Under Lock & Key Issue 9 - July 2009

Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 9]
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Lumpen Organizing and Peace

In this issue we print some responses to the articles in the Peace issue of Under Lock and Key (ULK7) which discussed the need for unity among prisoners to fight for peace and justice because the oppressors actually support violence, even while claiming the opposite. It's important to see the violence in the criminal injustice system for what it is: a tool to keep the oppressed down and intimidate prisoners from organizing.

The prison guards manipulate prisoner organizations to create snitches and to set one group of prisoners against another. This helps maintain divisions among prisoners and keeps the power and violence under the control of the prison pigs. Because of this it is essential that prisoners come together in the struggle for peace and justice.

In this issue several prisoners talk about uniting Lumpen Organizations in this struggle. This is an important step forward and one that the imperialists have resisted both overtly and covertly. We must take these steps in organizing but do all we can to protect ourselves from the repressive injustice system and their agents of violence.

As we wrote in the introduction the Peace issue of Under Lock and Key:

"The people want peace now. Communities that are being occupied, imprisoned and bombed want an immediate end to violence. Huey P. Newton said it is up to the oppressor whether meeting such demands of the oppressed happens in a peaceful way or a violent way. Fanon said violence is part of the development of a humynism and new consciousness among the people. Even if Fanon is right, it takes a lot to push the masses to the point of violence as Huey pointed out. This is obvious by the many more people who have spent many more days in peaceful submission than those who have not. Violent resistance from the people will only arise as it is necessitated by those who monopolize violence through their own power.

"MIM(Prisons) only engages in and promotes legal means of combating injustice. When the prison staff represses every educational and legal outlet for prisoners to redress their complaints then it is clear what kind of strategies they are promoting. In those prisons, we predict there will be violence, and they cannot blame it on us because they have kept us out. This is similar to what we say about all struggles for justice around the world. We believe violence is necessary to end injustice because history has demonstrated that the oppressor never stops oppressing any other way. We do not want or promote violence, we are merely stating our conclusion from reading history. In every case of revolutionary war, it was up to the oppressor to decide whether violence was used or not. History shows that the same has been true in the prison rights movement; the struggle for prisoner rights has only become violent when the state initiated such violence."

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[Middle East] [ULK Issue 9]
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Iran: The Twitter 'Revolution'

Amerika TweetsThe recent election in Iran has become a phenomenon given unusual attention by amerikans who read the news. One must ask why these amerikans are so upset about potential election fraud on the other side of the world? You didn't hear such concern about the recent Mexican election. In that case it was a country bordering the united $tates, and there was actually evidence of widespread fraud. With the treatment of an incident last week where the Honduran president was abducted and flown out of the country in a coup, it is even more evident that the media and its followers are more upset about the fact that their candidate didn't win then that there was any unfairness involved.

The Iranian election warrants particular attention from the Maoist movement because of the campaign against Iran, and the Muslim world in general, that has been carried out by Amerikan imperialism as well as groups calling themselves feminists, and some even calling themselves Maoists. While years of struggle have occurred against these allies of imperialism, many of our readers behind bars will be new to this.

For years now, the so-called “Revolutionary Communist Party (USA)” has been organizing mass demonstrations in cities across the country on International Wimmin’s Day, targeting Iran. At one rally, this writer witnessed middle-aged men in business casual attire carrying massive banners calling for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. When asked what group they organized with they claimed to just be a couple guys concerned about the issue. The main topic of the rally was wimmin’s rights.


As one Maoist writer pointed out, the Jerusalem Post (6/23/2009) printed an article entitled, "It's about the women" in response to the post-election protests in Iran, which stated:

“Women are the ones arrested in Iran for having an ankle showing or for wearing lipstick. After three such arrests, women go to prison. At the fourth arrest, they get a public lashing.”

The author correctly comments,

No doubt some Iranian wimmin are indeed afraid of their own Muslim culture. Yet there is no proof that the portion of Iranian wimmin so afraid is higher than the portion of Amerikan wimmin afraid of sexual harassment on the street if they show ankle or wear obvious lipstick. There is also no doubt that large portions of wimmin in both Iran and the united $tates are completely comfortable with the culture they display when walking down the street.(1)

In other words, this is not about wimmin's rights, as much as many try to pretend it is. If it was they would be attacking patriarchy not oppressed nations whose leaders don't succumb to u$ economic interests.

Our readers should know that millions of dollars were sent to anti-government organizations in Iran in the last few years by the U.S. State Department(2), while Seymour Hersh reported that U.S. special operations forces were conducting exercises inside Iran's borders. One can see why the u$-backed candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, might have expected to win the recent presidential election. But a number of polls showed high approval rates of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and showed him winning the election by a similar margin. While anti-Ahmadinejad activists got support from corporations like Facebook and Twitter and their users to get their opinions out, 65% of Iranians don't have access to the internet(4), which likely overlaps greatly with the rural majority who reportedly voted for Ahmadinejad.

In one online discussion of the Iranian elections an apparent anti-imperialist commented, "It’s interesting that some “Western progressives” here are essentially accepting the Western media and government propaganda spin on the Iranian elections–the same Western media and governments they supposedly oppose."(3) It is interesting, in that it exposes the common interests between amerikans and the corporate elite when it comes to issues most important to imperialism.

However, we should not ignore a couple of things that made this embracing of the corporate line a bit smoother. First, many supposedly independent organs have been rallying amerikans against the Islamic Republic of Iran for years. Second you have supposedly independent activists on Twitter reporting from Iran. For amerikans, the individual is the ideal unit for change, far superior to a self-proclaimed revolutionary organization or a corporate news source. Amerikans trust individuals more, even when there is no accountability of who these individuals are. So when CNN says that the elections in Iran were rigged, there is corroborating evidence from "alternative" sources to let one believe it.

Will amerikans support People's War when the proletariat uses Twitter? The obvious answer is no. Twitter serves a certain class with certain interests. The world's exploited majority are not well-represented on the internet. Amerikan liberals would like to think that their little gadgets, paid for with the blood and sweat of the Third World, are increasing democracy and humyn rights. It is only at the fringes that the proletariat is making use of these tools that are still in the hands of the rich. (Rather than a Twitter Revolution, one starts to wonder if this is just one big Twitter advertisement.)

Those who acknowledge that Mousavi does not represent the progressive demands of the masses of Iran are countering that those in the street are who they are supporting. One commentator pointed out:

"Just being in the streets does not make a protester revolutionary. Just as putting down such protests, in itself, does not make one a reactionary. Fascists have had street protests. And, communists have broken up street protests."

It is the most radical of the petty bourgeoisie who fall into this trap of seeing all rebellion as good without considering the greater context or the outcome. These individualists idealize "spontaneous" uprisings, even when they're backed by millions of dollars of u$ funding and years of psychological warfare by the CIA-run media.

As many of the better commentaries have pointed out, this "Green Revolution" being touted in the corporate media is the latest in a long line of "revolutions" that are backed by the the imperialists to replace the governments of mostly former-Eastern Bloc countries with leaders favoring Washington-centered neo-liberalism. While they have all received great praise in the media, none has received such mass response from amerikans in general as Iran. The key difference has been the Islam factor, and the use of gender aristocracy attacks on Iran from a range of amerikans, including the u$ State Department, pseudo-feminist organizations, and phoney Maoist parties.

Gender issues have been used by colonialists and imperialists to attack Islam (ie. the oppressed nations) throughout the last century. There is no reason to believe that such attacks are suddenly progressive.

Amerikans are being rallied around "barbaric" incidents in the Muslim world, while ignoring the fact that u$ imperialism is still the number one imprisoner, torturer and killer in the world. No one else comes close.

notes:
(1) http://mimdown.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/media-standards-for-u-and-iranian-elections/
(2) One request was for $400 million dollars according to Seymour Hersh. Recently, it was reported that U.S. Congress apparently approved $66 million of it.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-06-25-iran-money_N.htm
(3) http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/ahmadinejad-accuses-west-of-waging-psychological-warfare-against-iran/#comments
(4) Schleifer, Yigal. Why Iran's Twitter revolution is unique. Christian Science Monitor, June 19, 2009.

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[Political Repression] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 9]
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FBI Arrests Peacemaker

Alex Sanchez Homies Unidos
Two issues ago Under Lock & Key released the Peace Issue. Now we are working on an issue on migrants and non-citizens in u$ prisons. The kidnapping of Homies Unidos director Alex Sanchez by the FBI yesterday demonstrates the close relationship between prisons, immigration, repression and peace.

Homies Unidos was started in El Salvador by 20 people who were deported from the united $tates due to Clinton-era immigration legislation after serving prison terms. Alex Sanchez played a key role in founding the Los Angeles chapter 2 years later, building an important link to the source of gang problems here in the belly of the beast.

The targeting and arrest of Alex by the FBI is just one more example to support our argument in issue 7 that the state does not want peace. There are few who can claim to have done more to bring peace to some of the worst affected gang areas in the world, yet the state sees him as a threat.

In the 1980s people across Central America united for a new economic system that served people's needs. The united $tates responded by arming and training death squads to combat these movements. They used terrorism, killing local families in mass genocide, and carrying out similar brutality against supporters from other countries to discourage internationalism. Like most who Homies Unidos works with, Alex himself was a victim of the mass displacement of people across Central America caused by a decade of amerikan intervention. This period of brutality was followed by economic policies that offered one job option for the children of war: running product for the multi-billion dollar amerikan drug economy.

While most travelled to the united $tates looking for jobs, others were brought here via their jobs in the black market drug trade. Either way, these new arrivers are targeted for imprisonment by the u$ injustice system, which helped to consolidate and reinforce the criminal gang life as the only option for mostly male youth. Just like those who came before them, Salvadorans on the streets and in prisons formed groups to defend themselves from a society who feared and attacked new comers.

Alex's arrest is a blatant attack that is part of the same system that has attacked millions coming from the same place he came from. But his targeting has been very specific and ongoing because of his efforts to organize for peace by building alternatives to violent crime as a means of survival. He posed too great of a threat to the system of control of Brown and Black youth in this country through drugs and low intensity warfare, while simultaneously threatening the flow of drugs into the richest market in the world.

Previously, Alex was targeted by the Ramparts CRASH unit leading up to the infamous scandal within the Los Angeles Police Department, where cops worked with the INS to deport drug dealers who wouldn't work with the LAPD. At that time he was threatened with deportation. He responded by attempting to get asylum because of his social position in El Salvador, where members of the main lumpen organization there are targeted for imprisonment and assassination with more impunity than they are in the united $tates. This would have provided a way out for millions of youth stuck in the violent cycle. But the amerikan courts would not go for this argument, and granted him asylum on the basis of his political beliefs instead.

Alex has continuously put himself on the line for the interests of the lumpen class, who on the whole have yet to return the favor. Part of developing the consciousness of the lumpen is organizing the defense (and support) of those who are doing the most to serve the lumpen.

Lesson for the Criminal Minded

There are two possible lessons that members of the unpoliticized lumpen organizations can take from this. There is the message of the FBI, that it is hopeless to work against the u$ imperialists, so you're better off working with government operations to drug and pacify oppressed communities and hope you don't get hit by the violence or addiction yourself. This is the short-term, individualist view.

Then there is the lesson that MIM(Prisons) takes from this. Yes it is true, anyone who does real work to help lumpen youth improve their lives will be targeted by the u$ government. But rather than turning to despair and capitulation we promote a message that encourages people to look at the big picture and drop their fears as individuals. This lesson leads one to recognize the necessity of a number of strategies. One such strategy is shifting the focus of existing lumpen organizations to provide real support for independent organizations that are really helping lumpen youth. But with that comes risks, so another lesson is that the criminality of the lumpen makes it harder for leaders to help the lumpen as a class. In other words, cleaning up your act makes it easier for us to work together.

In response to the recent arrests, many amerikans have already convicted Alex of the accused crimes, because according to bourgeois idealism people are born bad and cannot change. It just so happens that people who are born bad usually have darker skin. Such idealism is only consistent with an ideology of racism.

Like MIM(Prisons), Homies Unidos stressed education of the lumpen to understand why they are where they are, while working to build leaders to change that reality. Those who benefit from the oppression and exploitation of others do not want such change to take place. They will promote individuals who escape criminal life as examples that anyone can succeed in this system (if they try). The lumpen know this is bullshit, but the lumpen need to study to see what real solutions are.

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[Organizing] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 9]
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Inspired to join the struggle in Maryland

I just received my first issue of Under Lock & Key (May 2009, #8). Wow, I'm sold. I'd love to be a comrade in the struggle.

The article titled "Remove the Profit Motive" by the comrade out in California has me sending my money out to my family. I'm becoming indigent as my first step to join the movement. Now I see why they keep building prisons. Thank you for opening my eyes.

I'm going to spread the word here and educate as many as I can while you educate me. This imperialist country spends billions on lost causes while millions are starving and homeless. Please send me literature that will help me to better understand the movement. I'm ready to do whatever I can for the revolution.

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[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 9]
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Mao's Combat Liberalism Very Relevent in PA Prisons

I am writing to let you know that I received Under Lock & Key November 2008 (#5). It seems like the prison might have kept the newspaper for a while like they always do. Anyway, it is very enlightening and helpful. The "Combat Liberalism" essay by Mao Zedong really did touch home because here at SCI Camp Hill SMU there are a lot of prisoners that claim to be political prisoners and against oppression and these degrading, diabolical establishments. But when they see plainly a fellow prisoner being harassed or oppressed through their meals, mail, showers, or yard or something, they all just fall back and say "well it's not us, so it's not my business." This is nauseating. I mean it's to the point where they witness the officers here assaulting a fellow prisoner, again these so-called political minded prisoners against oppression to these diabolical establishments do not do a thing but just fall back and submit to this wickedness and repeat their same hypocritical mottos. As long as it is not happening to them they're fine, cool But let it happen to one of them, then they're up screaming "oppression" and "we as a people."

The fifth type and eighth type from Combat Liberalism are totally on point and we see these just about every day here. The fifth: "to indulge in personal attacks, pick quarrels, vent personal spite or seek revenge instead of entering into an argument and struggling against incorrect views for the sake of unity or progress or getting the work done properly." And the eighth type: "To see someone harming the interests of the masses and yet not feel indignant or dissuade or stop him or reason with him, but to allow him to continue." These two types again stood out and touched home.

The officers here keep coming onto the SMU pod here and poisoning people's minds and keeping individuals bickering and fighting amongst themselves, it's insane. There is not much unity here, thanks to the officers divide and conquer tactics. But who am I to say all of this - they've labeled me an irrational delusional psychopath!

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[Political Repression] [Campaigns] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 9]
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Contaminated Water OK by CDCR

Today I received a response to my Administrator's Appeal (602) on the contaminated water here, from the director of California Corrections and they denied it of course, stating that the levels of arsenic in the water here are not high enough to pose a threat that'll put our (the prisoners') health at risk enough to grant the prisoners clean drinking water. But I say it's bullshit!

I first found out about the high levels of arsenic in the water here at Kern Valley State Prison from the Institution TV Network. They had released a CDC memo stating that the prison's water was contaminated with arsenic and lead levels that are over the EPA's legal limit, and some people who drink such water may be put at risk of having cancer. [Prisoners at Kern Valley have been fighting this battle for over a year.]

[In other news]...Early this week the pigs got mad at me because I'm aiding and assisting this brother to get paid off. The pigs fucked up and put a level 4 prisoner in the cell with a level three, and the level 4 attacked the level three, so I put him up on the game of getting free money from these pigs.

They tried to play me and my cellie against each other by tearing up his personal property and belongings, then leaving my things as they were. We just laughed at the shit though! We see what they were doing from a mile away, and the struggle goes on. They can't stop our forward motion or development.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Once again, state employees are trying to promote violence in state prisons and comrades of MIM(Prisons) are avoiding conflict, while struggling for justice. The CDCR claims to censor MIM(Prisons) because we are a threat to security. If prisoners can no longer be manipulated by staff into fighting each other then the security of the institution is at risk according to the CDCR logic.

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[Spanish] [New York] [ULK Issue 9]
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Líder en Prisión Toma Acción

Actualmente soy un teniente de los Hoover CRIPs en las prisiones estatales de Carolina del Norte. He estado trabajando hacia el establecer mejores relaciones con facciones rivales de los CRIPs en prisión, con las esperanzas de traer solidaridad entre mi nación. Estoy trabajando hacia un nuevo concepto y he ganado mis seguidores. Me gustaría vencer los estereotipos y propaganda para que nosotros, como una organización con publicidad, podrámos usar nuestra imagen para enseñar que la liberación se obtiene atraves de la educación. La busqueda por la verdad es a veces desanimante y si el adquirir sabiduría fuera facil todos la tendríamos.

Me gustaría ver que me organización ayudará con acabar con el racismo, classismo, sexismo y la oppresión. En ves de perjudicar nuestra estanza como un grupo de minorias, nosotros debemos comprometernos a nunca mas servirle a un sistema contento con explotarnos como una comodidad. Me gustaría vernos en la lucha por los derechos civiles y el humanitarismo. No es trabajo fácil el traer estabilidad del caos, pero he ganado segudores con mucha inspiración del movimiento y sobre entendemos que la lucha es más grande que mis problemas personales - más grande que una raza, creo o genero.

MIM(Prison) Añada: Nosotros applaudimos el trabajo de este comarada en traer juntos a grupos de rivales y lo animamos a el y a otros a trabajar hacia la unión, entre cualquier y toda organización dispuesta a trabajar hacia paz verdadera para nuestra gente. Esto significa no solo grupos o facciones de CRIPs rivales, sino que a todas las naciones o organizaciones oprimidas. Cualquier gente oprimida peleando en contra de otra gente oprimida es una perdida de energía y essencialmente es trabajar para el imperialista. Como este comarada señala, la pelea es más grande que asuntos personales.

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[Political Repression] [Organizing] [George-Greene Regional Correctional Facility] [Mississippi] [ULK Issue 9]
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Fighting Corruption in Mi$$i$$ippi Leads to Retaliation

It seems that to go to war with these corruptors (the MDOC) and win is impossible in the good ol' boy state of Mississippi. A while back I filed a Federal Civil Complaint against the South Mi$$i$$ippi Correctional Institute, AKA Green County, under the 1st, 8th and 14th Amendment. The mailroom staff at Green County was censoring my mail, as well as forcing me, as a pulmonary patient, to be housed in a building filled with 85%-plus smokers. Prior to the pre-trial hearing, staff surrendered on the censorship complaints making that issue/claim a moot one. This to me is total b.s., but the judicial law system allows such, and I must bear these costs. It seems that on the 8th amendment violation they thought they could just steamroll over me.

So in February 2009 I went to trial as a pro se litigant, and took on the corrupt state of Mi$$i$$ippi's representatives in the form of two states attorney generals, and the general counsel for the MDOC. They are all highly educated, qualified, and experienced oppressors of the state of Mi$$i$$ippi. I defeated them, even with all their arrogance, with their own rules and on their own grounds. Well they do say payback can be a bitch, and this beastly system has decided to retaliate against me as only they can. In doing so to me, they hope to deter others from daring to challenge the good ol' boys system.

First I was transferred from Green County to Rankin County, Central MS Correctional Facility. Prior to leaving Green County I was shakendown and had a lot of my personal property taken. At Central MS I stayed overnight in transit, was shakendown again, and lost more stuff. Next stop was the Parchman plantation prison where I was housed overnight at Unit 29, affectionately called Castle Greyskull, where upon I lost even more of what little stuff I had left. After a night there I was transferred to our supermax unit, stripped of my minimum custody, and lost even more of what little property I had left, and I am now in a cell with next to nothing.

Previously I spent 6 calendar years in this dungeon from 1996 to 2002. This prior commitment to US2 was because of my length of sentence and nature of crime. Now I am once again housed in Unit 32 behind razor wire, electric wire, NASA technology type cameras, and rollers with vests and super styled chemical agents on their persons, which they seem to use with impunity.

So here I am 53 soon to be 54. I'm cut off from the world, locked in a cell again with little to nothing and no way to get back on my feet. I depend on my oppressors to meet my needs, most of these needs I am fighting for as they do their utmost to keep me from having even the limited amount I am allowed.

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[Abuse] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
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Texas Prisoner Framed and Provoked

I'm on lockdown at the Allred unit. I've been placed on high security for the time being for assault on a correctional officer. But the truth is I was actually the one assaulted. These cowards (officers) are abusing their authority by participating in criminal activities and covering up their unlawful behavior.

On March 15, 2009 I was forced to defend myself which resulted in physical violence. Sgt. J. Davis approached me on my way to the recreational area and took an altered t-shirt from me and started talking trash to me about a bogus cause he and one of his female officers wrote on me. I tried to plead my case and explain that the case was not legit, because I wasn't nowhere around to receive a case. When the case was written I was in school, but Sgt. Davis continued to harass me. So, I told him that he can write all the cases he wants I don't care, if that's how he chooses to wage war that he was a weak strategist.

Sgt. J. Davis said "Oyea! Well how do you like this!" Sgt. Davis then assaulted me by hitting me in the face with a closed fist, busting my upper lip. That's when I defended myself. I was then assaulted again by another officer named Moore, and sprayed with chemical agent and slammed on the floor. After being placed in restraints and sprayed I was kicked in the face.

Since then I've had all my property stolen, I've been threatened by numerous officers, and been placed in closed custody (high security). I had one officer threaten to poison my food in front of other officers. They just laughed about the shit! I've filed grievances and other complaints on staff, so far the O.I.G. has contacted me, and are currently investigating my claim. I really don't trust the O.I.G., or any other prison authority figure, is there any advice you could give to help me and my current situation?

I do apologize for not writing sooner, but this is why I haven't been able to respond to your newsletters as quickly as I should. Your Under Lock & Key (news you can use) has really motivated me. I need the motivation right now, so thank you, MIM, and the rest of my oppressed brothers and sistahs that contribute inspiring and important information to Brothers like me.

Under Lock & Key makes my time a lot easier, and I'm starting to understand the prison environment a little bit better.

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[Abuse] [Federal Correctional Complex Coleman USP II] [Florida] [ULK Issue 9]
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Pig Enables Stabbing of Prisoner in Riot

I'm a prisoner currently in the SHU in an Atlanta, GA transfer unit writing to you in regards to a legal matter I need assistance with. On January 25, 2009 at 2:10 P.M. on the USP Coleman 2 (Florida) recreation yard a major riot involving over 100 Hispanic inmates jumped off on the soccer field here while I and hundreds of other prisoners were watching a football game. The emergency announcement system was activated at which time I complied right away by getting down on the field.

I feel I was a victim of racial profiling for the simple fact that while complying, an unknown officer overlooked all other non-Hispanic inmates around me and restrained me. While I was face down on the ground and being restrained by this officer, I was then attacked by unknown assailants. While this officer held me down on the ground I was kicked, beat and stabbed. While I was repeatedly beaten and kicked, this unknown officer showed a great deal of negligence and blatant disregard for my life and safety when instead of protecting me or even helping me to a safe place, he just abandoned me, leaving me at the hands of my assailants. With this officer nowhere in sight, I made my way off the soccer field and to the safety of another officer who detained and cuffed me.

I was finally seen by Coleman medical staff who noticed the severity of the stab wound to my stomach and at which time I was air lifted to an Orlando, Florida based hospital where I underwent emergency surgery.

Coleman officers and staff failed to react properly and whether it was a lack of training or whatever, were obviously not prepared for such a major riot, and in being so unprofessional ultimately resulted in my near-death assault. I've unsuccessfully been trying to make contacts with legal firms or people who could help me with a lawsuit against the FBOP. A chaplain over here in Atlanta gave me one of your newsletters (Under Lock & Key) and told me your publication could help me find legal assistance with me filing a lawsuit. So with that said, I'd appreciate your help and response.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Unfortunately we do not have the resources to help the many comrades like this one who write to us for assistance with their legal battles. We are not even able to put sufficient resources into our own legal battles like the fight against censorship of Under Lock and Key. We print this letter to expose what is going on behind bars and encourage those with legal knowledge to step forward to help others.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
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Step up to expose and fight brutality

I am here in the Allred unit in Texas. I was reading a homie's Under Lock & Key paper back in Connally Unit and I would like to give thanks to him for putting me on this kind of work. I was reading that article about Peace in the Streets and I would like to comment on it. It's time to step up and help our people move up in this oppressed world. I've seen a lot of things that go on this side of the walls at Allred Unit.

For example, me and my cellie were going through shake down one day, and before we got to the front I told him not to disrespect them because these pigs are so dirty that they will mess us over. So we went through shakedown and everything went right, and then in a heartbeat this pig slammed him right on the ground with his face down. I told them we need to get medical down here for him and the only thing they said was he asked for it. So that's why I ask my people in the struggle to please not put yourself in that situation because what I have seen in these walls is like what happened to that prisoner Larry Cox in Huntsville TX who died due to shortage of medical staff in 2007.

I think about how many people die behind these prison walls and nobody knows what's going on. It's time to step up because we've been oppressed all this time.

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[Education] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 9]
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Only the Educated are Free

Back in 100 A.D. a greek philosopher named Epictetus uttered these five words: "Only the educated are free." Today these five words ring true to a lot of us who find ourselves in residence behind the walls of the United States prison system. The U.S. has 5% of the world's population, yet is responsible for 25% of the world's prison population. 1 in every 31 adults in the United States is in jail, prison, or on some sort of supervised release. Now, with that in mind, we prisoners should have a strong voice, and I applaud MIM for trying to help us organize that voice for the common good.

Where do we start? Go back to the quote I opened with, and then take a look at MIM platform plank number one: Primary, secondary and college education free to the whole world. Let's localize that to ourselves for the time being. As "guests" of the prison system, we have lots of free time. In case you have not noticed, the government has no problem with us using all that time to play cards, watch TV, maybe take a few of their so-called "educational" programs and basically kick us out the door no better than we were when we came in. There are a ton of correspondence courses available to prisoners from many different colleges in many different disciplines. Apparently though, a criminal seeking a higher education, to better himself while behind bars, scares those in charge.

In 1994, the government stopped awarding Pell grants to prisoners to pay for their education. Considering that, by the Bureau of Prisons' own statistics, 40% was the average recidivism rate for parolees in general compared to only 5% for those with college degrees. So one would have to ask, why would the government choose to promote recidivism versus education? There are two simple answers: money and fear. The government makes too much money off of prison and the fruits of prison labor.

As for fear, the government is scared that the prison population will become educated, vocal and organized, which is exactly what needs to happen. Groups like MIM are going to make it happen. I encourage all of you to start a writing campaign. U.S. Senator Jim Webb has vowed to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system from top to bottom to "fix" it. Well, here's a chance to let our collective voice be heard. Encourage other prisoners to write, encourage your families to write:

Senator Jim Webb
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Ask why only the rich and the white collar criminals are deemed worthy of outside education and a realistic shot at not coming back to prison.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Send us copies of letters sent to Senator Webb so that we can also publicize this struggle. We also point our readers to Under Lock and Key issue #8 where we discussed in detail the economics of prisons. In reality the government is not making money off prison labor, but they are benefiting greatly from the social control provided by the prison system.

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[Spanish] [Florida] [ULK Issue 9]
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Organizaciones callejeras y organizamiento revolucionario

Como joven revolucionario, yo me encuentro acercandome a 10 años de ser miembro de los Almighty Latin Kings (Reyes Latinos todo Poderosos). Ha tenido sus altas y bajas, pero me ha convertido en el hermano que se encuentra aquí sentado escribiendo estas palabras. Algunas veces yo me molesta cuando leo MIM’s y alguien escribe hablando de que era ex-miembro de una Pandilla. Por que una persona tiene que dejar todo en lo que él cree por equis cantidad de años para cambiar su vida? Si yo tuviese que dejar mi nación para hacer un cambio para mejorar, estos ultimos 10 años de mi vida serían nada más que una mentira. Yo no miro a ALKQN como una Pandilla, porque nunca en mis 10 años yo he participado en pandillerismo, ni me he puesto colores. Pero eso no significa que como hombre yo no he cometido errores. Yo he estado viviendo en los campos de concentración de Amerika por una mejor parte de mi vida. Aquí yo he aprendido a leer y a escribir, y como ser un hombre. Sino fuese por la ALKQN, yo todavía fuese un alma perdida, sordo, estupido, y ciego justo como los imperialistas nos quieren.

Cuando yo leo MIMs y eschuo de hermanos en Nueva Jersey que estan enseñando a otros Reyes y a miembros de UBN (United Bloods Nation) a leer y a escribir, y no solo pasando revistas XXL y VIBE, de eso es lo que Reyismo se trata. No pandillerismo. Siendo yo de Brick City, yo se directamente es el NJDOC, asi que mi amor va para todos esos camaradas que se encuentran en el GU, sin importar cuales sean sus afiliaciones. Tu no tienes que dejar de ser tu para mantenerte fuera de la prisión. No los dejes que te engañen, joven hermano.

Como una vez dijó uno de los hermanos más revolucionarios de nuestra bella isla (Albizu Campos) “Despierta Boricua; defiende lo tuyo!”

MIM(Prisiones) responde: Nosotros aprendemos cosas atravez de nuestras vidas que nos lleva a hacer cambios en lo que pensamos y hacemos. Aprendiendo sobre politicas revolucionarias y moviendose fuera de una organización callejera para estar envuelto en organizamiento no hace la historia de uno una mentira. Algunos camaradas trabajando con MIM(Prisoniones) se quedan con sus organizaciones callejeras y otros eligen dejarlas cuando entran en politicas revolucionarias. Muchas veces estas deciciones tienen base en lo que sus organizaciones callejeras estan metidas, y en lo que individualmente una camarada piensa que puede hacer como miembro. Si una persona es miembro de una organización callejera que no soporta el trabajo anti-imperialista, puede ser tiempo de moverse de esa organización callejera. Sin embargo, nosotros respetamos a esos camaradas que quieren quedarse con sus organizaciones callejeras y promover anti-imperialismo dentro del grupo. Hay papeles importantes para ambos acercamientos.

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[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 9]
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Lumpen Organizations Unite

It has come time for all of us who have become politically active to stand together as one united front, proselytizing unity amongst the Black street tribes. It is time for the warriors of our people to lock flags and step into history. It has become increasingly clear that our continued genocidal tendencies are at our own destruction, peril and demise.

We are constantly under attack by the paramilitary style police units in every city that brutally occupies our communities, the very unrighteous injustice and revenge procedures masquerading as a fair and balanced judicial system, and of course the modern day slave plantation known as prison with its oppressive family-destroying, man-breaking psychological warfare. We have endured much pain inflicted by these forces, but it pales in comparison to the pain, sorrow and death we have inflicted upon each other.

Just imagine the beautiful power that is in our uniting against the elements that thrive successfully because of our difficulties and divided strata. It is time for all the warriors of the street tribes to realize that together we are unstoppable. It is time for those of us with influence, stripes, rank and respect to start believing in and advocating the uniting of the lumpen organizations.

Brotha Frantz Fanon said "Every generation has a mission, it is up to that generation to fulfill or betray that mission." I believe our generation's mission is uniting. It is in the best interest of not only our individual tribes, but most important it is in the best interest of our people as a whole. It is up to our generation, this generation, to evolve from so-called criminals, gangstas and thugs, into men, human beings who believe in our ability to be warriors and souljahs in one united front fighting on the front line to ensure the life of our people.

Revolutionize yourself, become new men, liberate yourself mentally. The honorable brotha Malcolm X once said "I do not pretend to be a divine man...I am not educated nor am I an expert in any particular field but I am sincere and my sincerity is my credentials."

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[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 9]
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Prisons Using Agents to Expose Active Prisoners

Being confined in this new millennium has caused me to wonder about the intelligence of prisoners who receive benefits from the theft, conversion and criminal actions of those charged with enforcing laws, rules and regulations. Here you have prisoners who accept from correctional officers magazines, books, and other items of value that belong to other prisoners and smile and grin saying they came up. Basically at the expense of another prisoner. It's the same old practice used by law enforcement time after time on unsuspecting prisoners they see as potential sources of intelligence and are used until they have no further use and are tossed back to the lions with the customary amusement.

I can not, for the life of me, understand why a prisoner will go out of his way to provide correctional staff and officials intelligence that establishes that a prisoner has membership or association with a prison gang, street gang, or other disruptive group which automatically requires special attention and placement considerations which could include being indefinitely confined in a security housing unit until that individual rats out his comrades, dies or paroles, yet there seems to be new acceptance.

It's amusing to me when I see some of these characters bragging and boasting being validated by the prisoncrats as a gang member while making it a point to ask others, typically around the picklesuits, "are you active". It's as if the new concept of the penal system is to not only tell on yourself but trick others to tell on themselves! It's as if prison agent provacateurism has gained tacit acceptance, and some new status symbolism.

When asked if I am active, I have to ask "active in what?" Since as with so many other English language concepts the word has been coopted into supposedly meaning one thing for the dumb down prisoner but in reality meaning something significantly more onerous to the prisoncrats. And it's no secret but many in the prison population have yet to understand or realize the significance and these concepts and ideas are becoming interwoven into the fabric of prison social structure, forcing many real men to adopt anti-social positions in order to stay out of the cross.

Being a general population prisoner of consciousness, I do not miss much. However I have noted that there are so many idiots who are sycophants to an old concept that has morphed and changed into something that is truly malevolent. One has to go back to the number one concept of "trust no one" with anything of any import. Those who are real you will be able to tell, and those who are not will eventually expose themselves. Educate yourselves and pay attention is all I can advise you in this CDCR trap in which many do not seriously consider the reality of the struggle, but instead practice acceptance.

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[Organizing] [Utah State Prison] [Utah] [ULK Issue 9]
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Unite to work with MIM(Prisons)

Since I last wrote to you I’ve been studying with MIM(Prisons) cell study course and had the privilege of seeing one of these punk pigs here at the Utah Supermax solitary unit fired. Not only was Feikert fired for sexual misconduct, but it seems he’s pursuing a lawsuit himself against the DOC. Let them bite each others swine throats I say. He’s back at work though on some form of legal matter but hopefully not for long.

The interview with Mfalme Sikivu in ULK 7 was right on and I respect what he and the UFD are doing. Though the comrade from Texas’s words were the most heartfelt I believe. I think we should all try harder to see things for what they really are instead of putting our own personal slant on issues. Being a realist for sure isn’t the easiest way to be but it’s the truest.

Take for example my comrades here in UINTA One solitary. Day in and day out these pigs taunt and seek reactions so they can keep us here longer or take all our stuff and place us on strip cell. Most comrades are wise to that approach but it’s when these pigs turn us against ourselves that most convicts become tricked into acting out.

I don’t see how some people can become friends and sit there talking to these pigs. You see my friend just hanged himself and the next day I hear ”I don’t care about you pieces of shit, I never lost a single moment of sleep over you scumbags” or “Spider went home, 4a, Hoopers on early release” as they laugh like it’s funny.

To my comrades in neighboring cells no matter if they’re white or black, I will be beside all you comrades when revolution is necessary. I see the economic recession as just another sign the U.$. is weakening and I can feel the anger turned to knowledge in each of your ULK submissions. I’m glad to be a part of MIM.

Imperialism is the enemy first, all this other shit second but it’s not time to just wait for a movement. We are the movement, every time one of us wins a lawsuit or cracks a law or history book we win. Slowly we’re winning, growing, learning.

Just keep your heads up out there, especially those sitting in these solitary dungeons. It’s not east-side west-side, it’s the oppressed-side. We are all family in this and we are going to take the power back because we speak truth, we bleed justice.

I am alive today because of MIM and the ideals I’ve learned there. The anger's not focused inward anymore, but outward towards learning how to better myself instead of destroy myself. Because they want us to go off, they want us to die. It’s what they don’t want that scares them, that gets through to them. They fear real equality, justice and peace. I mean their minds can’t grasp the possibility of liberty for all. It’s our jobs to blaze a trail, to show the way.

Budget cuts here at the USP have knocked indigent envelopes down from 5 a week to just one a week which is hateful. The fact that paper got cut too from 25 pieces a week to just 5 is a matter I’m grieving (freedom of expression) because we here in the hole aren’t allowed to buy any writing materials other than 15 envelopes a week. So we (some of us) have 15 envelopes but only 5 pieces of paper.

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[Political Repression] [Legal] [U.S. Penitentiary Florence] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 9]
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Fighting the Real Gangs with Paperwork

I got a hold of your March 2009 No 7 issue. It was the first time I ever saw a MIM(Prisons)'s Under Lock & Key newsletter. One of your articles really reached out to me, about the administration being the real gang. I’m in the feds at USP Florence. I’m currently going through the administrative remedy process for 2 reasons. #1 is my case manager not doing his job. I was supposed to be out February 12th but my case manager has messed my paperwork up so bad, and on more than one occasion, so that I won’t be out until May 14th. The only reason I’m even getting out in May is because my family on the street applied pressure to the proper offices. And my derelict case manager doesn’t even have so much as a reprimand in his file. Just to give you an example of his shoddy work, check this: I’m from Washington DC, and when Mr. Pacheko presented me with my initial release papers they were for an address in Southern California.

The second grievance I’m filing is in relation to a shakedown. I’m currently in SHU on admin-seg. The captain and riot squad came and took everybody to the rec cage area and made us all strip and spread eagle. This took place on 3-25-09 when the temp was below 30 degrees. This strip search was in direct violation of FBOP program statement 5521.04, the 6th circuit ruling in Cornwell v. Dahlberg, and the 4th amendment to the US Constitution. Since I’m in SHU I have to wait for a member of my unit team to respond to get administrative remedies. Since I filed the first remedy, nobody from my unit team has been to see me. Effectively they are killing my ability to file anything further.

To any prisoner anywhere who reads this, I want you to know that prison guards and administrators don’t care if you have a violent outburst to staff misconduct. That’s exactly what they want you to do. So then they can gas you, assault you, and then write you an incident report. The only things these people care about is filing paperwork. I’ve been put out of two institutions for “disrupting the orderly running of the institution” because I file lots of paperwork on behalf of myself and others. Remember, if you do something wrong they write you up. So you have to write them back up.

MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade that it's important we use the legal system to fight the abuses of the criminal injustice system. When you take on the system you can also use the pages of Under Lock and Key to expose the injustice and publicize your battles.

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[Organizing] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 9]
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LOs Must Organize for the People

I'm writing this letter as a growing New Afrikan prisoner and gang leader and founder of the NC State East Coast Consolidated Crip Organization (ECCO) prison group. What prompted me to write this particular letter was the March 2008 #7 Under Lock & Key interview with Comrade Mfalme Sikivu. Even without having an affiliation with the Ujamaa Field Dynasty, I can agree to their message and that of their doctrine from what was given in the interview.

I believe there comes a time in our lives for those of us who live our life illegal, or gang members, prisoners, etc., that we realize what oppression is and how we take active roles in repressing ourselves and our communities. Not for all, but for most of us, I'd say it's natural to want to contribute to productive change and liberation from what ignorance has bound us to. I encourage all my comrades in Lumpen groups to contact the UFD to have a better understanding of the UFD and their goals as to realize their struggle is our struggle, their liberation is our liberation. It takes all of us as responsible adults to fight for what we know is right and to learn from each other.

We can be gang members and still identify with the set and hoods we're from while deprogramming ourselves and killing our own for rank and a name in some cases. There's no sense to it. Anybody with common sense should realize violence for any number of reasons normally is responded to with equal or greater violence. As a Hoover Crip I've killed or harmed more Crips from rival chapters than the United Blood Nation. I'm not justifying or advocating my actions, I'm making a point from what I know. We each have the potential to do right, if we make a dedicated attempt. While I do agree with the statement Mfalme made that lumpen will not fundamentally change, I do so because I don't feel we have enough educated leaders and programs in and out of prison to help us come to a new understanding.

The Crips and the Bloods have decades of bad relations and bloodshed between us that has spread all across the United States, Africa and South America. A 6 month to a year program, half run by capitalist and police who don't know or care about us, who in most cases entice us to kill each other, can't be expected to change the damage.

Remember, it's on us to defeat our criminal mentalities and create a future for our families. No one can break our bad habits for us and for us as gang members, pimps, drug dealers, etc., to continue down the same path is self-destruction for us and those who care for us, or depend on us. Each one, teach one and we will obtain the light we seek. And support the UFD goals, if not the UFD, learn from them and apply what's taught to your own groups to help our communities grow and prosper.

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[Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
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Real Revolutionaries Locked Down in Texas

It’s been nearly 17 years since I was removed from the streets of San Antonio, Texas. In many ways I truly consider it a blessing. I was a gang-banger in every sense of the word, til one day I was arrested for a gang-related shooting. Even within the confines of the Bexar County Jail on into the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system I continued to represent my hood to the utmost.

Somewhere along the lines deep within my soul I began to view life from a different perspective. I began to see others for who they truly are, my human brothers. I elevated my understanding from being Mr. Do-Dirty loc to Mr. Shakwamu. Through all of this I pursued further education so now I hold three associate degrees and I’m awaiting unit transfer to begin work on my Bachelors degree.

The reason for my correspondence is because after reading several articles which were published in your periodical I notice an alarming trend among people who write in (in particular Crips and Bloods). Many brothers feel the unnecessary need to reveal who they are in these organizations, not truly understanding that they've marked themselves for the administration. I can’t speak for other states, but in Texas I don’t care who you say you are, you will not get locked up unless you are a serious threat to the system. I look in the dayroom from my cell and see the brothers who claim to represent these revolutionary ideas and none can accurately tell me what it means to be a revolutionary.

This is why many Crips and Bloods are not in segregation in Texas. In truth they are treated like kids. It’s appalling how a brother can openly declare himself an enemy of the system (only in title) and yet the system doesn’t feel the need to protect itself from him. Brothers need to do some serious soul searching and self-evaluation and find who they truly are. It’s only a matter of time before we find that who we perceive we are now is merely a façade.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is right that the politics behind who gets put in segregation is very much tied to who the system sees as a threat. At the same time, various prison systems are pitting different oppressed nation groups against each other and against whites, and locking people up selectively in solitary to fuel these battles. All revolutionaries should strive to make the best use of their time behind bars. This means not giving out information to the pigs that they can use against you. Being a revolutionary is about work and study, and revolutionaries can make the best use of their time in general population.

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[Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 9]
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Turning from Violence to Progressive Organizing Gets Prisoner Validated and Locked Down

It is a sincere pleasure to receive the open letter detailing the progressive actions you all have been taking. As we see with Obama, it is not enough for us to continue down the line of just using titles such as capitalism, racism, imperialism, fascism, colonialism, classism, and oppression. We must call them out one by one. For example: when capitalist/fascist Dianne Feinstein presents legislation that further targets the lumpen/proletarian class, we must send out operatives in the area to challenge her by contradicting the very policies she’s introducing. We have enough public record information to use against these politicians who continue to draw up policies that line their pockets with corporate profits at the expense of humanity.

We have New African politicians such as the Congressional Black Caucus who are affected by the fraud and control. They must be sought out and called out on the very oppressive policies that they support like when Rep. Maxine Waters was in support of legislation that authorized a one million dollar bounty on Assata Shakur, who is in exile in Cuba after escaping from the imperialist state that sought to murder her. When she was called on it she said that she didn’t know her by that name!

We are dealing with spineless individuals who not only support all these draconian laws but don’t inform their constituents of what these racist policies will do to them, like when Bill Clinton was made to be seen as the first Black President. He is responsible for passing the Prison Litigation Reform Act which is an extremely anti-prisoner policy. Lawyers' incentives were taken away which had encouraged lawyers to take prisoners cases. He was also responsible for the Death Penalty/Terrorist Act in 1996 sealing the fate of thousands of poor disenfranchised New Afrikans, Latinos and poor whites to life in prison. This made it next to impossible to challenge criminal cases in the courts after one year.

We must challenge each and every one of these sell-out politicians when they support policies that are anti-human in nature. We must hold them accountable by voting them out of office.

Most of my life I’ve been incarcerated. I had a reputation as one of the “leading Bloods” in the prison system. My fate was sealed until my mother was killed in a car accident in 1996 and it was a letter she wrote to me that I received about 3 days after finding out she was killed. This letter was ironically a brief biography of her life that revealed to me all these things I didn’t know about her, like she was a Sgt. of arms in the Black Panther Party, and that she was responsible for introducing the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program. She assisted in the escape of Angela Davis. It was an honorable surprise because it explained why our childhood was so radical for my brothers and I, where the FBI kicked in our doors routinely and we moved constantly. Therefore my disdain for authority that abuses its position is strong.

I was already questioning my past actions because even as a misguided youth I tried to be rooted in a moral sense where I would justify my actions by saying that those individuals who I wronged were wrong. Yet looking back, I never liked what I saw and it’s really crazy because I found out my mother was a revolutionary when I always thought she was a gangster of some sort because of what I saw with the FBI and others constantly harassing her and my step-father when I was a child.

I learned that law enforcement does’t just go after bad guys, but also good ones. This led me to redirect my energy toward the interests of my people. If you could see my past history in the penal system, where I was extremely destructive from 1976 to 1996, it wasn’t until I became productive/constructive from 1996 until now that I became a threat. All the stabbings, assaults on prisoners, and a couple of staff, didn’t seal my fate in these gulags. It wasn’t until I became a progressive in organizing prisoners towards their own interests that I was validated as a prison gang member and placed in SHU indefinitely in 2000.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter is yet another excellent illustration of why we say that revolutionaries are the real advocates of peace while the criminal injustice system punishes those who oppose violence. We also agree with this prisoner that it's important to point out the bad policies enacted by politicians, but we disagree with his suggestion that we vote these politicians out of office. Voting won't change anything, because the only people who can get elected are those who serve the interests of the system. Changing the face of the oppressor will not put an end to oppression. Only the overthrow of the oppressive imperialist system will truly bring peace to the majority of the world's people.

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[Organizing] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 9]
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Lumpen Organizations and Revolutionary Organizing

As a young revolutionary, I find myself coming up on 10 years of being an Almighty Latin King member. It has had its ups and downs, but it's made me into the brother that is sitting here writing these words. Sometimes, I find myself getting mad when I read MIM's newsletter and somebody writes talking about they were x gang members. Why would a person have to leave all they believe in for years to change their life? If I would have to leave my nations to make a change for the better, these last 10 years of my life would have been nothing but a lie. I don't look at the ALKQN as a gang, because I've never in my 10 years gangbang'd or put on colors, but that doesn't mean I haven't made mistakes as a man. I've been coming to Amerika's concentration camp for a better part of my life. I've learned how to read and write here, and how to be a man. If not for the ALKQN I would still be a lost soul, deaf, dumb and blind just like the imperialists like us.

When I read ULK and hear of brothers in New Jersey who are teaching other Kings and the UBN how to read and write and not just passing XXL and Vibes around, that's what Kingism is all about. Not gangbanging. Me being from Brick city I know first hand how the NJDOC is, so my love goes out to all your comrades in the GU no matter what your affiliations are. You don't have to stop being you to stay out of prison, don't let them fool you young brother.

As one of the most revolutionary brothers of our beautiful island once said (Albizu Campos), "Despierta Boricua!; Defiende lo tuyo!"

MIM(prisons) responds: We learn things throughout our lives that lead us to make changes in what we think and do. Learning about revolutionary politics and moving out of a Lumpen Organization (LO) to be involved in revolutionary organizing does not make one's history a lie. Some comrades working with MIM(Prisons) stay with their LOs and some choose to leave when they come into revolutionary politics. These decisions are often based on what their LOs are into, and what the individual comrades think they can accomplish as a member. If a person is a part of an LO that is not supportive of anti-imperialist work, it may be time to move on from that LO. On the other hand, we respect those comrades who want to stay with their LOs and promote anti-imperialism within the group. There are important roles for both approaches.

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[Gender] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 9]
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Response to Gender Issue of ULK

I am writing to let it be known that I had no problem receiving the January 2009 issue of ULK. It is such an honor and a privilege to be a recipient of such a fine publication.

While reading the latest issue of ULK I noticed something that made me stop and think really hard. That something was that throughout the entire newsletter there was some type of mentioning of women in nearly every issue. I point that out because I have a story to tell about how women are making life harder for prisoners.

Before I go any further with this please let me say to my fellow comrades that I love women to the utmost. The way they smell, the sound of their voice, the way they look, the way they walk, everything; I'm the furthest thing from a sexist anyone can imagine. Let's face the facts though, women are some very emotional beings. Emotions that when not contained or kept in check could prove to be very detrimental to a person such as myself.

When dealing with women working in a men's prison, one has to be very careful about what they do, and what they say. Because you never know when you'll become a victim of one of her emotional outbursts.

Case in point: One morning on return from gym call, as I headed to my cell for an institutional count I had asked the female officer in the booth over the intercom was she going around for count to which she replied, "no". I was going to my cell to wash myself since I was all sweaty from playing basketball in the gym, and I could not take a shower before lunch call because the showers don't cut on until 5 o'clock. I had asked that female officer, was she coming through for count, out of respect because I knew that there was a slight possibility that she would, being that we can't cover our cell door windows, and I knew that I would be washing myself. Out of respect for women I did this. So when she told me no, that she wasn't coming around for count, I went to my cell, got completely naked, and proceeded to wash myself.

You can imagine what happened next. Unknown to me, the very same female officer walks right past my door to count me while I'm standing there completely naked washing my body. It wasn't a problem to me but I didn't want this lady thinking that I had disrespected her. So after count was cleared I went looking for her to apologize. I couldn't find her for the rest of that day. I thought that maybe she was called to another unit to work.

The following day however, I was called to the sergeants office, and was told that I had a write up for being naked in my cell, stroking my penis in an up and down motion during count time when this particular female officer came past my cell door to count me. What? I was outraged. I tried calmly to explain the situation to the sergeant, but if you're a prisoner you already know that a prisoner's word versus an officer's word is no good, and whatever that officer says is what it is. I felt completely defenseless. I was, because I knew that no matter what I said or did this facility's disciplinary board was going to find me guilty. I tried though. I tried to get them to understand the situation, but these people are truly stuck in their ways even when the truth, and facts are right before their eyes.

In the disciplinary hearing the hearing officer stated in their summary that they find that this act was not intentional, but still found me guilty. Resulting in the punishment of $10 taken out of my account (money that my people send me, I only get $20 every other month), 45 days segregation time, loss of telephone privilege for 30 days, 10 days credit time less, 40 hours extra duty time, and one month limited draw (meaning that I can only spend $10 a week instead of 40). On top of all that I've been red-flagged to be placed on I-CON (intensive control) which is being placed in segregation for at least 6 months, because this is my second high level offense within the last 6 months. The first one was refusing to produce a urine sample for a drug test. I got that because I couldn't piss on demand.

I've shared this story with you comrades so that you can see for yourself just how easy it is for a female working in a prison to cause so much hardship for a prisoner. On the outside looking in you just see that I'll be doing a lot of months in segregation. You don't recognize what effect that has on me and my family. Because now that I'm in segregation visits are now behind the glass, meaning that I can't hug my sons, mother, and sisters if they choose to come see me shackled, handcuffed, and chained up behind a glass window. Now my people think that it's a waste of money to have to pay for write ups, using money that could've been well spent somewhere else; resulting in them not really wanting to send me money anymore. I also have another charge added onto my DOC record which will be looked at by a judge being that I'm trying to get back into court. Now the judge is going to see that I can't behave myself in prison, why should he really grant me a motion for appropriate relief if I'm unable to control myself in prison? That's what he's going to be thinking. Now my chances of getting a motion granted are even smaller.

These are just a few ways that my life and the lives of my family and loved ones are affected by a female coming to work emotionally distressed. Nothing I can do about it either. That's the sad part. All I can do is live my life one day at a time with hopes that I'll be released from captivity earlier than the 2020 release date set for me.

Throughout my entire life women played a significant role in how things went for me, some good, some bad. It just goes to show that that saying is true, "women, can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em."

MIM(Prisons) responds: First we want to dispel some mistaken ideas about what sexism is. This prisoner suggests that because he loves women he is not sexist. But sexism has nothing to do with what one likes or loves. Sexism is the systematic view that women are in some way inferior to men. And in the case of this prisoner, his characterization of women as "very emotional beings" is actually a good example of sexist views. We're not trying to say this prisoner is unusual in his sexism. In fact, right now we all live under a patriarchal system that teaches us sexist views from birth, and that's not something we can just wish away. It's more important that we work on fighting systematic oppression than attempting to change an individual's well ingrained attitudes and views. But we mention this here because it is important for everyone to see how their views run counter to the goals of our overall struggle against all forms of oppression.

We do not doubt the truth of this story about the female officer mistreating the writer. But there is nothing in the incident that suggests that female officers are more dangerous or emotional than male officers. The pages of Under Lock and Key are filled with accounts of male officers taking advantage of prisoners' (both male and female) position of powerlessness to abuse them, file false accusations, and even take sexual favors. Male officers can be just as emotional and illogical as female officers - in both cases this is more about abusing power than some inherent irrational nature. Giving people positions of power in the Amerikan criminal injustice system encourages this sort of behavior.

What is interesting about this prisoner's story is the demonstration of a womyn exercising gender power over a man. This is not because this womyn was irrational and emotional, but instead because of the systematic position of powerlessness faced by (mostly male) prisoners in Amerika, and the relative power enjoyed by the guards (both male and female). Behind the bars men as a group end up gender oppressed, but on the streets they enjoy gender power over wimmin. The common theme of gender in the issue of Under Lock and Key that this prisoner read was meant to demonstrate this and put gender oppression in the context of the Amerikan criminal injustice system.

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