The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 76/No. 31      August 20, 2012

Subscriptions to prisoners
nearly double over year
(feature article)
The Militant is getting around in prisons across the country. Sixty workers behind bars currently subscribe to the socialist newsweekly—nearly double the number compared to this time last year. Many got their first glimpse of the paper from a fellow inmate and are themselves now using it to help spread the voice of working-class resistance.

Nineteen inmates subscribe to the paper in Florida alone. One new subscriber at a prison in that state recently sent in a $15 donation.

Some subscribers are in solitary confinement, including in the notorious SHU (Security Housing Units) in California—windowless, 8-by-10-foot cells where prisoners are held for at least 22 hours a day, sometimes for decades at a stretch, with little human contact.

Last year thousands of prisoners in California joined in hunger strikes in July and September demanding relief from this barbarous treatment.

Last year in the Sept. 19 issue, the Militant printed a letter from a hunger striker imprisoned in Pelican Bay, Calif. “I enjoyed the coverage you gave of the California hunger strike. I felt the need to give thanks to you for the support on this issue and to give an account of the protest from one of the participants here,” it said.

Following a description of the conditions in the SHU and the fight against it, the letter concluded: “As each day passes, more poor people are crammed into these tombs. Yet in these dark gulags, clenched fists are being raised in greater numbers, and these tombs are being transformed into schools for revolution.”

More recently, in the June 18 issue, the Militant printed a letter from another inmate who has been in the SHU for the last 15 years. “I would be most grateful if I was added to your mailing list. Reading material is like gold in here. I’ll be sure to share with the rest of the fellow comrades,” he wrote.

The Militant is most grateful to have partisans like these fighters behind bars and looks forward to expanding our circulation in prisons across the country.

Subscriptions to prisoners are made possible by contributions from Militant readers to our Prisoners’ Fund. The fund makes it possible for inmates, often with help from friends or family, to order subscriptions at reduced rates of $6 for every six months. Six-month subscriptions are also offered free of charge for those who have no means to pay.

We always appreciate hearing from fellow workers behind bars. Below are some of the letters the Militant has received from prisoners since June.

Lea Sherman is the Militant business manager.


A means to push stricter laws

Since the enactment of the Patriot Act, we’ve lost our identity, the incentive to be able to learn from our mistakes. We’ve become gang members, terrorists, criminals—a lost cause. We are not represented either in class or politics. We’ve become propaganda, news, a means to push for stricter laws, more law enforcement, less freedom in exchange for the appearance and sense of “safety.”

At this very moment, if you possess any form of a criminal record, you are being targeted, entrapped, set up or just picked up and charged with conspiracy.

I’m facing a guideline range of 360 months to life on a trumped-up charge that carries a five-year mandatory minimum. The extra 25 years to life constitutes enhancements due to my prior criminal history. A history I’ve paid my dues for.

This is what we are facing as citizens of a free nation. Morning raids, breaking down the doors of your house, pointing guns at your family, your children, ripping you from your home, throwing you into a detention center, charging you $10 for a twenty-minute phone call, restricting you from being able to touch your family on visits, put on the judicial assembly line with federal public defenders who neglect to, or more commonly, refuse to advocate your case, coercing you to accept a plea bargain while intimidating you because the feds have a 97 percent conviction rate. … I could go on but the bottom line is: no choice, no rights, no representation.

A prisoner
Rhode Island

Seeking knowledge of struggles

I’m interested in your Pathfinder books and any other material that expresses sympathy towards the struggles that be. I’m trying to make it in the prison system day by day. I’m working basically for free and I don’t have the proper funds to obtain knowledge of the struggles, but I would like to obtain it if I could. Your help is needed in this matter to increase my enlightenment.

A prisoner

Recently came across paper

I recently came across a copy of your newspaper and enjoyed reading it very much. I would like to start a subscription to it, but I am in prison and can’t afford it at this time.

Do you have a reduced rate for persons like myself?

Thanks in advance for your help.

A prisoner

We need stronger unions

Thank you for the six-month subscription to the Militant. It’s a great newspaper and I will be looking forward to getting it every week. Thank you for keeping folks informed about prisoners struggles and for fighting for the rights of all working people.

Recently I saw an article in my hometown newspaper from Stockton, Mo., about candidates for Missouri State Representative and noticed that Mr. Warren Love seems to be against unions.

Being from that area, I know that it is one of the poorest parts of Missouri, maybe if we had stronger unions, workers wouldn’t have to settle for low paying jobs.

Thanks again. Keep up the good fight.

A prisoner

Just a short note …

… to let you know that I continue to receive your publication and thank you for it.

A prisoner

‘Militant’ needed for study groups

Greetings of Solidarity! I write as a Revolutionist to inform you of my change of address. I have been receiving your paper for sometime and the subscription has stopped. I am indigent and not able to pay for a subscription. So if you could, I ask that you please add me back to your mailing list.

Throughout the months, myself and others have been using your newspaper in study groups I have put together concerning social issues. I would like to continue receiving your paper. It would be a blessing.

A prisoner

Passing paper around in yard

I love what the Militant is putting out to the masses. I’ve been passing your paper around the yard to share with others what is really going on in the world.

A prisoner

Related articles:
Thousands are locked up in modern-day debtor prisons
Prisoners in Ga. and NC protest solitary, brutality
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