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From The Editor

By Paul Wright

Welcome to another issue of PLN . Longtime readers of PLN may recall that PLN was banned by the Texas DOC in July of 1990 as they claimed we were not a "publisher." We appealed the decision and it was upheld by the DOC. In the last year we have gone back and forth with the TDC on this matter and I'm pleased to report that we finally prevailed and as of August of this year there is no longer a blanket ban of PLN . So I would like to welcome our Texas readers and subscribers back after this long absence.

As I write this the September issue still hasn't gone out yet so I don't know what the response will be to the usual plea for donations. Hopefully it will be a generous response. Our biggest expenses with PLN are the postage costs and the actual printing costs of copying each issue. We try to cut our costs as much as we can so we can continue to publish. Our copying costs are now averaging around 4¢ per page, for 40¢ a copy of PLN . We need to cut our copying costs as much as possible. To that end, is there anyone in the Seattle area that has access to a copying machine that is willing to copy around 300 copies of PLN a month for us at costs or less? If so, please contact Ed or myself about this. PLN is registered as a non-profit corporation in Washington state which may help for tax purposes. Any suggestions on helping us cut copying costs would be appreciated as well.

We have a number of readers who are in control units and death rows across the country. We realize that they are not in a position to earn money or make donations which is why we don't expect donations from them, but if you are in a control unit or death row and getting PLN and can afford a donation or can ask your friends of family to make a donation on your behalf to PLN it would help us meet our publishing costs.

In the last issue of PLN Ed wrote an article concerning the class implications of prisoner litigation in response to a letter from a reader in Illinois. I agree with the article and think it can be applied to all disenfranchised sectors of society. Right now the largely Republican judiciary is hostile not only to the rights of prisoners and criminal defendants but also to those of women, the homeless, unemployed, minorities, and the poor in general. Gains made in the courts in the 50's and 60's have turned out not to be lasting. Something to remember is that laws are not neutral or equal. Whoever controls the economic and political power in a society is the one that writes the laws, usually to protect and reinforce that power and privilege.

Some of the most heinous and barbaric practices have been codified into law. In Nazi Germany the infamous "Nuremberg Laws" made Jews into second class citizens and set the stage for genocide. In this country Tim Crow laws provided the basis for a legal racial segregation of the U.S. and in South Africa Apartheid is codified in the 1948 Apartheid laws. Normally whenever a military or similar group overthrows a popular or elected regime the first thing they do is change the constitution or pass new laws legitimizing their seizure of power. Then when these tyrants decide to relinquish the formal trappings of power, like the fascist Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, the juntas in Argentina, Uruguay, etc., they always pass laws granting themselves immunity for the atrocities they committed.

These are the most obvious examples of "the law" serving the dominant class or power in society. We should bear this in mind any time we go to court.

We always welcome feedback and comments on our articles and coverage. On the same note, we welcome submissions from our readers. Please write and let us know what's going on in your prison, state, etc. We always need to increase our subscription base so please encourage your friends and family members to subscribe. Prison readers note that our library rate is now only $25.00 per year. If you can, encourage your prison library to subscribe to PLN so it will be available to a wider body of readers.

PLN is anti-copyright so feel free to copy and distribute PLN on your own and reprint our articles. If you do reprint please give our address so people can contact us direct. If you move or are moved, please be sure to notify PLN as soon as possible so you don't miss any articles. Enjoy this issue of PLN .

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