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I just saw the incident taking place in Washington, D.C., in which a demonstration between the white Make America Great Again (MAGA) representatives and a Native Elder singing a religious song took a horrendous turn. There were threats and insults by the young punk wearing the red MAGA hat while an Elder, who happens to be my long time AIM friend and comrade Nate Phillips, was singing a religious song. Now, I see the media and folks changing it around like it was the Native Elder’s fault. Let me explain to you what the song’s history is.
President Donald Trump’s comments regarding the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi aptly reflect the true nature of the power brokers that he represents. Instead of the usual “Empire-speak” statements, hypocritically condemning Khashoggi’s murder, followed by a pep talk on the values of “democracy” and “freedom of speech,” Trump is basically saying, as the leader of one rogue state to another, that was the “worst cover up ever,” boys, and heads should roll.
The Jericho Movement to Free All Political Prisoners was started by Safiyah Bukhari (d. 2003), Herman Ferguson (d. 2014) and Jalil Abdulmuntaqim, who is a Black Panther political prisoner incarcerated for over 44 years. Jericho has maintained a steady course for 20 years. Beginning with its famous march on Washington in 1998, Jericho has continued to campaign to free freedom fighters, community activists and revolutionaries primarily from movements of the 1960s and ‘70s.
In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, two names emerged from the Native American and Indigenous community that stood for resistance to white repression and assaults on Native life: Russell Means and Dennis Banks. In a time of mass resistance and social upheaval shown by the anti-war (re Vietnam) and Black liberation movements, Banks was among thousands of young activists of Native, Indigenous communities who rose up to speak – and act – on behalf of the oppressed.
We pour libations for Fats Domino, New Orleans musical legend, who died Oct. 24. He was 89. The Architect of Rock n’ Roll was the child of Haitian Kreyòl plantation workers and the grandson of an enslaved African. And we also pour libations for Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), who made his transition Oct. 30. He was 80. Congratulations to Drs. Vera and Wade Nobles on their 50th wedding anniversary this month.
Some 400 people packed a special city council meeting here on June 20 to demand that the city end its “shameful collaboration” with federal police and spy agencies. But the council, while widely hailed as “progressive,” ignored the near-unanimous popular opinion and voted to renew three controversial police programs: participation in a Regional Intelligence Fusion Center, participation in the Urban Areas Security Initiative and acquisition of a bulletproof armored personnel carrier.
While Barack Obama speaks without blushing about the virtues of the North American “democracy” and lectures us on human rights, an innocent man languishes in his cell, totally isolated, awaiting only death or for what the U.S. president alone can, but does not, do. Leonard Peltier, Anishinabe-Lakota, a leader of the American Indian Movement, AIM, writer and poet, has just completed 40 years in prison, and is one of the political prisoners jailed for the longest time in the whole planet.
The 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party Conference, Oct. 20-23, held at the Oakland Museum of California and in Bobby Hutton Grove at deFremery Park, was a huge success. To see the Vanguards of the Revolution saluted in such elegant surroundings at the banquet Saturday evening was certainly a fitting tribute to the legacy their lives concretely represent. Hats off to the committee that organized the conference.
For 40 years, former American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Leonard Peltier has been in the clutches of the U.S. prison system –The Iron House of the whites, as indigenous people call them – on trumped up murder charges. Now, as he suffers poor health and an abdominal aortic aneurism, time is no longer on his side. The aneurism, diagnosed just weeks ago, threatens his very life, so supporters of Leonard are demanding his freedom, so he doesn’t perish in the Iron House.
It is hot enough in Corcoran, California, to melt people. That being said, it still wasn’t hot enough to keep upwards of 400 people from braving 103-degree weather to mobilize and rally at Corcoran State Prison in support of over 30,000 prisoners on hunger strike in California. The immediate goal is to stop the cruelty and torture that being held in isolation represents. The long-range objective is liberation.
Since America’s MASS INCARCERATION is driven by unjust racial/class policies, then the real solution to MASS INCARCERATION is MASS “DECARCERATION.” In other words, drastic cuts to ALL prisoner’s TIME, since TIME is the currency, the legal tender, the great equalizer and righter of wrongs in prison.
Juan Jaimes’ broken back came to me and the others in solidarity with Corcoran ASU hunger strike petitioners as breaking news. The ripples continue to affect our cause. Although the Kage still hasn’t softened, some people still have a hard time envisioning the repression of the state because they have illusions that they live in a democracy with civil liberties.
Nothing is more dangerous to a system that depends on misinformation than a voice that obeys its own dictates and has the courage to speak out. George Jackson’s imprisonment and further isolation within the prison system were clearly a function of the state’s response to his outspoken opposition to the capitalist structure. George was one of the brilliant minds of the 20th century, passionately involved with liberating not only himself, but all of us.
Trayvon Martin and Mumia Abu-Jamal. One is dead. One languished on death row for 30 years. They are separated in age by a generation, separated by different locations and different life-histories, but their stories of being under surveillance, watched and shot, intersect strikingly with each other and with many other people.
The Oakland International Film Festival is Friday-Sunday, April 6-8, at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Street, Oakland. Visit http://www.oiff.org/2012schedule.pdf. This year’s headliner is one of the most controversial independent films ever made, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door.” Watch it again here.
Shouting “Inside, outside, we’re all on the same side” and “Here comes Oakland,” five full buses and two vans left Oakland to meet up with marchers from as far away as Portland and Seattle who had already arrived at plantation San Quentin for one of the largest anti-slavery rallies in California history.
We are the ones who refused to be captured in Afrika without a fight, who staged daring raids on enemy supply lines and brought our nationals back to freedom. We are the ones the enemy calls, “criminals,” “terrorists,” “gangs,” “militants,” “leftists,” “separatists,” “radicals,” “feminists,” “worst of the worst,” “America’s Most Wanted” and enemy combatants.
On Thursday, June 2, 2011, came word that former Black Panther leader, Geronimo ji-Jaga (née Elmer G. Pratt) died in exile in Tanzania.
Leonard Peltier was severely beaten after being transferred to another prison. Learn how you can help and read a letter from Leonard and commentary - ‘President Obama must free Leonard Peltier' - written Jan. 23 by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman.
In Omaha, Nebraska, the leaders of a Black Panther group, Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice), were the targets of a clandestine operation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation code-named COINTELPRO.