February 2, 2017
I can hardly believe that 47 years have gone by since the Aug. 7,1970, Marin Courthouse Slave Rebellion. Ruchell is now 77 years old. It’s a sin and a shame the fascist state has practically taken this brother’s whole life. And he has never seriously injured anyone. Quite the opposite, Ruchell has been responsible, through his jailhouse lawyering, for the release of countless prisoners over the five-plus decades he’s been incarcerated. Here’s his story, written years ago and updated.
December 2, 2016
A call for a national work stoppage was issued for Sept. 9, 2016, to inmates all across America to bring an end to the “exception” – the slavery clause – in the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment upholding slavery for prisoners. Sadly, I, along with a very small sprinkle of inmates here and there on “the farm” (a reference to Angola, a former slave plantation turned into the largest prison in the country) answered the call.
September 10, 2016
Sept. 9, 2016, is the day that many people in America are wholeheartedly organizing, mobilizing, taking action, standing and locking arms in solidarity against what we know as prison slave labor – yes, legalized slavery – and people are saying, “No more!” Even though there are many taking action and answering the call to cure this particular ill of society, there is an overwhelmingly larger portion of the U.S. population who are absolutely clueless to the fact that slavery still exists.
July 3, 2016
In one voice, rising from the cells of long term solitary confinement, echoed in the dormitories and cell blocks from Virginia to Oregon, we prisoners across the United States vow to finally end slavery in 2016. On Sept. 9 of 2016, we will begin an action to shut down prisons all across this country. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves.
March 3, 2016
The Oakland International Film Festival is one of the premiere multi-cultural annual events in the Bay Area. Every year this festival educates Oakland and the surrounding area about the world around us, locally and internationally. I sat down with David Roach, the director of the Oakland International Film Festival, to discuss this year’s line-up and his take on what has been happening on the cinema scene and in Hollywood recently.
February 4, 2016
2015 was a historic political year for the African continent because one of the continent’s most radical anti-imperialist leaders chaired the African Union, and I am talking about President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. I talked with Obi Egbuna, the U.S. correspondent for the Zimbabwean national newspaper, The Herald, about what President Mugabe accomplished leading Zimbabwe and the African Union in 2015. Here is what he had to say.
December 16, 2015
Kenia Serrano is a member of the Cuban National Assembly, as well as the president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People. We sat down with her to discuss the normalization of diplomatic relations, Cuban-developed medical technologies that the U.S. has been denying its residents because of the blockade, the release of the Cuban 5 and the security of our beloved Black Liberation Army political exile Assata Shakur.
November 23, 2015
It is clear that Ricky Davis never had a chance of receiving fairness in a toxic judicial environment. The Ricky Davis affair is just one of the little known travesties that has arisen as a result of Hurricane Katrina. In Louisiana, a life sentence means you die in prison. Mr. Davis’ act of heroism has turned him into a victim of an arbitrary racially motivated legal lynching. If Black Lives Matter, it’s hard to tell down here in Louisiana.
June 30, 2015
“Concerning Violence” is a documentary film that reflects on the text of Fanon’s most definitive work, “Wretched of the Earth,” against the backdrop of raw footage from a number of African countries during their revolutionary struggles for independence in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s and interviews with revolutionaries and colonialists alike about their thoughts on the use of violence to protect their interests.
May 21, 2015
Queen Njinga Mbandi of the Ndongo people is a legendary as well as charismatic figure in the pantheon of African world leaders and freedom fighters against colonialism. Screewriter Isilda Hurst and director Sérgio Graciano brought this legendary matriarch to life in a beautiful cinematic way with their new film, “Njinga: Queen of Angola,” a masterpiece for anyone interested in African history, foreign cinema and good movies in general.
January 1, 2015
Happy New Year! Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Brianna, niece Wilda and friend Fred T. I am still smiling about America’s new relationship with Cuba and the freed Cuban 5. If you are in New Orleans (NOLA), don’t miss “Prospect 3: Notes for Now,” the biennial there being celebrated throughout the city through Jan. 25.
October 17, 2014
As the Ebola outbreak rages and there are projections of more than 1.4 million persons infected in the next few months, the African Union and the regional bloc ECOWAS have taken a back seat as the international media uses this virus to stigmatize Africa and Africans. Pious statements have been made by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the World Bank warns that Ebola could have “catastrophic” economic costs on the region of Western Africa.
August 2, 2014
Congratulations to Gerald Lenoir for carrying the torch and blazing the way for so many social justice issues from HIV/AIDS awareness in the Black community to his recent work in just migration for Pan Africans. Much success on your new work! Farewell to Alona Clifton and much success in Atlanta. Congratulations also to Almaz Negash, founder and director of African Diaspora Network in Silicon Valley for her national recognition and award at the Continental African Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.
May 16, 2014
Gen. Paul Kagame ordered the shooting down of the plane in which President Habyarimana and President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, French citizens, and all others on board were killed on April 6, 1994. This assassination triggered the genocide. Since then President Kagame has imposed a reign of terror to keep himself and the ruling party in absolute power.
March 3, 2014
Russell Maroon Shoatz is out of solitary confinement! Hugo Pinnell had his first contact visit in 40 years last weekend. Kiilu Nyasha announced this wonderful news at a reception following the second public hearing on solitary confinement called by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Feb. 11.
February 8, 2014
This week’s mining and business headlines reported that Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler turned a nearly 30,000 percent profit by buying the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s oil rights in waters off its Atlantic Coast in 2006, then selling the same rights back to them six years later. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to anti-corruption and resource theft watchdog Global Witness and filed this report.
January 12, 2014
“Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas” by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker (2013) is part visionary road map, part post-traumatic Katrina therapy, and part poetic love ode/lament to our city. One chapter addresses systems of containment – levees and prisons. In Angola, jailhouse lawyers organized voting blocks of outside allies to push for prison reform and to have decades-long solitary confinement declared cruel and unusual punishment.
December 30, 2013
In a statement at the White House, President Obama paid tribute to Nelson Mandela who died Dec. 5 at age 95. As the world focuses on the historic handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro, we look back at the pivotal role Cuba played in ending apartheid and why Castro was one of only five world leaders invited to speak at Nelson Mandela’s Dec. 10 memorial in Johannesburg.
December 29, 2013
Earlier this week, in the northeasternmost province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, which borders Central African Republic, South Sudan and Uganda, the U.N.’s special combat intervention brigade, which includes South African troops, used South African helicopter gunships to fire on the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) militia.
December 11, 2013
Nelson Mandela’s passing has drawn responses from throughout the U.S. and the world. To oppressed and working people, Mandela was a symbol and example of self-sacrifice and lifelong commitment to revolutionary change. Although the struggle inside South Africa and throughout the region is by no means complete, the legacy of Mandela through the ANC, SACP, COSATU and other affiliated organizations will live on.