration as slavery. From that point on he required media to read the 13th Amendment before he would allow an interview.

Incarcerated, Imprisoned or Enslaved?

To be clear, incarceration is the act or process of confining someone; imprisonment. To imprison simply means to confine (a person) in prison. So far, we haven’t delved into treatment that would call for the loss of the right to vote, bear arms, live in certain communities, adopt a child or be forced to provide free labor.

Both incarceration and imprisonment utilize confinement as a form of punishment. Slavery, on the other hand, is 1) A situation in which one person has absolute power over life, fortune and liberty of another; and 2) The practice of keeping individuals in such a state of bondage or servitude.

Here, the word servitude comes into play and involuntary servitude is: The condition of one forced into labor – for pay or not – for another by coercion or imprisonment. This is where you see that the imprisonment is a means to the labor.

Under the first definition of slavery provided above was the usage of a word that most only know to refer to a human being. However, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, an entity (such as a corporation) that is recognized by law as having the rights and duties of a human being is the second definition of person.

We now know that slavery can be a scenario in which one corporation has absolute power over life, fortune and liberty of a human.

The word corporation would usually bring to mind Amazon or Walmart but those are small fish in a bigger pond. A corporation is sort of a person and a government is a sort of corporation. The city/county you are from was incorporated into your state which was incorporated into the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA through its Articles Of Incorporation. This is why the corporation, which is the U.S. of A. has an office for the president, vice president, secretaries and staff members etc., who are members of the EXECUTIVE branch of our governments which are corporations that have absolute power over life, fortune and liberty of others via their institutions of slavery.

Felons Are The New Niggers

As the author and educator Claud Anderson, Ed. D. stated on page 66 of his book Black Labor, White Wealth:

"Black enslavement must be a constant reminder of the ramifications of a lack of collective unity, strength and self-determination.

It is incumbent that you come to discern that those who are economically challenged are subjected to prosecutions at a far higher rate than the upper class, imperative for us to acknowledge that though those subjects are predominantly Black, as a class, they are multi-ethnic and as such, convicted felons of all backgrounds have become the new Blacks; ones relegated to niggerdom.

For example, in Texas in the year 2000, Latinos were nearly twice as likely as whites to be incarcerated,(1) but shocking is the fact that in 2002 Latinos were a larger portion of new prison arrivals than either Blacks or whites (33.9% Latinos, 32.8% Blacks, 32.2% whites)(2) yet sadly, a smaller portion of the releases. They were going in at a higher rate but coming out at a lower one.

These numbers for Latinos are alarming in light of how bad Blacks were treated during the period from 1986 to 2000 where spending only increased 47% for Texas Higher Education but a whopping 346% for Texas Corrections.(3) This maneuver caused Blacks to be sent to prison 7 times more than whites for drug offenses, making Blacks 81% of the whole state’s prison growth for drugs.(4)

Additionally, the number of Black youth imprisoned for drugs during roughly the same period rose by 360%, however, for young whites imprisonment for drug offenses declined by 9%.(5) With that knowledge it becomes apparent that the 360% increase in Black bodies was the Return On Investment for the 346% accretion in correctional spending.

The result was that in 2003, Black Texans were incarcerated 5 times as much as whites.(6) Texas had managed to have 66,300 Black males in prison and only 40,800 in the Texas Higher Education system.(7) This, regardless of the fact that in 2002 whites and Blacks, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, reported to be dependent on a substance at similar rates. (9.5% of Blacks and 9.3% of whites).

I say that this is a result because the increase in Black bodies to the plantations ensured a decrease in their eligibility to become any part of the legislature that makes laws or police officers, prosecutors, grand jurors, trial jurors, parole or probation officers, judges or justices.

On the flipside of that, and just as significant, is that if the Black man and the law collide, the institution has created a system to where as he interacts within the criminal justice machination there is a lesser likelihood that the police he may come into contact with is Black. Or the prosecutor who decides to charge him or the grand juror who decides to indict him or the judge who calls the shots in the courtroom or the trial jurors who convict him or the appellate justices or the parole/probation officers; the last three who are in the business of ”keeping individuals in a state of bondage or servitude”.

We went from being either a free (white) or enslaved (Black) man in the slave era to being either an upstanding citizen or a convicted felon, ethnicity be damned. The poor white and Latino populations, who are more likely to be convicted than their upper-to-middle-classes, are subjected to the same societal pitfalls and social stratification.

Niggerdom.

This is what Claud Anderson meant in his warning about not forgetting about the lack of unity and strength during Black enslavement, if we don’t bind together to stop this institution, the system will chain us together to feed it.

Monopoly Money (All Around The Board)

For all the prison stockyards that overpopulated Texas in the 1990’s there were mainly two styles: a maximum security template that holds three to four thousand prisoners and a medium security template that holds around two thousand. So, whereas these prisoners couldn’t vote, they became a part of the hosting county’s population, a sure gerrymandering and census incentive for when the federal government doles out X amount of dollars to districts based on population.

These prisoners are paid nothing though they produce many goods that are sold. They are paid nothing but they spend millions of their families’ dollars on commissary. There is only one place for prisoners to purchase hygiene, food, correspondence materials and a few articles of clothing, all of which are produced by prison labor, like shorts, shirts, thermals, socks and shower shoes and then sold back to them at exorbitant prices.

Prisoners who want to make a phone call are not afforded the luxury of choosing a carrier. They provide free labor and their family spends millions accepting overpriced phone calls contracted with a corporation called Securus.

These prisoners can also receive emails and funds from their families who Spend millions to send both through a company called Jpay who is owned behind the same corporate veil as Securus.

Imagine if Walmart could lock its customers in the store. To hell with a discount, they could price gouge and be certain that those suckers would fight each other to get on the phone to have their families send millions for them to buy every item in the store. They wouldn’t be able to keep anything on the shelves, no matter that most is of poor quality.

There simply isn’t a more loyal consumer base or promising commodity where the institution has created for itself a way to circumvent the free market to monopolize on the misery of the involuntary but free labor force.

We, the Texas Liberation Collective, are not lost on the fact that Texas has the expense of feeding and housing its prisoners because all slave owners have had to do the same. All livestock has to be alive to produce, be sold or traded. we are more focused on the fact that the prison population of Texas exists by design. As stated in Part One of this series, there was not a crime wave in the decade of the state’s prison boom to account for the expansion of the slave state itself.

What we endured was a bull market in the stock exchange and guess who orchestrated it? We could say that politicians and corporations were responsible but it would be saying the same thing as the two are mutually inclusive. State Senator Ted Cruz (R) works to advance the interests of the corporation he works for, it’s called Texas and its enslaved Latino population is of no concern to him.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has a subsidiary of sorts called Texas Correctional Industries (TCI) which the Lone Star State created in 1963 during the Civil Rights era. TCI is governed by the Texas Board Of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) and has nine members who are appointed by the governor, five of whom are currently lawyers.

Based on the legislative language that created the TCI, the board is endowed with the authority to determine prisoners’ pay for their labor, though to date they have opted for NO PAY and involuntary servitude:

“The board may develop by rule and the department may administer an incentive pay scale for work program participants…Prison industries may be financed through contributions donated for this purpose by private businesses contracting with the department. The department shall apportion pay earned by a work program participant in the same manner as is required by rules adopted by the board under section 497.0581.”

If you’ve been told that some prisoners do earn wages if they work for private companies through the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program(PIECP) please be aware that the conversation isn’t held without an exaggerated depiction. Truthfully, in 2017 though TDCJ had over 145,000 prisoners, according to Jason Clark, TDCJ’s Chief of Staff in 2019, there were only about 80 prisoners who were allowed to partake in the PIECP, a number that was well below a waning one percent of the Texas prison population.

The TCI sweatshops are dispersed throughout 37 prison plantations and its free labor force – or free labor by force, shall we say? – manufactures a plethora of goods from wooden state signs, license plates, police utility vests and bedding, steel kitchenware, up-to-date ergonomically designed office furniture, park equipment, security fixtures, food service equipment and they also refurbish school buses and computers, grow crops and tend to over ten thousand head of cattle.

In the spirit of Texas, TCI’s total sales for fiscal year 2014 were valued at $88.9 million, FY 2017 it was $84 million. Outside of the minute headcount of laborers in the PIECP, the state makes these hundreds of millions from the blood, sweat and tears of a forced-into-labor labor force who is subjected to some form of penal castigation should they refuse to relinquish their labor upon demand.

The punishment may be a combination of the following restrictions:

No access to the phones, no access to the recreation yard, commissary restriction, cell restriction, personal property restriction, loss of good time and/or work time credit, loss of visitation privileges, loss of custody level which can result in being removed from general population and placed in 21 or 23 hour lock down housing. Receiving any of this retribution could result in being denied educational programs and most significantly, parole.

Juneteenth and Dale Wainwright

How ironic, yet not surprising, that Texas is shamelessly known as the last state to free the slaves —— a disgraceful fact that spawned the celebration called Juneteenth, its own holiday - yet they still haven’t freed the slaves, thus deeming Juneteenth and its celebrators a farce.

Texas and its misled sympathizers have no justifiable reason in acknowledging Juneteenth today in the same spirit that the slave negroes of the Frederick Doug- lass era had no justifiable reason in acknowledging Independence Day.

Here, we dare raise other ironies but how ironic is it that just as millions of slaves parted Africa from a slave port called Goree Island, many of us enslaved here after inception and diagnostics were shipped to and through a slave port called Goree Unit? But even more.sickening and insane is that just as some Africans sold their own into slavery, the TBCJ at one point was chaired by (Wait! I refuse to call this man Black, but he is definitely…) an African-American!

That’s right, you eased on down the red bricked road to peek behind the corporate veil to see who whitey was that refused to pay the slaves and when you raised the curtain there stood Dale Wainwright celebrating Juneteenth with a fat slave- raised burger. He made Texas history by becoming the first African-American elected to the Texas Supreme Court, but he will go down in history for being the Supreme House Negro of the twenty-first century.

He was managing partner in the Austin office of Bracewell & Giuliani, the firm where former NYC mayor and Trump prop-man Rudy Giuliani is a partner.

Another former member, Eric Gambrell, contributed to the campaign of and was appointed by Governor Rick Perry. He’s a corporate lawyer and partner at Akin Gump, a large lobbying and law firm whose clientele has included big dogs like Amazon, Pfizer and even the slimy privatized prison giant formally-known as Corrections Corporation of America.

Whether you make them or break them, law is big business in the Texas organizational construct and some of the biggest capitalists.are…lawyers.

In Part One of Exposing The Lone Star Chamber (Of Enslavement) we detailed how district attorneys bypass and usurp the authority of Texas grand juries to rubber-stamp what is purported to be an indictment but fails to constitutionally vest a district trial court with subject-matter jurisdiction. Thus, the lives that filled the stockyards were kidnapped under the watchful eyes of congress and company.

Here, we have hopefully assisted in helping you know slavery when you see slavery in the same way that you would know that a pig with lipstick on is still a pig.

In Part Three of this series, we will examine some intricate details of the Texas slave trade and question how in the age of Black Lives Matter, the age of Prison Lives Matter, and with all the professed social and criminal justice warriors and reformists, the Lone Star Chamber continues to broker these bodies shamelessly and unchallenged.

Until now!


MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome comrade Ice Immortal Askari to the pages of Under Lock & Key. This well-researched piece touches on some recurring themes in our newsletter. The first is the interplay of class and nation in the U.$. prison context. As our comrade points out the disproportionate targetting of New Afrikans and Raza, as well as First Nations, by the injustice system, ey sees prisoners of all nationalities in the same boat. This is generally our line as well, we must unite the imprisoned lumpen class across boundaries. But we also must recognize the particularities of different nationalities in this country, and recognize the importances of national liberation struggles in the dismantling of U.$. imperialism.

The author defines slavery as:

“1) A situation in which one person has absolute power over life, fortune and liberty of another; and 2) The practice of keeping individuals in such a state of bondage or servitude.”

The author attempts to distinguish slavery from imprisonment. But we find this distinction not useful as the expressed purpose of imprisonment is to impose state control over the lives of individuals deemed to have committed a crime. The American Heritage Dictionary provides one definition of slavery as, “A mode of production in which slaves constitute the principal work force.” This is a simple summation of the Marxist definition. We’ve written extensively on this question of prison slavery in the past. And a new summary of our research on prison labor and economics will be available in the next edition of The Fundamental Political Line of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. In short, the motivation for imprisonment is not profiting off of prison labor as was the motivation for slavery in this country or any other country in the world.

The realm of prison labor is a realm where tactical action and organizing can occur. We agree that it is important to the running of these institutions and as such can be used as a means of exerting political pressure.

Telling people they must cook or clean to help maintain the facility they are living in is not an injustice. Having people do productive labor as part of the punishment for a crime against the people is not an injustice. The injustice is who is being put in prison, and for what reasons, and how they are being treated in there.

Amerikans oppose prison labor for the same reason they oppose migration, they don’t want to dilute their inflated wages. So we caution those in the prison movement who try to unite with the labor aristocracy on this issue, when they have consistently stood with the cops and the prison unions throughout history. As we unite along common class interests in prison, we must recognize that our support base on the streets is in the national liberation struggles of the oppressed.

Notes:
1. Coyle, Michael J. Latinos and_the Texas Criminal Justice System: NCLR Research Brief. (2003) Washington, D.C. : National Council of La Raza
2. Findings Of The National Council Of La Raza – (NCLR) 2003: Racial And Ethnic Minorities Over-represented in the Criminal Justice System
3. Cellblocks or Classrooms, The Justice Policy Institute (2002)
4. Findings Of The Justice Policy Institute – Analysis of the National Corrections Reporting Program on Race and Drug Admissions in Texas (2003)
5. Findings of the Steward Research Groups – Commissioned by the NAACP Texas State Conference and NAACP voter Fund
6. Findings of the Justice Policy Institute – Analysis of the National Corrections Reporting Program on Race and Drug Admissions in Texas.
7. ibid

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Gender] [Terrell Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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BP-3.91 Says No Girlfriend Pix, But Sexualization of Trans Prisoners OK

17 January 2022 – I am contacting you to update you on the BP-3.91 sexually explicit photos etc.

Here on the C.T. Terrell Unit (AKA Ramsey 3) several prisoners just recently received photos in the mail – bikini shots. However, several people have had theirs confiscated by correctional officers. Not many people got rid of theirs. This new law really sucked to say the least. Two lawsuits have been filed by offenders here on this level I. I have read it too.

Here’s the thing, TDCJ currently pays for hormone treatment injections for gender dysphoric offenders. We still shower 50 or more deep in the shower. Transgender prisoners are allowed their breasts, tight pants, etc. However, we are told we can’t receive photos of our own girlfriends wearing thongs. What kind of sense does this make?

Placing restrictions on prisoners’ mail, photos, newspapers, magazines, is a significant interference with prisoners’ rights. This is a blunt response to a problem that is much more nuanced than K2, cellphones, etc. Common sense should dictate that the TDCJ should focus on the bigger problem that they are creating introduction of contraband through the front door.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree that BP-3.91 is a blunt tool, and like mail policies across the country, it is being used arbitrarily and to censor political materials and much-needed social interaction with friends and family on the outside. Our line is that we are against porn being used as an opiate of the prison masses; tactics-wise we’re against TDCJ (and bourgeois prisons in general) exploiting the reformist demands of friends/families of prisoners to further censorship and control what gets into the hands of prisoners.

A point this prisoner brings up is the fact that transgender wimmin are allowed to wear tight clothes and even shower with the men in the men’s prisons, despite the reason for this new censorship rule being to take away sources of arousal. The same argument has been made regarding female staff and how they dress and by the comrade who posed some strategic guidance for next steps in this campaign. The point is, that the TDCJ’s stated goal is asinine and unachievable. As another comrade points out, there seem to be some assumptions about only female bodies being able to sexually arouse.

Maoists understand that eliminating rape in our society doesn’t start with the individual: the material conditions that give rise to rape in the first place must first be gotten rid of and then the chance for a mass campaign against anti-people sex crimes will be possible. While individuals will certainly reform under patriarchy, the problem will continue until patriarchy is overthrown.

The TDCJ and the state of Texas claims that this law is promoted to give an environment for sex offenders to rehabilitate, yet they fully know that the rape culture of Amerikan prisons won’t disappear. We see that in this case the role of the TDCJ and the state of Texas is to govern the said material conditions for rape with security for the bourgeois dictatorship as priority; and that there will be no rehabilitation of anti-people sex offenders but more risk and danger for the already vulnerable group of transgender prisoners and LGBTQ+ prisoner in general. For this contradiction among the masses, we tell our prisoner comrades to build unity and solidarity with LGBTQ+ prisoners and promote independent power against the bourgeois state’s arbitrary use of reformist demands from the outside as a tool of censorship.

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[Hunger Strike] [Campaigns] [Granville Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 77]
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North Carolina United Front for Peace Juneteenth Action Support

SIB Short Staff

There’s been a shortage of staff on super-max. One reason being too many prisoners are in S.I.B. (self injury behavior) watch and must be monitored. Once observation and receiving cells are filled to capacity then guards must (individually) sit outside the housing cells of any other prisoner on S.I.B.

Phone Zap

From experience in what may have been S. White’s 1st successful protest in 2019 Oct, outside support via phone zap was effective. All morning this tied up the prison’s phone line until the prison took the phone off the hook. The outside supporters then phone zapped Raleigh. So Raleigh called the prison asking why the phones were off the hook.

There was 9 to 16 comrades in the prison on hunger strike and multiple people on S.I.B. By lunch 5 comrades were called by Captain Henderson to receiving and asked what they wanted. All of us already had grievances being processed about other things. S. White also sent copies of an anonymous missive to the administration with the policies that were being breached.

Juneteenth

For the memorial celebration of the Juneteenth we are participating in the traditional fast (meal refusal) for breakfast and lunch; and 10-20 S.I.B.s.

At North Carolina’s HCAU we want phone calls (iPad), TV news (iPad), spider-free outside recreation cages built large enough for more than one person, more food, real hygiene, heater fixed for winter, sally-port swept and mopped at least once a month, lights off in the day time, and case workers and fee recommendations for release from HCON on or after the second 6 month term (infraction free). Feel free to add to the list (every grievance will differ reflecting the demands of each comrade).

We’ll like to have outside support phone zap at this institution. Write MIM to stay updated. We do not expect any assistance from any boot-licking reactionaries satisfied with the man and any conditions of solitary confinement. Shall your days be numbered.

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[Ukraine] [Anti-Imperialism] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 77]
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Imperialist War-Mongering Not in Our Interests

As revolutionary class-conscious partisans within the epicenter of global capitalist-imperialism, our daily struggles consist of a multitude of factors, such as a societal inundation of bourgeois ideology that is close to total. This means that every time your television is turned on or your radio is playing the chances of some reactionary foolishness reaching your senses is greater than the likelihood of a white male becoming the next amerikan president.

Before most people turn-in for the night they tune in for another dose of the corporate state’s media misinformation (most begin their day like this as well!). The talking points are simple and easy to follow and the repetition of the message increases the likelihood of remembrance. Under these conditions what becomes of the formation of independent thought development?

Marx taught us to subject everything in existence to relentless criticism, our sources of information gathering down to the way we choose to utilize technology controlled by multi-national (corporations) we must assess and re-assess our own patterns and those of others among us to conform to the material conditions of our struggle as to devise methods which will allow us to intensify our efforts hence moving closer and closer to ultimately overthrowing this reactionary order.

As Maoists, we cannot differentiate between the working-class masses of Russia and Ukraine. Not only do they share a common culture and historical background, but the fact that we as laboring masses have no country proves true in the current context. The so-called “socialist” international chose nationalism over socialism, reform over revolution, and we walk that same path by choosing sides in a conflict where the people are regarded as bystanders. In the world of Clausewitz this may make sense, but as Marxist-Leninist-Maoists (or Maoists) we understand that the people make their own history.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We saw anti-Russian propaganda ramp up quickly in the last couple months. As the mainstream media continues to villianize Russian imperialism for the same atrocities the Amerikans have committed much more regularly, we aim to serve the majority of the world who has no allegiance to imperialism. Unfortunately, most in this country recognize that they benefit from the imperialist exploitation and ally with the militarist rhetoric.

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[Censorship] [Legal] [Michael Unit] [Coffield Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Suggestions for Challenging BP-03.91 and Beyond

Dear Comrades, I have read updates, in the ULK winter 2021, No. 75, and feel the need to clarify things. The nomenclature used in BP-03.91, and the definitions provided within it, are being bent and ambiguously used by both prisoner and TDCJ staff alike. The policy itself is so ambiguous, one would have to guess at how to uniformally enforce it.

The only difference made in the new policy is how ‘sexually explicit’ is defined. I am enclosing a verbatim copy of BP 03.91 as it is currently worded on this date. I witnessed an arbitrary enforcement of this policy on the Michael Unit and have even heard improper incorrect references, by mail staff on the Coffield Unit of what was ‘sexually explicit’. This shows me that even TDCJ staff are ill-informed about what the policy is and its purpose. I had written the Texas Board of Criminal Justice a few months back and they referred my letter to the, now in-house, Ombudsman office. I would encourage all ‘brothers in white’ to familiarize themselves with the policy by reading it themselves in the unit Law Library. (as well as reading ALL of the policies that are currently in place. Simply request the ‘Index of current TDJC policies’).

The injunctions that I have knowledge of, filed against the BP-03.91, argued on the ambiguous nature and verbage of the policy. Images that cause ‘sexual arousal’ are inherently broad. (Hell, I had caught a girlfriend of mine, masturbating to Metalacolypse!)

While arguing the ambiguity of the policy is one undeniable argument, I suggested to a team of litigants to also attack the apparent objective of the policy. To curb anything that ‘sexually arouses’, well, anyone! Banning officers from ‘outrageous’ or ‘extreme’ hairdos, make-up, jewelry, etc. tight pants, or even suggesting that female officers not work in male prisons (no male officers in the female prisons) but even then you would not be able to curb even same sex arousal. It is in applying this argument that we see just how illogical it is to curb ‘sexual arousal’. Exacerbating the ridiculousness of the argument will force them to define and refine the definition of the policy and there is no way that you would be able to legally define ‘cleavage’ as censorable under the First Amendment.

While these are my own thoughts and opinions, I do hope to help as many comrades in their legal efforts. This isn’t something that a phone call will fix but we can change things with well-thought-out litigation. It takes time, but most of us have nothing but time. Intellectuals fight with their words. Learn to use them and wield them with effective effort.

At the current moment i am not involved in any active litigation as my time and energy is currently invested in criminal matters, however, I try to keep up with what is going on to know our environment. I want to thank ALL of you who keep us connected through organization, correspondence, etc. Without you we would most likely be more lost to the cause than anyone could imagine. The support you provide is priceless.

Nothing worth fighting for is ever easily won. Policies are a fraction of the fight. Laws are another. But the biggest fight we face is ignorance. Our own and of the population. This is readily apparent in the policies and laws we find ourselves fighting against. It is a reason for the mission of MIM.

Always onward with more audacity!

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[Political Repression] [Security] [Connecticut] [ULK Issue 77]
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On False Allegations and Spreading the Word

Revolutionary Salutes!

Things here in Connecticut remain same as last communique: regressive and stifling! Oh! I do have intel which you comrades may find interesting?!

In January I went to R.H.U. and initiated a hungerstrike. My objective(s) were:

  1. to get my rehab appointments from month’s ago rescheduled;

  2. to see the quack masquerading as a doctor!

After thirteen days, my tactic was successful! Now, the issue came when a unit manager calls R.H.U. (at behest of my associates in unit) to check on my health.

The R.H.U. Lieutenant “bad jackets” me & says, “[name of author] has nothing coming as he is a child molester”. This blatant lie was manufactured in response to my chastisement of this R.H.U. Lieutenant for his managing conduct (lol)! In his quest to “get me” he locates a child molester with my 1st & last name (sans middle name obviously) and goes on to spread the falsehood to his subordinates, who in turn spread it to captives in various pseudo-leadership roles within their lumpen entities. Now, as I am from another state, the killers believed that their smear campaign would work, ie. I am unknown here! However, as a New Afrikan! one’s day-to-day stride coupled with fact, that I’ve striven to build quality captives since my arrival! negated the pigs’ ploy. “Real recognizes real.” But, as many of Connecticut’s captives are ideologically backwards and overtly pig acolytes, I may have to spit fire at some point! Enough said.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We want to commend the people, the L.O. leaders, in this Connecticut prison for not being taken in by the pigs’ lies and judging people by facts and action. This is the second principle of the United Front for Peace in PrisonsUnity – in action!

We must not let state paperwork determine who we trust and who we do not. What this comrade faced is an old trick. And we commend this comrade for eir righteous behavior in a new environment. It goes to show how righteous, revolutionary action helps build peace in prisons, even when it seems like the environment is in a backwards state of affairs.

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[Police Brutality] [Black Lives Matter] [ULK Issue 77]
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Why Police can NOT Be Reformed

This month we seen police in Minneapolis break into Amir Locke’s home and murder him. This came after the public was placated by the conviction of former pig Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd.

Most of the protest we seen for ‘defund the police’ ended after the George Floyd incident. It is uncertain if the reason for that is that the public think they won a victory just because the injustice system sacrificed one of their own in convicting Derek Chauvin or if the arrest of John Johnson, the leader of NFAC, played its part in the end of protests.

What is certain is that police can not be reformed because police are the problem in america. More likely than not the evil injustice system will release Derek Chauvin on appeal when everyone has forgot and the spotlight is off. We seen Kim Potter get sentenced for 2 years this week because some of the public pressure is off against the police. While the Kim Potter incident seemed accidental and she showed some remorse for her murder two things were never mentioned.

1st that police murder would have never happened if the pigs were not stopping someone and harassing him in the first place, therefore the police were the problem that led to Kim Potter killing an innocent man.

2nd if anyone of us did this accidental shooting and showed real remorse we would get life in prison and denied any chance of justice in appeals court no matter how competent a defense we receive in trial from our public defender (pretender).

Now the protest in the streets are silent and the evil police are back to their same old tricks. Falsifying crime statistics to scare the public into giving them more money. Money that should be going to schools, and infrastructure, housing, community building rather than to evil pigs that only scare people with false crime needs and incarcerate our fathers, our kids. Police are a plague on society and the ONLY way to fix what is wrong in this country is to defund the police and close our prisons. Such a radical reversal is hard to comprehend, it takes actual work and sacrifice.

We all know disgusting people that we do not want around. It is easy to use police to get rid of disgusting people, thus creating the monster of incarceration that we have now. To build community and healing takes work and sacrifice. To really create lasting change requires independent institutions of, by, and for the proletariat. We must unite together against disgusting people who have lost their way and show them a better way. At all cost the police can not be used as a remedy. The trail blazers of community building most likely will have to operate at a deficit initially until results can be proven, but rest assured any result is better than the ineffectual prisons we have now.

We need to form real community based volunteer groups to patrol our streets and intervene with ill behavior. Punishment is never the answer. We can appropriate public spaces as necessary because public property does NOT belong to the government, it rightfully belongs to the People. To truly fix America we have to defund the police at all cost. Stop being afraid of crime. Solutions to problems will arise naturally. One thing is clear, the government we have now is not for the people, By the people, or of the people. Police have become an elite ruling class they do whatever, whenever they want. That is why reform will never work.

In Solidarity

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrades conclusion that reform will not work. And echo the need for a strategy of building proletarian-led institutions of the oppressed instead. The “defund” rhetoric seems very closely aligned to this mission, yet in practice seems to have led to more discussions about budgets, i.e. reformism. And of course, President Biden, has just taken it to call for more funding for police.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Anti-Imperialism] [Palestine] [National Liberation] [ULK Issue 77]
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Solidarity & Historical Parallels Between Chicano Nation and Palestine

The Republic of Aztlan extends our arms in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Why should the liberation of Palestinian people be so important to us Chicanos? It is because we share the legacy of colonialism; a struggle for national liberation; a common destiny when it came to empire-building of white nations; we share the common experience of forced expulsion from our homelands; and we share the same oppressor – world imperialism.

We will examine the five reasons that the Chicano nation should find solidarity with our oppressed nation brothers and sisters in Palestine:

We share a common thread of 100+ years of colonization;

We share a common thread of a struggle for national liberation;

The commonality in our histories is that both Palestinians and Chicanos share a common destiny and historical role when it comes to world imperialism. In the U.$. the doctrine of manifest destiny justified land theft and genocide as a divine right of a specific nation’s people. In the U.$. those people were the Euro-Amerikan settlers. In Palestine, the Arabs face land theft and genocide which is based on a belief that I$raelis have the religious right to said land and therefore exterminating Palestinians and taking their land is an unfortunate necessity in creating a supposed Jewish state.

With this idealist religious justification, forced expulsion has been unleashed on the Palestinian people. We recall that in the 1950s, Operation Wetback expelled 1-2 or more million Mexican people whether they were born in the U.$. or Mexico didn’t matter.

Our oppressors are the same - world imperialism. At this point, the primary contradiction in the world is with imperialism and the oppressed nations. This is how Chicano liberation is inextricably linked to Palestinian liberation.

The I$raeli-Palestinian conflict is not the product of ancient ethnic nor religious hatred, nor is it about modern religious hatred either. It is the tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same land – one claim being idealist and the other being historical materialist. It is the outcome of a 100-year-old colonial occupation by Zionists and later I$rael, backed by the British, the United States, and other major imperial powers. This project is about the national bourgeoisie of a persecuted religious minority in Europe speaking for all Jews in every corner of the world (from Russia, Iraq, Ethiopia, Spain, the United $tates, etc.) into building a powerful homeland granting them protection which will be gained through eradication of an indigenous population. It is about the rendering of the Palestinians as non-people, writing them out of the historical narrative as if they never existed and denying them basic human rights. It depends on the metaphysical idea that all Jewish groups from all around the world all with different history, language, culture, territory, and psychological make up all belong to one nation because of religion. It feeds off of the anti-semitic idea that Jews are outsiders in the various respective countries they reside. Yet to state these incontrovertible facts of European colonization — supported by innumerable official reports and public and private communiques and statements, along with historical records and events — sees I$rael’s defenders level charges of anti-Semitism and racism. We ask the question: what is more anti-semitic? The claim that says zionism requires an ethnic cleansing and assimilation of various historically Jewish communities around the planet into the model European Jewish groups? Or the claim that says Jews don’t belong in our country and they should live in their own place where no one has to deal with them?

Edward Said, a Palestinian intellectual of the famous book “Orientalism” who grew up in British occupied Palestine summarized: “This is a unique colonialism that we’ve been subjected to where they have no use for us. The best Palestinian for them is either dead or gone. It’s not that they want to exploit us.”

Zionism was birthed from the evils of anti-Semitism. It was a reaction to the discrimination and violence inflicted on Jews, especially during the savage pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th century that left thousands dead. The Zionist leader Theodor Herzl in 1896 published “Der Judenstaat,” or “The Jewish State,” in which he warned that Jews were not safe in Europe, a warning that within a few decades proved terrifyingly prescient with the rise of German fascism.

Britain’s support of a Jewish homeland was always colored by anti-Semitism. The 1917 decision by the British Cabinet, as stated in the Balfour Declaration, to support “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” was a principal part of a misguided endeavor based on anti-Semitic tropes. The British elites, including Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, also believed that Jews could never be assimilated in British society and it was better for them to emigrate. It is telling that the only Jewish member of Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s government, Edwin Montagu, vehemently opposed the Balfour Declaration. He argued that it would encourage states to expel its Jews. “Palestine will become the world’s ghetto,” Balfour warned.

This partially turned out to be the case after World War II when hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, many rendered stateless, had nowhere to go but Palestine. Often, their communities had been destroyed during the war or their homes and land had been confiscated through fascist brutality. Those Jews who returned to countries like Poland found they had nowhere to live and were often victims of discrimination as well as postwar anti-Semitic attacks and even massacres.

These first Jewish settlers knew they needed an imperial patron to succeed and survive just like the early Euro-Amerikan settlers needed sponsors from their old countries. Their first patron was Britain, which sent 100,000 troops to crush the Palestinian revolt of the 1930s and armed and trained Jewish militias known as the Haganah. The savage repression of that revolt included wholesale executions and aerial bombardment and left 10% of the adult male Arab population killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. After the British left after the contradiction between the settlers and the British became antagonstic, the Zionists’ second patron became the United States, which now, generations later, provides more than $3 billion a year to I$rael. I$rael, despite the myth of self-reliance it peddles about itself, would not be able to maintain its Palestinian colonies without its imperial benefactors. This is why the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement historically frightened I$rael. It is also why Chicanos should support the economic boycott of I$rael as well.

The early Zionists bought up huge tracts of fertile Palestinian land and drove out the indigenous inhabitants. They subsidized European Jewish settlers sent to Palestine, where 94% of the inhabitants were Arabs but once colonialism began to look bad in the post-World War II era of decolonization, the colonial origins and practice of Zionism and I$rael were whitewashed and conveniently forgotten in I$rael and the West. In fact, Zionism — for two decades the coddled step-child of British colonialism — re-branded itself as an anti-colonial movement.”

“Today, the conflict that was engendered by this classic nineteenth-century European colonial venture in a non-European land, supported from 1917 onward by the greatest Western imperial power of its age, is rarely described in such unvarnished terms,” Khalidi writes. “Indeed, those who analyze not only I$raeli settlement efforts in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights but the entire Zionist enterprise from the perspective of its colonial-settler origins and nature are often vilified. Many cannot accept the contradiction inherent in the idea that although Zionism undoubtedly succeeded in creating a thriving national entity in I$rael, its roots are as a colonial settler project (as are those of other modern countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Nor can they accept that it would not have succeeded but for the support of the great imperial powers, Britain and later the United States. Zionism, therefore, could be and was both a national and a colonial settler movement at one and the same time.”

Much like the United $tates, I$rael too was started by the outcasts of the old world who were more useful in the new world (North America and Palestine respectively) than the old (Europe). Through venturing through North America old colonialism was able to gain a major section of primitive accumulation (land conquest and enslavement of our First Nation and New Afrikan brothers), and transform itself into modern imperialism; and through the outpost that is I$rael, modern imperialism was able to export its finance capital safe and sound into middle east proper.

One of the central tenets of the Zionist and I$raeli colonization is the denial of an authentic, independent Palestinian identity. During the British control of Palestine, the population was officially divided between Jews and “non-Jews.” One time I$raeli Prime Minister Gold Meir said:

“There was no such thing as Palestinians … they did not exist.”

This erasure, which requires an egregious act of historical amnesia, is what the I$raeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling called the “politicide” of the Palestinian people. Khalidi writes, “The surest way to eradicate a people’s right to their land is to deny their historical connection to it.” Chicanos have been subjected to the same name erasure by the U.$. government’s push to call us Hispanics, Latinos, or Mexicans and erase our Chicano name which is fundamentally based on national identity.

The creation of the state of I$rael on May 15, 1948, was achieved by the Haganah and other Jewish groups through the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and massacres that spread terror among the Palestinian population. The Haganah, trained and armed by the British, swiftly seized most of Palestine. It emptied West Jerusalem and cities such as Haifa and Jaffa, along with numerous towns and villages, of their Arab inhabitants. Palestinians call this moment in their history the Nakba or the Catastrophe.

Since 1948, Palestinians have heroically mounted one resistance effort after another, all unleashing disproportionate I$raeli reprisals and demonization of the Palestinians as terrorists. But this resistance has also forced the world to recognize the presence of Palestinians, despite the feverish efforts of I$rael, the United States, and many Arab regimes to remove them from historical consciousness. The repeated revolts, as Said noted, gave the Palestinians the right to tell their own story, the “permission to narrate.”

I$rael is an apartheid state that rivals and often surpasses the onetime savagery and racism of apartheid South Africa. Modern I$raeli society is infested with metaphysical racial chauvinism with “Death to Arabs” being a common popular chant at I$raeli soccer matches. I$raeli mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, carry out indiscriminate acts of vandalism and violence against dissidents, Palestinians, I$raeli Arabs. The government of I$rael has promulgated a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that eerily resemble the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany. The I$raeli educational system, starting in primary school, is an indoctrination machine for the military. The I$raeli army periodically unleashes massive assaults with its air force, artillery and mechanized units on the largely defenseless 1.85 million Palestinians in Gaza, resulting in thousands of Palestinian dead or wounded.

The Zionists could never have colonized the Palestinians without the backing of Western imperial powers whose motives were driven by anti-Semitism. Many of the Jews who fled to I$rael would not have done so but for the virulent European anti-Semitism, that by the end of World War II saw 6 million Jews murdered. I$rael was all that many impoverished and stateless survivors, robbed of their national rights, communities, homes, and often most of their relatives, had left. It became the tragic fate of the Palestinians, who had no influence in the European pogroms or the Holocaust, to be sacrificed on the altar of hate.

Don’t forget that the Obama administration resupplied I$rael in the middle of their slaughter of innocents in Gaza in 2014. Obama, Biden, Trump the democrats and racist corporate media are all complicit with the war crimes against humanity that I$rael is committing. On top of this, the various police forces of Amerikkka utilizes exchange programs with the state of I$rael to trade intelligence and train in I$raeli tactics of suppressing Palestinian resistance in the urban areas. Those same tactics will be implemented on the ghettos, barrios, and reservations to discipline entire communities of oppressed nations. Back in the George Floyd uprisings, the streets were littered with gas canisters which claimed “Made in I$rael.” It got to a point Palestinian activists were sharing counter-police tactics online for us in how to deal with those tear gas and police tactics.

As revolutionary nationalists, we highlight the necessity for solidarities for not only our nations but for all oppressed nations to gain their self-determination. We also call to combat anti-semitism and metaphysical views of what nations are which give to movements like Zionism in the first place. For these reasons, the Republic of Aztlan and the Chicano Nation finds solidarity with Palestine. From the river to the sea, Aztlan and Palestine will be free!

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[Grievance Process] [Campaigns] [Civil Liberties] [Censorship] [McConnell Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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TDCJ Upholds Censorship of their own Grievance Manual

For many years, MIM Distributors has been providing legal resources to prisoners in Texas, including the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ)’s own Grievance Operations Manual. In 2010, USW launched the grievance campaign in Texas, developing petitions to notify regulatory bodies when the TDCJ was violating its own grievance process. Four years later a comrade reported that on 30 September 2014 the TDCJ removed the Grievance Operations Manual, which lays out the TDCJ’s relevant code and policies, from all prison libraries(1) where it used to be available for prisoners to reference. Soon after, MIM Distributors began offering this document to comrades who were trying to fight grievances they had against the TDCJ.

In May 2019, we received a report from a comrade that the copy of the Grievance Operations Manual we sent em had been confiscated by a Correctional Officer(C.O.) in the law library!(2)

Turns out, they have continued to step things up a notch to keep this public information out of the hands of prisoners. On 12 January 2022, MIM Distributors was notified by the staff that the TDCJ Grievance Operation Manual was censored at McConnell Unit on 10 December 2021 for the following reason:

“in contradiction with BP-03.91, Uniform Offender Correspondence Rules”

That was all the detail given. And we have not determined any portion of BP-03.91 that could possibly be applied to TDCJ’s own public policies. These types of cases should be easy wins for us. Unfortunately, we do not have the support we used to have to deal with prison administrators and hold them accountable. Outside supporters, get in touch to help us rebuild our capacity to fight these blatant injustices. Comrades inside that are falling victim to this repression, keep filing paperwork and provide us with all the info you can on what is going on.

notes: 1. A Texas Prisoner, November 2014, Texas Hides Grievance Manual from Prisoners, Under Lock & Key 42.
2. A Texas Prisoner, May 2019, Texas Confiscating Offender’s Grievance Operations Manual.

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[Ukraine] [Russia] [U.S. Imperialism] [Fascism] [ULK Issue 77]
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Ukraine: Imperialism in Crisis

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, MIM(Prisons) has not published any analysis of the war, nor have we participated in any organizing around the war. Our position is that our movement should be looking to counter and prevent Amerikan war-mongering against Russia, or any other country.

Unfortunately, most opposition to the Russian invasion in the United $tates is being led by the State Department and is fanning Amerikan support for war with Russia and promoting the overthrow of Russian President Vladimir Putin. As we go to press, things have continued to heat up and the threat of inter-imperialist war seems greater than it’s been in decades.

Imperialists are stealing from other imperialists. The U.$. Treasury Department has already seized $1 billion worth of boats and planes and hundreds of millions of dollars in bank accounts. The House of Representatives passed a bill to liquidate these assets and use them to rebuild Ukraine. In addition, the U.$. imperialist bloc has frozen $600 billion of Russia’s central bank foreign reserve fund, which they are also considering using to rebuild Ukraine.(1) They are taking the stolen wealth of other imperialists and using it to rebuild Ukraine to serve U.$. imperialism instead of Russia. This greatly adds to the original military threat Russia had felt from NATO encircling them, making the escalation to all-out inter-imperialist war more likely.

The U.$/IMF/World Bank will of course sink their teeth deeper into Ukraine through loans, which have already begun during the war period. As they do to oppressed nations around the world, these loans become means by which they control their policies and structure their economies as neo-colonies. Perhaps they will even use assets stolen from Russia to loan to Ukraine.

As this issue of Under Lock & Key reaches ours subscribers, we will be approaching the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany (May 8-9). In the Russian-allied Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples’ Republics they are restoring statues of V.I. Lenin and hanging red flags as they prepare to celebrate, while the Azov neo-Nazis threatened to attack victory parades.(2) The memories of World War II run deep. While there is no socialist camp engaged in the current war, we can see how the crisis is pushing people to look for answers. In addition to being morally abhorrent, the fascists cannot address the contradictions of capitalism that are playing out today. It is only a new economy that is driven by universal humyn need and not profit that can solve the problems of war, environmental destruction and economic booms and busts that capitalism brings.

What sort of sanctions is Russia under? What will the effect be?

Russia was banned from SWIFT, a component of the global payments processing system. Many other sanctions have been placed on the Russian economy, including obstacles to outside investment and bans on the sale of anything that could conceivably have a military use (which is a lot of stuff). Oil and gas, as of this writing, are still being bought from Russia by most European countries, but this might change soon even though Europe has no other reliable supply of natural gas to rely on currently. Germany, for example, ships weapons to Ukraine that are used against Russian troops and pays Russia for its natural gas at the same time.

The effects of the sanctions aren’t clear yet. If Russia loses access to the European market for its oil and gas its export earnings will collapse. China cannot replace the lost demand, and sanctions will play havoc on Russian industry’s supply chains.

What will the effects of the war be on the Ukrainian economy?

One of the major battles, around the town of Mariupol in the southeast, is unfolding in Azovstal, an enormous Soviet-era steel mill. The complex has mostly been destroyed. This serves as a symbol of what the rest of Ukraine will look like once all this is over. Following the war there are likely to be fewer and worse jobs, a large refugee population abroad, environmental devastation and a radical polarization of Ukrainian society. There is talk of forgiving some of Ukraine’s foreign debt, and maybe there will be aid for reconstruction, but the rest of the world’s charity is not likely to make up for what’s being lost now, and its also likely to come with strings attached.

Are there Nazis in Ukraine?

Yes. The Azov battalion, which is based in southeast Ukraine and has been fighting Russian separatists in the Donbass region since 2014, is a far-right military formation with white supremacist leadership and ideals. They’re responsible for numerous attacks on Roma encampments, LGBT people and leftists in Ukraine since their founding, as well as attacks on civilians and war crimes during the battles against separatists in the east. Many of their leaders, including founder Andriy Biletsky, used to openly promote race war against “untermenschen”[define?] and Jewish people, but have dialed back such talk in public in recent years.

Their logo features the Wolfsangel and the Sonnenrad, both indisputable Nazi SS symbols, and the constant appearance of these logos in sympathetic coverage of the Ukrainian military has been a PR headache for the government. The Azov battalion is just one part of a larger fascist Azov movement coming from the Western part of Ukraine. U.$. news media has helpfully downplayed the significance of an openly fascist, highly armed and well-organized formation at the heart of Ukrainian politics by claiming that the symbols and years of fascist rhetoric and actions either don’t mean anything or are in the organization’s past. The limited presence of explicit far-right figures in the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, belies their ability to organize outside parliament and the impunity with which they do so.

The popularity of Stepan Bandera is another aspect of fascism in Ukraine. Bandera was the head of the Organization of Ukranian Nationalists, and worked with the Nazis during their occupation of Ukraine, including participating in the Holocaust and in ethnic cleansing in southeastern Poland. He is admired by the far right and those influenced by them, but not by the rest of the country – the Rada refused to award him the title of Hero of Ukraine when this was proposed in 2019. So it’s wrong to say that Ukraine is a Neo-Nazi dictatorship, just as it’s wrong to say that fascists have no influence and are not a serious issue in Ukranian society. Of course, Putin has his own fascists and couldn’t care less about Nazi rhetoric among his own forces, so he can’t use that as a pretext for an invasion.

Are war crimes being committed in Ukraine?

The biggest war crime is starting one, so Russia is undoubtedly guilty on that score. In addition, indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Ukraine by Russia has led to probably thousands of casualties so far, though confirmed counts are much lower. During early April, when Russian forces retreated from the area surrounding Kiev, Ukranian forces reoccupying the town of Bucha found hundreds of bodies of civilians on the streets. The brutality of the invading forces is clear.

The Ukranian side has also engaged in war crimes, like the kneecapping of prisoners of war. That happened on video, so who knows what’s going on when phones aren’t pulled out. War is hell.

Are there diplomatic efforts to stop the war underway?

Ukraine and Russia started talking almost immediately, and the demands have shifted with the battle. When it looked like Russia was about to capture Kiev immediately in the early days of the war, Russia’s demands were significant. But now that Russia has withdrawn from the area around Kiev and suffered significant casualties, things are different. The discoveries in Bucha as well as the radicalizing effect of war in general, might make negotiations break down completely in the future.

The key issues in the talks are Ukraine’s diplomatic relationship with the EU and NATO, and territory in Ukraine. Russia wants Ukraine to stay out of NATO, and wants its territorial acquisitions, including Donetsk and Luhansk in the east and the Crimean peninsula in the south, to be confirmed.

Does Putin support the Soviet Union and its recreation?

The Soviet Union was formed on a voluntary basis by independent nations. Most of those who joined the Soviet Union had been part of the Russian Empire in the past. As an imperialist, Putin may be aspiring to something closer to the Russian Empire. However, stated motivations for the invasion of Ukraine are immediate concerns about defending Russia from NATO.

In a recent speech Putin denounced Lenin and the Bolsheviks for the creation of Ukraine, because Lenin recognized the right of all nations to secede. In ULK 36 we wrote about the emblematic image of the toppling of the statue of Lenin in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in 2013. This was done by supporters of the right-wing populist party of Svodoba.

Both sides of the current war in Ukraine are openly and virulently opposed to Bolshevism and the ideas of Lenin and Stalin.

Should we support sanctions as a way to peacefully pressure Russia to stop the war?

The sanctions being implemented by the U.$.-led imperialist bloc are not peaceful as they come along with large military support being sent into Ukraine to prolong the war and the fighting.

Sanctions are economic warfare. They can be a softer way to pressure other powers than military conflict, but given time they can also have more damaging effects.

In a few days the U.$. imperialists achieved more than the movement to boycott, sanction and divest from I$rael has achieved in years. The illegal occupation of Palestine and daily oppression of the Palestinian people does not get the support of many of the multinational corporations and organizations that jumped to ban Russia or pull their operations from Russia.

As the sanctioning of Russia happened more quickly and successfully, it is that much more dangerous. The increase in economic boundaries between imperialist camps marks the shift from a stage of relative peace between imperialist powers to one of more violent competition. Tariffs, sanctions, market control, dividing up of the world’s colonies, resources and markets, were what led up to the first and second inter-imperialist wars.

Supporting sanctions on Russia right now is further isolating an imperialist power and increasing the chances of military escalation between the imperialists, which increases the chance of nuclear war. None of this is in the interests of humynity as a whole.

Is siding with the Amerikans and against the Russians the profitable option for the capitalists?

For the last century the United $tates has led the most prosperous path for international finance capital. As a result many of the big names are loyal to the Amerikans. But there are also many exceptions, companies who are not volunteering to stop business in Russia. And others who are looking to capitalize on others leaving. One financial company made a bold statement saying that if they were to ban a country from their services for invading a sovereign people, they’d start with banning the Amerikans.(3)

Different capitalists are going to have different interests, and their interests are going to conflict with those of their competitors. While the big finance capitalists benefit from and support stability, other capitalist interests will fund and fuel escalating conflict between the imperialist camps. Meanwhile, weapons manufacturers always benefit from militarism and are very powerful and influential in imperialist circles of power. The mutual interests that created the military-industrial complex has posed a great threat to the world since WWII.

What is a multipolar world, and is it a good thing?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United $tates of Amerika has been the sole dominant superpower in the world. Before then, countries who opposed U.$. interests could find support from the other imperialist pole of the Soviet Union.

Since WWII, Europe has been subsumed by Amerikan imperialism. If you look at a map of those imposing sanctions on Russia today it is occupied Turtle Island (the United $tates and Klanada), Western Europe, Australia and Japan. This has been the alliance of imperialist powers that has dominated the world, operating under U.$. military and economic leadership, for 70 years.

China left the socialist path in 1976, and has continued to rise as an economic superpower since then. When the Soviet Union took the capitalist path it led to collapse 35 years later as the bourgeoisie was divided, carving out their own fiefdoms from which to extract wealth. China’s new bourgeoisie however has remained united in a plan to exploit its own proletariat, and is now seen as the biggest threat to U.$. dominance almost 50 years after taking the capitalist road. Of course, the people of China and the former Soviet Union were the losers in both cases.

China and Russia remain politically separate from the U.$.-dominated imperialist pole, despite China’s deep integration with the U.$. economy. Their socialist past is one reason for this separation. Together Russia and China control most of the Eurasian land mass, and as neighbors have shared interests in promoting trade in the region. The media has been buzzing about the new Russia/China pole as the geopolitics of the invasion of Ukraine play out. Some dissident media outlets cheer this prospect as a counterbalance to U.$./European imperialism, or what is often referred to as “Western” imperialism.

We look at the invasion of Ukraine with the outlook of “it’s terrible, but it’s fine.” An invasion by an imperialist country is always terrible, with Ukrainians and Russian soldiers dying and 100,000s of Ukrainians being displaced. Communists should never aid an imperialist invasion.

Ultimately, it is imperialist conflict that creates space for the proletariat to organize, and to play the imperialists against each other in order to win victories for the people. In that sense, the increase in disorder in the world “is fine.” It is the inevitable result of the contradictions within the capitalist system. These conflicts will come sooner or later, we cannot prevent them in the short term, but we can seize the opportunities they create to put an end to this system to prevent chaos in the long-term.

Prior to WWI, Britain was the leading imperialist power, and maintained its dominance in part by keeping continental Europe divided. Today the Amerikans play the leading role, but are working with the British to prevent closer relations between Germany and Russia. This has been their strategy since the 1930s when the imperialists feared Germany would join the socialist camp.

In recent years, the United $tates has been threatening sanctions to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would pipe natural gas directly from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. Germany is already Russia’s biggest gas customer, and Nord Stream 2 would strengthen that relationship. The Amerikans oppose this as they see this tying German and Russian interests closer. In recent negotiations around sanctions against Russia, Germany proved reluctant but ultimately joined the NATO consensus to impose them. Germany even gave in on shipping arms to Ukraine after refusing at first.

Among the imperialists there are disagreements about this. Henry Kissinger famously opposed NATO inclusion of Ukraine, promoting a policy of integrating Russia into the U.$.-led sphere. Kissinger warned of the consequences of trying to break the back of Russia.

Nord Stream 2 provides an alternate route to transport gas to Germany than the other primary route through Ukraine.

Petro Dollars and Reserve Currencies

Following WWII, the U.$. was the least damaged imperialist power and was booming from the wartime economy. Profits were high, exploitation of the Third World was transferring wealth to the rising U.$. empire that financed the rebuilding of Europe. This allowed Europe to be built in the way the Amerikans saw fit. One thing this allowed for was they positioned the dollar to become the global reserve currency, or the currency that other countries held and conducted international trade in. Oil was set to trade exclusively in exchange for the “petro dollar.”

This arrangement has allowed the U.$. to have a growing trade deficit for decades without the value of their currency dropping. When Third World countries have trouble paying their debts, their currencies can become worthless overnight. A replacement of the U.$. dollar as the global reserve currency makes the United $tates more economically vulnerable.

“According to the IMF, the share of reserves held in U.S. dollars by central banks has dropped by 12 percentage points since the turn of the century, from 71 percent in 1999 to 59 percent in 2021. But this fall has been matched by a rise in the share of what the IMF calls ‘non-traditional reserve currencies’, defined as currencies other than the ‘big four’ of the US dollar, euro, Japanese yen and British pound sterling, namely such as the Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Chinese renminbi, Korean won, Singapore dollar, and Swedish krona.”(4)

Currently Russia is saying ‘unfriendly countries’ must begin to pay them for gas in Russian rubles. Hungary, which is part of the European Union, but also friendly with Russia has already agreed to pay with rubles. But the European Union(E.U.) has said the deal was to pay in euros and dollars and they would not change. This is an effort by Russia to stabilize their currency using their vast gas trade with Europe to force others to buy rubles. While the value of the ruble initially dropped about 50% after invading Ukraine, it has since recovered close to pre-war levels.

Poland, Germany and Bulgaria have refused to pay Russia for natural gas in rubles instead of euros as they are demanding. On 27 April 2022, Russia halted natural gas flows to Poland and Bulgaria after their deadline for paying in rubles was not met. About 40% of Europe’s gas consumption is supplied by Russia. The region is talking about tightening up its consumption. While good for the planet, this will lead to a further constriction of the economy, applying more pressure to the imperialists who must always expand their markets to circulate more capital. However, it is reported that some undisclosed purchasers are going ahead and buying with rubles, despite it being a violation of EU sanctions.(5)

Would joining the European Union benefit Ukranians economically?

As we discussed in ULK 36, GDP in Ukraine after the dissolution of the Soviet Union was 1/3 what it was just before. Though the Soviet Union had already been operating a capitalist economy for 35 years at that time, the complete opening up of the region to the West, the complete Liberalization of policies, and the resultant chaos and uncertainty led to a precipitous drop in material wealth in the country.

Leading up to and following the 2014 coup in Ukraine, the GDP fell and had not recovered pre-coup highs before the current war.(6) The coup installed a U.$.-backed, EU/NATO friendly government that introduced International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans to the country, which are used around the world to extract wealth from the exploited countries to the finance capitalists. As we predicted in ULK 37 these IMF loans contributed to decreasing wealth in Ukraine.

Before 2014, the Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine in the East and South were much more productive and prosperous. People in those regions have lost significant income. Meanwhile, the rest of the country that was somewhat ignored by Russian imperialism, has not seen material improvements by cozying up to the West.(7)

To join the E.U. is a logical option for many in Ukraine who see the wealth in those countries and the incomes they can earn migrating to even the eastern E.U.. Yet the spoils of imperialism are limited, and experience in the last 8 years in Ukraine show the limitations of this option.

Ukraine and Russia remain largely proletarian countries, with material interests opposed to imperialism. While there does not appear to be a strong anti-imperialist current in Ukraine at this time, this can change quickly as this crisis has brought much disruption and displacement in the country.

Notes: 1. Fatima Hussein and Michael Balsamo, 29 April 2022, The US Wants to Sell Oligarchs’ Assets to Help Ukraine. It Just Needs This Law First, NBC4 New York.
2. Dmitryi Kovalevich, 27 April 2022, April update: Proxy war in Ukraine is for Western loans
3. “Kraken crypto CEO bashes US, won’t freeze Russian accounts,” NY Post, March 3rd 2022.
4.“The end of dollar dominance?”
5.Huileng Tan, 28 April 2022, The EU warns natural-gas companies not to pay Russia in rubles after the country cut supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, Business Insider.
6.https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD?locations=UA
7. “Class contradictions and the war in Ukraine”

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Texas Liberation Collective Gearing Up for Juneteenth

Dear MIM,

Thank you for your recent communication regarding the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative. In the third paragraph you’ll note that it alludes to Our organization, the Texas Liberation Collective(TLC) as joining the campaign. As the founder of the TLC Movement and a Black man, since my captivity and certainly the inception of the TLC Movement, it has been a priority to bring to the forefront of the socio-politically conscious circles the understanding that Juneteenth is NOT celebratory.

We will continue to embark upon that trajectory by informing and educating the masses of all the classes In the Spirit of Frederick Douglass about The Juneteenth Situation.

I have enclosed a document released much earlier by TLC, which actually laid the groundwork for the exertion of Our public showing of disapproval of being wronged by the State and Federal Constitutions’ penile tolerance for slavery. This document, Exposing the Lone Star (Chamber of Enslavement!) is also available on my website: www.justiceforjeromedevonniwilson.org/rubber-stamped-indictments


MIM(Prisons) responds: Greetings to the Texas Liberation Collective. We’re glad to have another leading organization of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative(JFI) featured in Under Lock & Key as we approach the launch of the campaign. MIM(Prisons) is joining these organizations to build connections inside and out to make the upcoming campaign a significant blow to the imperialist torture camps.

The Juneteenth Freedom Initiative calls for an end to solitary confinement and mass incarceration as well as unpaid labor. Long-term isolation is torture. Disproportionately locking up masses of males disproportionately from oppressed nations, at scales never seen at any other time in history, for the productive years of their lives is genocide. These are crimes and injustices that must be stopped!

We send our solidarity to all the orgs and rads on the ground organizing for the JFI over the next couple months. We will be communicating with USW/TX Team One/TLC and other leaders leading up to the events. And we want to hear from everyone participating in this campaign before our next issue comes out in early August to sum up the lessons, the successes, and a plan for next steps to this ongoing campaign.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Polemics] [National Liberation] [ULK Issue 77]
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Reformism Will Declaw The Movement

Recently reformists have been hard at work to once more derail our movimiento and undermine the efforts of those striving for socialist revolution for Aztlán. This further highlights the slogan of the Republic of Aztlán(ROA), which is: “Ideology is key for Aztlán to be free.”

The last 5 years have witnessed Aztlán develop politically in many ways. We’ve seen the formulation and participation in political study groups by not just [email protected] political groups and orgs but by everyday raza with no political ties or limited consciousness. The now revived identification of REVOLUTIONARY NATIONALISM which so many have come to see as the most correct path to liberation for Aztlán. Revolutionary books and [email protected] revolutionary independent media have added to the momentum and organizations declaring their efforts to free Aztlán from the white settler colonial nation’s clutches. This of course is great and those who are politicized should nurture this in ways that they can to push the nation forward. Mao foresaw a new bourgeoisie developing even within the communist party based on observations of the Soviet Union. Mao recognized this force will work hard to take the people back down the capitalist road, as happened to Revolutionary Russia and Mao’s China. Similarly, we must recognize and weed out the bourgeoisie within our national liberation movement so it doesn’t stop us before we even get started.

Some have foreseen that within a matter of years [email protected] will be the majority of the U.$. population. This is not automatically a good thing. If capitalism wins the battle of ideas, [email protected] would simply be the majority reactionary force within the United Snakes, a bunch of brown capitalists. It becomes a great thing when we raise consciousness and have the largest politicized forces within the empire that can then affect revolution. Even within the movement itself it’s not a good thing if the movement produces a million brown Trots or liberal reformists, because these dead end politics would never acquire a socialist revolution which frees Aztlán.

This conversation is hard to grasp for those just entering the movement. To so many raza who have grown up under the white oppressor nation’s occupation, just hearing a group shout “Viva Aztlán!” is enough solace to the oppressed to seek out for hope. And as warming as words are from some of these liberals in revolutionary clothing the need for a correct political line is essential if we are to leave a lasting effect on today’s [email protected] Movement for the next generation.

When an organization talks about national liberation but openly promotes the idea of participating in bourgeois politics, affecting change via Amerikkka’s ballot box or even holding signs promoting Amerikkkan Presidential candidates, we should see that there’s nothing revolutionary about these particular groups. They are simply reformist at their core.

Those with revolution in their corazón can be easily duped into spending a life they believe is for La Causa only to be upholding the occupation and strengthening U.$. Imperialism.

An organization truly serving the raza would work hard at getting you to understand the illegality of the U.$. bourgeois political system not luring you deeper into it with dismissive arguments of “let’s be realistic on how we can affect change today”. Legitimizing the occupation by participating in it will not resolve the contradictions we face, rather it will only solidify our oppression.

Understanding ideology allows us to see that only those orgs that not just dismiss the colonial system but organizes outside of its influence are truly fighting for our liberation. Numbers do not equate correctness but political line does. Reformism wants to work within the colonial system and not overturn it, no matter how many times they shout “Viva La Raza”. And reformists at the end of the day are enemies of the people because they practice enemy politics.

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[Aztlan/Chicano] [Ukraine] [Anti-Imperialism] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Anti-Imperialist Solidarity Statement from Xinachtli

Dear MIM comrades and the world:

I am the same “Xinachtli” mentioned by my beloved comrade Triumphant of Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. at page 8 of your MIM newsletter, Under Lock & Key No. 76, Winter 2022.

The prison assigns me to psychiatric-ward-like cellblocks, filled with prisoners under ‘psychotropic medications’ so removed from these realities that one cannot engage them in a rational conversation much less get them involved in the Texas Prisoners’ Human Rights Movement. Other times, they place me in the middle of viper nests of racist, white supremacist inmates. In any event, I continue the struggle as a “one man army” continuing to expose the realities of these racist, horrendous conditions that violate all norms of human decency and civilized society. This prison is a genocidal one, not only sitting on stolen land, but the majority of its cages are occupied by Black, Chicano, and Native American tribes, the mass incarceration that makes up the entire U.S. prison industrial complex.

We, the ‘prisoner class’, have won many legal victories in our struggle, such as in the Ruiz v. Estelle Litigation, 503 F.Supp. 1265, but conditions continue to be the same in violation of civil and human rights standards and laws. Recently, a Scottish Court in the extradition case of Daniel Magee, refused the government’s petition to extradite Magee to Texas for criminal prosecution for allegedly shooting a security guard in Austin, TX, giving as reasons for its decision to continue the ongoing inhumane conditions existing in Texas prisons that violate international human rights laws and standards. (see article by Keri Blackinger, 17 March 2022, The Marshall Project)

Like Russian imperialist President Putin, the same blood drips from the genocidal claws of U.S. imperialism, in the hidden genocidal, extermination of the Mexicano, Chicano, indigenous tribes during their repeated colonial settler wars of annexation and plunder in the war crimes, crimes against humanity, committed by U.S. colonial, imperialists in 1830 through 1848 and ongoing today along the illegal U.S./Mexico military border. The Ukraine and Chicano masses are victims of a same, genocidal, war criminal governments that seek global domination of the world. We, the oppressed, must turn such imperialist wars into wars against world imperialism, and free all oppressed nations and peoples, to make their own destiny.

Please extend my revolutionary greetings to others in TEAM ONE, especially Comrade Triumphant.

Build the National Prisoners’ United Front!

All Power to the Oppressed!

Free the Occupied Territories of U.S. Southwest Aztlan!

Convert the Ongoing Russian/U.S. Imperialist War in Ukraine Into a War Against Imperialism!

Xinachtli

Chicano Political Prisoner

Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Aztlan(FMLA)

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[COVID-19] [Political Repression] [Abuse] [Control Units] [ULK Issue 77]
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Despots, Terrorists, and Oppressors in SECC

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

‘Department of Corrections’. A place in which nothing is correct. Nor does it correct, but corrupts absolutely. Missouri DOC and its Corruption Officers (C.O.’s) hold in clear disdain the lives of the human beings in its corrupting facilities. An example of this: the ‘South-Eastern Correctional Center’ (herein after referred to as the “South-Eastern Plantation” or “SECC”) located in Charleston, MO.

The South-Eastern Plantation has taken two new modes of torture within its Ad-Seg units. On top of being overly eager to unleash chemical weapons known as MK-9 or “pepper spray” on offenders even in non-violent, non-hostile, non-threatening or unsafe instances; the South-Eastern Plantation has taken to starvation tactics and food-poisoning. By providing inmates with week-old food or in cases of those on “Certified Religious Diets”, stale and black-molded crackers, peanut butters, etc. It is bad enough that COII Pig Sites puts it, “This is our house boy, we own you.” COII Pig Sites and COI Pig Dobbs alike make it their business to “break offenders in” by beating them in handcuffs upon arrival to their single-cell confinement building 1 house. They say such beatings bring “safety and security” to the facility, and that “If you don’t like it, then don’t make mistakes and obey our commands”.

In January of this year 2022, prisoners held in the two-man cell Ad-Seg unit (herein after referred to as Z House) all began to check out of their cells and refuse to enter into cells for being deprived of hair-cuts, proper food rations, clothing and unsatisfactory living conditions. Instead of accommodating offenders to what is theirs by ‘right’, the institution instead attempted to pull the bus up to transfer these individuals. As FUM (Facility Unit Manager) Cosby put it, “We don’t want people like you all here, we need good boys that do what they’re told and accept what we give them. The likes of you will only mess up what we’ve got going on.” As to what they have going on we may never know…$$$.

SECC’s nurses formerly employed by ‘CORIZON’ are helping the corrupt facility by submitting fake test results for COVID-19. They just recently filled up a wing in General Population twice under the pretense of “testing positive” for COVID-19. 64 individuals, only 24 of which had actually been tested and 12 of them actually positive. The only option being, go to quarantine or go to the hole. These offenders with full privileges now only allowed one 45 minute cell rotation. This was used as a way to scheme money as well as punish/target individuals whom they had a certain disliking for. The games never stop.

The comrades here at SECC fight for a world free of oppression, and to bring awareness to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Even in the midst of ongoing battles we will continue to shed light to the MIM and its readers. We wish you all the best of luck as well, because our fight is one. For a quick overview of what else has been going on here see ULK NO.76 Winter 2022.

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Update from Plaintiff Against TDCJ's BP-03.91

Dear Friends,

I am the plaintiff in the lawsuit against members of the TBCJ and TDCJ, (#3:21-CV-00337), filed in December 3, 2021.

I also represent the interests of ‘doll’ and ‘pineapple pictures.’ Since the strong opposition to enforce the BP-03.91 rules it seems that the TDCJ is no longer enforcing rules 1(C) and IV(A) (10) (11) of the BP-03.91. At least not in this unit.

However, I will not withdraw the lawsuit until I get the relief I requested in my lawsuit: “declare that rules of the BP-03.91 violates inmates and outside commercial vendors’ Constitutional rights of the First Amendment and enjoin defendants from enforcing the rules.”

Fellow prisoners who would like to support the lawsuit need to write to the court:

Cause # 3:21-CV-00337
Styled: F Martinez, Et Al., VS. The members of the TBCJ, ET.AL.
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
Galveston Division
Clerk of the Court
601 Rosenberg street, Room 411
Galveston, Texas 77550.

Although prisoners can not write me directly to provide me with a copy of the letter, I would like to know who has done it. Please send a copy to MIM(Prisons) and let them know if you grant them permission to forward me your name and TDCJ # or not.

Thank you for your help and assistance.

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[Gender] [Police Brutality] [California] [ULK Issue 77]
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Mad Machismo: Gender and Homicide

I can’t believe I am going to defend Curtis Reeves but if there is something I hate more than police it is capitalistic patriarchy, or mad masculinity, or what I call toxic testosterone. This is how capitalism rewards aggression.

We see it all the time in society. If a man is over 6 feet tall, he is almost guaranteed a management position in any workplace while more qualified workers are passed by. Or how it can be dangerous to attend a football game because of aggressive fans who can easily become violent. It is that the rewards of a capitalist culture go to those who are willing to fight the hardest.

The fact that an elderly man can not even attend a movie without being bullied by some mad man is evidence that capitalism does not work for human relations. Curtis Reeves asked Chad Oulson to be respectful and Chad Oulson became aggressive and violent because that is all he knows.

Chad Oulson probably thought he could get away with being a bully because he was bigger and much younger than Curtis Reeves. Chad Oulson thought it was OK to be violent and hit an old man because who is going to challenge a big man full of mad machismo? But this time karma finally caught up with Mr. Oulson and his pretty wife. Kurtis Reeves had the great equalizer, a gun. Curtis Reeves did what the rest of us could not get away with. Because Reeves was a police captain he could kill Chad Oulson with impunity, and in my mind, the jury was correct to acquit Reeves because the rest of us hate bullies too.

Another thing I think is relevant is an incident that occurred in early February. Two boys were fighting in the mall, 1 black and 1 white. The mall police intervened. They tackled the black boy to the ground violently and handcuffed him while the white boy only sat on a bench. Everyone on the news displayed this as a example of police racism but that is not what I seen. What I seen is 2 police officers, 1 man and 1 woman intervene in the fight. The man police officer tackled the black boy violently while the white woman police officer tackled the white boy to the bench and then backed off at the first sign of compliance. It should be noted that both boys were compliant after the police intervened in the fight. I do not know if the male officer who tackled the black boy is a racist or not, but what I do know is that the male officer had way too much toxic testosterone flowing in his veins. Where it is obvious the woman officer only used as much force as was necessary to stop the fight, the male officer clearly wanted to hurt someone. What I seen is patriarchy culture. Male police officer full of mad machismo on a mission to hurt as many people as he can, full of violence and aggression with a license to do whatever he wants with impunity. Honestly, if racism is the tool that is used to take that pig down then I will support that approach by whatever means necessary.

I see the capitalist patriarchy here in prison everyday. CDCR policy is if I am outside and 6 feet away from anyone a face mask is not required. However, that policy does not stop mad officers from telling me to put my mask on. These crazy pigs full of mad machismo mask check me all the time, not because it is policy or safety, in fact, it is contrary to CDCR policy. The crazy pigs mask check me only because they want to display dominance and control over another human being. The little bit of dominant feeling the pigs get from making me bow to their will makes them feel like a bigger man than they are.

The male officers that mask check me, only so they can feel a little bit of dominance, learned that sick behavior from American culture that rewards it; a disgusting capitalist culture that teaches patriarchy and rewards toxic testosterone allows these sick officers to challenge me while they have the upper hand. I am a defenseless prisoner, while they are a gang with weapons. The mask check is contrary to CDCR policy that clearly states if I am outside a mask is not required. The mask check is nothing more than a testosterone challenge. Mad masculinity or what the South Americans call machismo.

Who is the bigger man? The defenseless prisoner or the gang of officers carrying weapons? This sick culture that rewards the aggression devastates so many.

Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: I recently heard a well-known fascist arguing for more violence to defend honor, that our society has become too soft without it. This same fascist is infamous for abusing his ex-wife. We agree with the author above that machismo, especially over one’s right to text during a movie, is a toxic result of the patriarchy. It is not clear from the information available that Reeves’ quickness to pull the trigger didn’t stem from the same machismo. Either way, we can agree that the patriarchy led to Oulson’s death.

However, patriarchy kills more people through violence between romantic partners and former partners. A recent gruesome story hit the news of an ex-boyfriend who broke in and tortured and killed his ex-girlfriend’s now husband.

While the percentage of homicides in the United $tates from gang-related violence is around 10%(1), the percent from intimate partners is about 20%.(2) The percent of wimmin victims of murder by intimate partners is about 40%. Yet there is a war on gangs, but no war on patriarchy being led by those in power. The war on gangs, like the war on drugs, is motivated by a project to control the internal semi-colonies of the United $tates.

As many of our imprisoned readers will recognize, it is much easier to get people to lash out in violence against those with no real power over petty things than to stand up against power over real grievances. It is not just white Amerikan movie-goers, it is the oppressed as well who fall prey to the machismo, the petty individualism, and the violence of Amerikan culture. We are not pacifists, we advocate the use of all tools that can be effective at ending needless violence and murder. After imperialism, patriarchy is the next power structure that must fall to reach our goal. In the exploiter countries, we see the violence of the patriarchy more strongly, where the violence of imperialism is less. Join us in standing up for fights that really matter.

Note:
1. MYTH: Gangs are responsible for most U.S. homicides, GVPedia (Gun Violence Research)
2. Cooper & Smith, 2011, United States Department of Justice.

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[Legal] [First Nations] [ULK Issue 77]
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New Chairman of TBCJ, New Lawsuit for Access to Native American Unit

Thank you for sending the extra copies of ULK 76. Please always send extras, I will distribute proudly! I noticed in ULK 76 that others were suing Dale Wainwright with the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. I am doing the same, because the Board sets policy for TDCJ but I just got a letter back from the Board which shows the Chairman to be Patrick L. O’Daniel.

For now I’m going to keep Wainwright named in my suit because I don’t know how long this other chap has been holding down that job and Wainwright is responsible for maintaining policy that violates my rights.

We Native American practitioners have to take a religious test to be able to attend our worship services and to be transferred to a “Designated” Native American unit but one of the reasons they have listed that they may deny you transfer to a Designated Unit due to your health or a “medical condition”, which “may preclude eligibility for re-assignment” (Policy #09.02(rev.2) Attachment A). I suppose it’s policy such as this, that violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, that Lumpkin and others use to justify keeping me in “cool bed housing” and mistakenly think that they don’t have to provide cool bed housing on these “Designated Units.”

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[Education] [Drugs] [Michigan] [ULK Issue 77]
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Academics Advance Amidst the Addicted

While the suboxone once reigned supreme here in Michigan prisons, since the start of the pandemic resulting in lockdown in state, K2 (Twoche, as its called here), has eclipsed suboxone. Previously you only saw non-Black prisoners doing suboxone, but this is no longer the reality as it has now cut across racial/ethnic lines. K2 is the new crack within the prison context. I’d wager at least 80% of the facility I’m caged with have a K2 addiction. It is very much reminiscent of the 1980s/early 1990s, especially for those smoking (or vaping, as they call it) K2 out of self-manufactured pipes made from the fiber glass ink pen holders. So its not at all uncommon to see a neo-slave on the prison-plantation free basing. You see guys selling all of their possessions, spending all of their money on K2 just as I saw crackheads do decades ago. You even see the choyboy, the aluminum brittle pads being used to ignite flame. It’s sad.

Even sadder, however, is that these guys don’t have a clue what they’re ingesting in their bodies. Frequently guys are having PCP and other dangerous liquid substances brought in by prison guards that is not K2. Some have gone to some extremes in manufacturing K2 within the facility from liquid chemical compounds (the synthetic weed form has long ceased being used. K2 is now in liquid form). I’ve seen guys use oven cleaner and other chemicals to make a compound that meets and interrupts the brain chemistry to produce a reaction resulting in a high. The manufacturer of this concoction, strung out himself, then partakes in his own made up substances. It is literally sickening!

The widespread nature of addiction can only be considered to be state sanctioned repression. No shakedowns occur. No instances exist where the substance is being sought after by the state to remove it from the facilities. Being that it keeps guys in stupors, states of docility, the facility is alright with it as it allows them to push their agenda in keeping the prison locked down as the voices don’t exist in numbers to push back against the de facto semi-segregation we’ve been kept under for over two years now. They only have to contend with the effects in the form of overdose and other tripping episodes as guys sometimes fallout, hallucinate, become paranoid, experience the illusion of impending death, or become stuck in a state of immobility (literally). I can’t believe this shit.

In Michigan, we’re suffering from a near total lack of political consciousness or will to resist the myriad forms of repression and overt oppression.

I’ve started a small study group among some of the younger brothers (24-28 years old). I’ve been exposing them to revolutionary concepts and manners of struggle. I’ve introduced them to Marx, Lenin, Mao, the BPP, Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral, Fanon, Antonio Gramsci, you name it. They are loving the experience. The expansion of their consciousness is being noticed as more young guys are approaching us to be allowed into the circle. These youngsters are leaving traditional religious formations to indulge in revolutionary thought ways.

All Power to the People!


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade provides an update to the report from Michigan in ULK 75 that discussed the rise of Suboxone in Michigan prisons prior to the pandemic.

Thanks for ending on a positive note after depicting the overall sad state of affairs there. It is inspiring to know you comrades are rising above the environment, and we are confident that the study and implementation of lessons of revolutionary history will be the best medicine to combat addiction among the masses in the years to come.

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[National Liberation] [United Front] [Prison Labor] [Prisoner Lives Matter] [Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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TX Team One Multinational Unity statement

Some of those familiar with Our organization, who’ve read Our Tx TeamOne Primer, and Our other numerous articles, or followed us on Twitter, may ask what is the purpose for this writing. For you would have already known that Texas TeamOne is not a nationality-specific organization.

The articulated reason some have become confused and muddle-headed is because a comrade here decided to initiate campaigns on dates some associate with New Afrikan revolutionary nationalism, and have taken exception to this.

The campaigns in question were initiated on Black August 21st and ended September 9th. The other campaign is one We’re working on now, and have promoted in Under Lock & Key (ULK) which is Our Juneteenth Freedom Initiative.

First let’s look at Black August 2st - September 9th and why We chose that. These two dates are associated with George Jackson’s assassination and the Attica uprising. What were Jackson’s politics? Jackson, at the time of his death was a Communist. Jackson expressed his desire to eradicate ‘racism’ and the necessity to differentiate himself and others as Black, or whatever color. Jackson said “Black, white and Brown are all victims together.” i say this to say that Jackson was more than just a Black man; to see him as such is to showcase one’s own limited perspective. Jackson was and is a paragon for imprisoned people entering the realm of revolutionary ideas and practice, he was a living legend to an entire state prison system, even to those who did not like him. Telling of all this is that on his death date the other prisoners who rose up in defense to smite their enemies, and were charged and came to be known as the: San Quentin Six, some of these comrades were [email protected] Hugo Pinnell, one of this group and also a supposed Black Guerrilla Family member, was Puerto Rican.

So when We take these hystorical facts into account We have a better understanding that August 21st isn’t merely about George Jackson but also solidarity to the death, shown by those comrades that day. Furthermore, August is also the month of the Chicano Moratorium, and is commemorated each year, as [email protected] learn of their hystory of revolutionary struggle around this time.

September 9th, the day of the Attica uprising, is clearly a day of multi-national prisoner solidarity, when New Afrikan, Amerikan and Puerto Rican comrades occupied the prison compound as one body. This is held up as the ultimate example of multi-national unity among prisoners.

In regards to Juneteenth, i believed that in 2022 the connections would be clear to everyone, but apparently not. Apparently some think that only New Afrikans were and are slaves. This is not the case. According to the U.$. constitution all those in prison are slaves. The contradiction is that Juneteenth commemorates a day when slavery was supposed to have ended, and Biden’s regime has made this a federal holiday now, while millions of ‘slaves’ still exist in this kkkountry, and their colors vary like the rainbow. The Juneteenth actions are so set in order to raise the visibility of this flagrant contradiction, a method used to tell the public, to showcase that while most are busy incorporating themselves into amerika INC, We, the lumpen-prisoner class are among the last unincorporated people, or class resident to North America. This is the most basic ideal behind Our Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, but not the only. The J.F.I. consists of three stages, the first mentioned above, is to publicize, the second acts to bring the issue of targeted mass incarceration and its role in the genocide of oppressed nationalities domestic of N. America, to the federal level.

The third stage acts to bring these two issues to the international level. We’ve released a more in depth communique surrounding the J.F.I. Please write in to MIM(prisons) to obtain it and be sure to provide postage via stamps.

In political struggle there are many forms of oppression and exploitation. However, these many can summarily be broken down into three primary forms of oppression, and these are national, class and gender.

In Our quest as people to undermine and ultimately devour this oppression We formulate specific types of organizations and organizational methods that We infer will best allow us to meet Our goals, and do so swiftly. Some organizations are organized around gender, for example, the National Woman’s Organization, while others are organized around nation(al) issues, like the Black Panther Party, NAACP, UNIA, RNA, Black Lives Matter and many many others. And still there are some which organize around issues of class, United Struggle from Within, Socialist Workers Party, Prison Lives Matter, and such organizations are examples here.

After much discussion within the Texas TeamOne organizational body it has come to Our attention that We must make Our position clear on the question of the basic purpose of Our organization. Some within and without the organization seem to assume that Texas TeamOne is a New Afrikan-based organization, and thus is organizing on the question of nation and nationality and this has subsequently alienated some, or at least been an excuse for their inactivity. Therefore, i would like to use this platform to publicly declare that although some in Texas TEAMONE are New Afrikans, We’re not a New Afrikan-based organization. Some of Our comrades are [email protected]/[email protected], but We’re not a [email protected] organization either. Texas TEAMONE is focused upon uniting the prisoner(lumpen) class, as a class statewide, guiding this class in asserting its class interest in a manner aligned with proletarian internationalism, and working within the masses of this class to develop political cadres (professional revolutionaries) to send out to the ‘free world’ to assist in freeing Our peoples. This is Our long-term mission.

So to be clear, what is a ‘class’? Marx didn’t see classes as simply economic groupings. Instead, Marx gives-us indispensable criteria, which could be listed as: 1) that class members must share a common position in their relations to the means of production, i.e., common economic conditions, relative to their labor and the appropriation of the social surplus; 2) that they must share a separate way of life and cultural existence; 3) that they must share a set of interests which are antagonistic to other classes; 4) that they must share a set of social relations, i.e. a sense of unity which extends beyond local boundaries and constitutes a ‘national’ bond: 5) that they must share a corresponding collective consciousness of themselves as a ‘class’ and; 6) they must create their own political organizations, and pursue their interests as a ‘class’.(1)

So while Texas prisoners are ‘naturally’ a ‘class-in-itself’, by meeting the first above criteria alone, We at Texas TeamOne are about leading the charge to make the Texas prisoner class develop into a ‘class-for-itself’, “which will depend on the acquisition and development of the remaining elements. Meaning the group must develop consciousness of itself as a class; create political organizations engage in unified action to oppose and defeat class enemies; begin to build a new society free from all exploitation and oppression and: eliminate all class division”.(2)

Texas prisoners already share a definite and distinct way of life separate from the rest of society’s classes represented in Texas. As many of you already know, despite Our inability to unify strongly in massive numbers, We do have common interests, however We get in Our own way. Numbers four, five, and six are the role Texas TeamOne shall occupy for prisoners in this state, and We will contribute to the countrywide lumpen/ prisoner class organizing being done by USW, and groups like Prison Lives Matter. The key is to build solid cadre state-to-state, then organize these cadres across the country to actualize the mighty reservoir of revolutionary potential that lays dormant behind these walls.

Before i close this out, i would like to express the importance of an in-depth study and comprehension of WORLD hystory. The oppressed nations in the United $tates have an extended hystory of organized unity. Remember Santa Anna? Why did the General call for the war against Anglo-Texan colonizers? Was it not to force them to abolish slavery? Why do people celebrate Cinco De Mayo? When the French, led by Maximillian I, invaded Veracruz, Mexico to re-institute slavery, didn’t the Mexican people fight admirably to repel the French? Didn’t free New Afrikans stand in solidarity with their/ Our Mexican counterparts? Cinco De Mayo was initiated by the Mexican Amerikan Union Army veterans in the SouthWest(Aztlán) to commemorate the Mexican victory over the european invaders who were hell-bent on re-enslaving the people. It was a holiday symbolizing national independence, resistance to imperialism, and the abolition of slavery. What is telling is that the Mexican Amerikan Union was actively fighting in the Amerikan civil war on the anti-slavery side while they called for the Cinco De Mayo celebration.

What’s my point here? In case you’ve missed it, the point is that [email protected], [email protected], Indigenous, and New Afrikan people have been intrinsically connected throughout Our hystory. We would do well to remember this, to not see Our struggles as separate but see them as Our ancestors did. For they always knew that if one allowed an Indian to be colonized, a Mexican would be colonized next. If the African was mired in slavery, the Mexican would be returned to it. Thus their unity was one of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism, and international abolition.

As a final note, in recent years, because of the legacy mentioned above surrounding the days of Aug 21st & Sept 9th, comrades within the countrywide prisoners movement have utilized this period of time to mobilize outside support and action, as well as inside. This call has already gone out to mobilize for this year’s ‘Shut ’Em Down’ demonstrations, as they’ve come to be called. This adds to the reason why comrades have chosen those dates, and We hope that this brief piece dissolves any assumptions, myths regarding Our work, and that many others will actively join us in our level of commitment.

COMBAT GENOCIDE!!!! COMBAT NEO-COLONIAL VIOLENCE!!!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We want to acknowledge that a comrade in Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, the MIM(Prisons)-led organization for outside supporters, also contributed to this confusion by posting an image on social media promoting last year’s hunger strike against RHU in Texas calling for support for “New Afrikans.” Once we noticed this we asked the comrade to change it, which took some days to happen. This is a lesson to the outside supporters of anti-imperialist prison organizers who may not be aware of the sensitivities among the oppressed nations to these questions.

What Team One is experiencing is something MIM(Prisons) has experienced for many years. To an extent it is unavoidable in a country where the oppressed nations are constantly pitted against each other, we will continue to alienate some readers when we support national liberation struggles. But we can be careful in how we do this, be clear on our politics, do our best to promote a diversity of voices and campaigns when they exist, etc. As the definition of United Struggle from Within on p. 2 reads:

“USW won’t champion struggles which are not in the interests of the international proletariat. USW will also not choose one nation’s struggles over other oppressed nations’ struggles.”

As the local representation of USW in Texas, Texas Team One shares this line as they describe above. Likewise, they echo the spirit and line of USW in this statement.

Sources:
1. Meditations On Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, James Yaki Sayles; pg. 286; citing Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire; Karl Marx, The Holy Family.
2. Ibid, pg.287

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[COVID-19] [Legal] [California] [ULK Issue 77]
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Suit Against CDCR for Endangering Prisoners with Covid-19 Advances

To The People

I have a COVID-19 litigation update. My 42 U.S. Code § 1983 civil case no. 21-cv-0055-LAB-Ggs, Williams v. Warden Pollard, Et Al, in the u.s. District Court - Southern district of Calif, survived the Attorney General’s (A.G.) motion to dismiss on 19 January 2022.

I alleged pre-existing health conditions placed me at higher risk of death if exposed to COVID, and that defendants were deliberately indifferent to my risk of exposure to COVID by

  1. Providing face masks of poor quality, which don’t protect from exposure (before CDCR started issuing the KN-95’s);

  2. housing infected and non-infected prisoners in the same unit and cells;

  3. forced double cell housing in conditions which violate and don’t comply with 6 ft social distancing public health orders;

  4. poor sanitation of the immediate housing unit, and

  5. C.O.’s constantly taking their masks off in the housing unit, was a failure to protect based on a totality of deprivations.

The A.G. moved to dismiss saying:

  1. My claims were speculative because 82% of the population was vaccinated so my chance of exposure was minimum;

  2. I presented no allegations defendants acted maliciously;

  3. I lack standing and the court lack jurisdiction since I have no injury and ‘did not’ contract COVID-19;

  4. Injunctive relief claims are moot because the Brown v. Plata, and Coleman v. Brown receivers were already with jurisdiction over medical and addressing the COVID-19 crisis, and

  5. My claims are foreclosed by 42 U.S. Code § 1997e, which requires an injury before a money award, but of course the district judge rejected the A.G.’s best efforts. The district judge did, however, dismiss all defendants except Warden Pollard, with leave to amend, and while awaiting this ruling I did test positive for COVID-19 in January 2022.

Many prison administrations, housing lieutenants, sergeants, and officers only care about filling empty bed spaces. They don’t expect prisoners to present a pre-written GA-22 which “request reason why I am being forced to defy current public health orders to practice and maintain 6ft social distance by forced double cell housing,” and/or “request instructions on how to practice and maintain 6ft social distance in double cell housing conditions,” when they come with the “you getting a cellie” speech. “I’m not refusing officer, but before I adhere to your orders or directives to disregard or violate any existing public health orders I need specific instructions on how to keep myself safe” and let’s hope they got a body camera on during this incriminating exchange.

The point is, just because the prison system and its officials don’t care about us don’t mean we don’t care about ourselves. Since the pandemic commenced, I’ve seen too many captives tricked out of their lives by following orders from those who operate a system of violating the law, or rules, to enforce them. The killer then notify next of kin of a captives death and say “I’m sorry for your loss.”

We have to implement our own measures to stay safe and survive, which includes filing suit, and helping others with the information to do the same.

Power To the People!

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[COVID-19] [Censorship] [Political Repression] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Covid Outbreaks & Repression on Allred

i am taking the time to write this because i would like the readership to know the truth about what’s been going on recently at the TDCJ Allred unit in regards to COVID-19 and targeted repression of socio-political leaders.

Many of you reading this are already aware of the spike in COVID infections related to the emergence of the Omicron variant. Here at Allred, particularly in the restrictive housing unit, which houses some six hundred plus people in conditions internationally recognized as inhumane, there has been a dangerous and life threatening pattern of administrative negligence in regards to the effort (lack thereof) to quell the spread of this aggressive virus.

Back in August of 2021, captive persyns held on the Allred RHU and other units held a hunger-strike protest. One of the issues raised and forwarded to unit, regional, and state level administrators was, ‘#10- follow all CDC COVID-19 protocols’. Even after people have literally starved themselves, the unit administration still has refused, and neglected to implement, and re-implement basic CDC COVID guidelines.

On January 6th, Comrade Ozomatli, co-founder, and key figure of the TX TeamOne organization, was strategically targeted for harassment, by way of an unlawful search and seizure, and purposely exposed to COVID-19. On the above date Ozomatli was taken from his cell and placed in a holding cage in the building’s main hallway for five hours!

i am not too good with math and measurements, but i know the cage in question is absolutely too small to place a full grown human in for that amount of time. There is no where to relieve ones self, not anywhere to comfort ones self. Regardless, Ozomatli remained in this holding cage while a multitude of agents of repression searched his usual abode. i raise the question, what possibly could they be looking for, and not find if it were there, in such a small space, for such an extended period of time?

To even begin to analyze this question We must first point out that the incident on January 6th was the second such incident targeting this same comrade in the last few months. Previously the only thing confiscated were the comrade’s contact information written down on various papers and inside books. On January 6th, the comrade’s entire cache of persynal property was confiscated, and he would remain property-less for a week.

During this ordeal, Ozomatli was placed in danger, recklessly, of catching COVID-19. Agents of repression who escorted him from and returned him to his cell weren’t following proper COVID guidelines. Afterwards, in the matter of days, a new COVID outbreak ensued on the RHU building, and unsurprisingly the outbreak has been largely centered on the pod which Ozomatli inhabits. When other prisoners on other pods show symptoms they’re re-housed on the same pod as Ozomatli. Furthermore, prisoners are being constantly moved around, leaving and being brought to the unit and thus constantly exposing more and spreading more and more COVID. Daily so-called ‘integrity checks’ are still in operation, along with unnecessary cell extractions, and are also inducing the spread of COVID.

Administrators are refusing to test or even symptom check prisoners, as was done in the mid 2020 days of the pandemic. There’s this untrue belief that the pandemic is over, despite the fact that less than 70% of people (prisoners & guards combined) are vaccinated. An untold number of prisoners have mass filed grievances, but of course appealing to the same source of Our predicament has rendered little to no results.

i would be remiss if i didn’t acknowledge the underlying political undertones of Ozomatli’s being harassed, and also pinpoint other similar patterns adhered to by the unit administration sometimes at the behest of the state level agents of repression.

Ozomatli, as i have said, is a leader with the Texas TeamOne Organization. TeamOne is an organization of politicized prisoners dedicated to politicizing prisoners and consolidating those in TX into a class that can actively struggle for its interests, as well as, and more importantly, reinsert people into the larger society as assets to communities which are all too often neglected in the realms of social, political and economic development.

Ozomatli is an abolitionist, a [email protected], and a leader that leads by example. Thus it goes without saying that Ozomatli’s very existence as a [email protected] revolutionary imprisoned in tekkk$a$‘s gulags, is seen as a threat to the enemy-state and the prison administration, and this is the underlying politics of his harassment. Ozomatli has recently been working with other comrades and formations, independent of his work with TeamOne, in mobilizing a Texas prisoners’ political action committee, it is during the time span of this work in that sphere that the administration has targeted him.

The clearly politically motivated repression tactics, in a supposedly ‘free’ country, do not stop there. i myself have been a constant target for similar tactics of intimidation, and retaliation. i have been ‘sentenced’ essentially to LIFE in TDCJ’s RHU. This repression came on the immediate back of Our collective hunger-strike effort in August (thru September 9th). i was seen in absentia by the State Classification Committee four days later. i was denied release to general population, after having been without any disciplinary incident in over four years time. The reasons given for this miscarriage of justice was that i am staff assaultive, and prone to possess weapons, and the main one, written in large bold letters, was the fact that i am currently serving an unjust sentence of Life Without Parole. The third reason was provided as the main reason for my denial of release. The catch is that i can not, on my own accord, alter my sentence therefore this decision summarily acts to confine me in isolation for the remainder of my sentence (life).

Of course the timing and the fact that these issues have never been previously brought up at these hearings, testifies to the fact that the decision is a retaliatory measure being used to quell the momentum being built up among the captives here and around the state. IT WILL NOT WORK!

Other measures of retaliation such as illegal mail tampering/disappearance are common place. Outgoing letters of even a neutral nature take up to two months to even leave the unit, and incoming mail, including books and other packages have the same waiting time. The former mailroom supervisor was made to resign for ‘undisclosed reasons’, yet mailroom negligence, and deliberate tampering continues even under the watchful eyes of one, Major Murdock, whose been made to keep eyes on mailroom staff.

By no means is this all the repressive tactics utilized by administrators, nor is it only TeamOne affiliates, or political prisoners. For the sake of time however We will hold these slights as a small example. it is important i say that none of this is meant to discourage activism and justified rebellion. In fact the contrary is the intent. i assert here that if more of the captive populace took liberatory ideals and practices more seriously We could actually begin to pose a threat, not only to the prison institution, but the established order as We know it. As George said:

“If we can reach each other through all of this, fences, fear, concrete, steel, barbed wire, guns, the hystory will commend us for a great victory won…” - Soledad Brother

As a sign of solidarity, We call on the public to report the administrative negligence surrounding Allred’s handling of COVID-19 to the following; (prisoners should write complaints regarding their own units):

Dept. of Health & Human Services, region6, regional director
Marjorie McColl Petty
1301 Young St. ste#1124
Dallas, Tx 75202
or call 214-767-3301

Also, outside supporters should be sure to make a report to the following:

David Blackwell, regional director-region 5 @ 806-296-4500(ext 400)

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[Control Units] [New Afrika] [K.A.G.E. Universal] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 77]
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Liberate Our Elders Event Unites Inside & Out

19 February 2022 – K.A.G.E. Universal and Hella Positive hosted an event featuring the voices of New Afrikan elders as part of the campaign to Liberate Our Elders from the cages of the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation(CDCr). As the comrades say, little “r”, because there is no rehabilitation, and rehabilitation must come from within.

At this event MIM(Prisons) shared copies of our new pamphlet, A Revolutionary 12 Step Program, in the spirit of supporting self-transformation via independent institutions of the oppressed. We also joined K.A.G.E. Universal in promoting the United Front for Peace in Prisons, as they work to expand the message of independent peace building behind bars and in local schools in Oakland.

The event brought together many outside activists and organizations and the voices of New Afrikan principal thinkers from the Pelican Bay SHU who are now on the streets as well as some still imprisoned. Speakers included imprisoned elder Sitawa, one of the main reps during the historic California hunger strikes, and Paul Redd who is now released. Louis Powell’s voice was also heard through the reading of his new book, Chronicles of a Prison Dirty War: California Prison Politics.

In the closing of the event, Minister King X pointed out that these elders are “walking dictionaries,” and the state is “trying to eradicate our history.”

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[COVID-19] [Grievance Process] [Abuse] [ULK Issue 77]
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Super Bowl Sunday: A New Holiday on San Quentin’s Death Row

On February 13th, 2022 it was announced via PA in East Block that there would be no yard due to holiday feeding. There was no state or federal holiday. It was just another Super Bowl Sunday. We’re being fed bullshit!

The deal is for second watch disrespectful sows to get an A.M. 7/11 lucky break before coming back to pass out lunch and dinner. Doing that might take an hour and the taxpayers eat the rest (comes with free-loading). Some of the second watch disrespectful sows will then join third watch and the game kicks off into overtime. The TV is set up in violation of 15CCR3394 distractions and the potluck tailgate assists close proximity in defeating the chance of a stable cohort – a violation of 15 CCR 3271, but no penalty?

As satirical as it may sound, this writing is an excerpt of events which did occur on San Quentin’s death row in East Block. Similar events as described above occurred in 2021 on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day 2022. Deliberate indifference to your right to yard, your health, or anyone’s safety in general means NOTHING to these disrespectful sows and the court has acted more like a referee paid off by the opposing team.

Want your rights back?

A suggestion to those warehoused on San Quentin’s death row:

  • Refuse housing cage staging and/or indoor congregate waiting rooms.
  • Preemptively and immediately submit a 602-1 staff misconduct grievance against AW specialized housing for denying you safe access to appointments, visits, etc. simply because you refuse to ignore HC guidelines to practice social distancing – NOT possible in a holding cage/congregate waiting room AND an ultimatum in violations of 15 CCR 3271 if a valid concern exists.
  • If response implies no indoor close proximity concern is valid, then demand normal outdoor daily yards program be reinstated in a 602-2 follow up grievance.
  • Advise your PCP/MH clinician in writing on CDCR 7362 of your decision to follow HC guidelines to social distance and that custody refuses to comply resulting in you being denied safe access to HC/MH services and programs. Keep the yellow copy of that 7362 form for an official record.

*Doing this in conjunction with grievances citing other ways your card is being arbitrarily taken is a from of non-violent protest. SQ/CDCR’s response (or lack of one) creates an official record for future use.

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[Campaigns] [Gender] [Lane Murray Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Fighting for Separate Dorm for Elders at Lane Murray

Here at Lane Murray Unit we are trying to get a dorm for the 50 and over women that reside here. There is a lot of women that are in the “silver streaks” years and have many disabling ailments and being around the younger “residents” has become somewhat dangerous at times. So keep us in your thoughts and if there are any ideas as to how to get this 50’s plus dorm on the way, please let us know.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Please write to MIM(Prisons) if you have any suggestions for this comrade. We understand gender to have a material basis in health status. Things like old age and disability contribute to one’s gender status, and under patriarchy can lead one facing more gender oppression as this comrade mentions. Just as we work to resolve the divisions between nations and lumpen orgs among the imprisoned population, we also struggle against gender divisions. While male and female prisoners are kept in separate prisons, we still have gender divisions along the lines of age, disability, sexual orientation and gender presentation that do not serve the interests of the prison masses.

As we promote these comrades’ campaign for a seperate dorm, we call on USW leaders to find real solutions in resolving the gender contradictions and oppression that leads to some feeling like they need to be separate to be safe. Some of the comrades leading the campaign to Liberate Our Elders in California serve as great examples in bringing that unity.

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[Police Brutality] [Drugs] [Abuse] [Pasquotank Correctional Institution] [Granville Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 77]
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Will prisoners' iPads feature apps that record police brutality?

Today at Polk Correction Institution the prep-team beat a young man in full restraints named Mr. Fox as he screamed for help during a shake-down: video surveillance was not provided.

15 March 2021, a few weeks before the killing of Andrew Brown by Pasquotank Sheriff’s Department, I was maced, tased, beat, and nearly killed by almost 20 Pasquotank C.O.s. The beating occurred in 6 different locations in the building including 3 elevators. I received several life lasting injuries to the head, face, and mouth from being punched and kicked over a hundred times while laying flat on the ground on my stomach and/or side. A chunk of meat was ripped out of my shoulder from being dragged over 50 ft. I was choked while beaten til they thought and asked one another if I was dead.

Another official cut my thumb with a switch blade and I received several other injuries that medical refused to treat or document. The officers said, “they’ll be back to beat me every chance they get and that I better not eat.”

I was emergency shipped, and 3 hours later pictures were taken of my injuries when I arrived at Polk Correctional Institution (High-Risk-Security).

Pasquotank Prison Officials deny to have ever touched me and claim their innocence while not even bothering to explain how my injuries were sustained. The disciplinary officer found that the video footage of the incident had been tampered with and cut-short.

18 October 2021, all mail for North Carolina prisoners will be received at TextBehind in Phoenix, MD with long time promises of iPads in the future. Should department of public safety provide proper video surveillance for safety before iPads for profit and entertainment? Surveillance is critical to maintain and monitor unwanted violence.

Relief in the claim I’ve filed against Pasquotank Correctional Institution include that the courts enforce a policy with an injunction ordering hand-held cameras be used when escorting offenders or using force in blind spots.

Unfortunately, body-cams in prison make it harder for guards to smuggle contraband or have relations which would decrease the rate of violence from drug related issues allowing more prisoners to focus on rehabilitation and money management.

With this we would ask for higher pay rates to support our families and conjugal visits for married couples.

Prayers out for the family of Andrew Brown and the victims of police brutality.

For a full report of Pasquotank Prison Incident, see: “Two Letters From North Carolina Prisons Make the Same Demands 45 Years Apart.


MIM(Prisons) adds: In the last issue of Under Lock & Key one of our comrades addressed the use of tablets to pacify and surveil the oppressed in A Strategic Objective to Disrupt and Surveil the Communication Between Prisoners and Our Loved Ones. The article above connects this to the many campaigns prisoners have waged to get cameras in prisons so that there is documentation of the regular abuse and illegal happenings that go on inside.

In 2014, comrades in North Carolina won a lawsuit to [require staff of NCPDS to record with video cameras any use of force incidents]((https://www.prisoncensorship.info/article/north-carolina-prisoners-preliminary-victory-on-use-of-force-lawsuit/). This suit however, left it up to the pigs to determine when cameras need to be used. As AK47 asks, if the state is to invest more money in technology, shouldn’t it be on this important task of preventing physical abuse and drug trafficking, both of which leads to the loss of humyn lives?

We can also take lessons from the implementation of universal cameras, including audio recording, in California which brought up concerns of excessive monitoring of prisoners, including in counseling and rehabilitation programs. Just last year, another lawsuit in California brought a federal court order requiring body cameras in Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in California, resulting in passive protests from staff in the form of not running programs for prisoners.

Modern surveillance and communication technology can be used for good and for bad, for the interests of the oppressed or the interests of the oppressor. The interests of the oppressed lie in holding the state accountable for the rampant abuse and drug dealing its employees commit every day, while being able to maintain connections to society, engaging in rehabilitation programs where they can speak freely and openly. The interests of the state lie in pacifying the population with pop culture media and surveilling the communication of those who cannot be pacified.

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[Censorship] [Grievance Process] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Coffield Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Criminal Gangs Controlling Mail and Punishing Grievers in TX

Quick update on BP 03.91 – Yesterday, while at the law library, one prisoner recently received an order of photos that had been previously banned. This happened months after our legal group filed injunctions in relation to BP 03.91 and how it arbitrary enforcement wasn’t congruent with its parameters. What is even more eye opening is how staff and administration keep taking (and breaking) property. All grievances come back with “your allegations could not be substantiated.”

Some are fighting back small. Dragging the administration through many small litigation claims will weaken their resolve on bigger ones. The grievance system is a joke. While staff continue to bully prisoners around, by throwing away their property in the shakedown, confiscating their religious items, and cutting down their eating, showering, and dayroom times. Texas prisons are becoming more and more run by inmates who utilize drug connections with officers. Recently I had a sergeant who tried to intimidate me into recanting a grievance which I wrote about prisoners passing out mail (a new “hustle” some STG’s have turned up on by holding certain mail “hostage”). When I didn’t relent, he sent one of the gang members to talk to me. How do you threaten the life of a lifer? SMH These kids don’t get get it.


MIM(Prisons) adds: As staff shortages become the excuse to abuse and deny prisoners basic necessities, we are receiving reports of prisoners being used in this manner to deliver mail, do counts, even utilizing department walky-talkies to assist staff. In the short-term this is being used to further divide the prisoner population by granting some the role of the slave catcher and granting them benefits. But this also indicates a crisis in the TDCJ that will create new opportunities as the state loses control over day-to-day operations.

The police state may prove to be over-extended if they cannot get enough Amerikans to run the machine. With pigs dying from covid-19 at higher rates due to their bad hygiene, retiring faster, and refusing to go to work in the biggest prison systems in the world, we will certainly be seeing shifts in the near future in the terrain of the U.$. criminal injustice system.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 77]
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The Gates

The gates will open, and once more I’ll be free. But there’s a fact that makes me wonder, What will become of me?

Do I have a “future” awaiting me such as the past I’ve known? Will there be opportunity of “employment” for men such as myself? Or will I have to sell drugs, steal and rob again, in order just to get by?

What about my “family” who love me very much? The ones I haven’t seen in years. Can they accept me now without any doubts or fears?

What about the “people” I once knew, but haven’t seen in a while, Will they accept my “friendship” or will I be forced to walk alone?

Yes. The “gates” will open and once more I’ll be free. But there’s a fact to make me wonder, What will become of me?

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[ULK Issue 77]
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Sunrise

A splash of light comes in, unexpectedly. My “wings” rise in the morning curtains. Shadows creep under the corners and then fly. Black birds drop off by the sun nearby.

Shadows creep under the corners and then fly. Windows open to my inside, I can feel the wind as it blows by. Sunlight warm up old hinges. A new landscape stirs by inches.

I gently touch the future unfaded hills. A new landscape stirs by inches. Wild strawberries taste sweet again. My air has been washed in the rain.

These verses break my chains. You too can listen, as I live and cry. A splash of light comes in, unexpectedly. My “wings” rise in the morning curtains.

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