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The Black August Rebellion is a month that the California state prisoners fast. They fast in the month of August to pay homage to the fallen comrades. Do make sure that this year you honor our comrade and hero lost last Aug. 12, Hugo “Yogi” Pinell. However you mark Black August, do it. You won’t be alone. The next chapter of Black August history is yours to write.
When the concept of Black August manifested in 1979, many thought it was simply a focus group protest growing out of the avoidable death of Khatari Gaulden on Aug. 1, 1978, in the San Quentin prison infirmary. Survival for Africans in California’s prison population of 20,000 inmates had to that point been recognized by some as a bit more than problematic.
In their ongoing plea for justice and humane treatment, the inmates confined in the Security Housing Unit program at Pelican Bay State Prison must continue to use the only peaceful means available that will draw proper attention to their plight, a hunger strike. Going through a long term hunger strike involves every aspect of your being, physical, mental and emotional.
When the prison system transformed into the Prison Industrial Slave Complex (PISC), it became a profit-making industry and, as a profit-making industry, profit becomes the bottom line. In the PISC the poor underclass is the primary commodity that fuels its profitability, while the poor New Afrikan (Black) man and woman are its prime choice.
Black August Memorial (BAM) is not about senseless acts of violence or gang activity. Black August was inspired by the death of our fallen Black dragons and includes other New Afrikan freedom fighters who gave their lives to our struggle for freedom, who made that ultimate and unselfish sacrifice in the service of our revolutionary struggle.
Aoki NEVER was an agent. The over-emphasis upon Aoki providing the Panthers their first firearms is sensationalist fodder. What is conveniently ignored is what he contributed most to the Panthers and to the legacy of the U.S. revolutionary movement: promoting revolutionary study, ideology and disciplined organization. That’s why he was field marshal – because the cat could organize and tolerated no indiscipline and lack of seriousness. To the end of his life, Aoki could go toe-to-toe with any intellectual, theorist or organizer on the complexities and challenges of revolutionary theory.
Black August is dedicated to freeing all political prisoners and putting America’s night- and day-mare prison system in check. Black August is about making folks inside know we will not leave them to the embedded cruelty of their captors. The need to build more and stronger support for political captives is greater than ever.
I’m asking the Bay View newspaper to please print this open letter so that California Prison Focus, MIM Distributors, Rising Son Press, Anti-Racist Action and the Black Riders Liberation Party will know why they have not heard from me – also Shaka of the Black August Organizing Committee and Brotha Secretary Yawo at the Oakland Uhuru House. I have no addresses, so at this point I cannot contact them unless they contact me.
The 21st of August marks the 40th anniversary of the execution of George Lester Jackson. Many of the strategies and tactics that he and his fellow comrades employed in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s were used by prisoners at Pelican Bay, Corcoran and other California prisons in the recent hunger strikes.
Black August begins with a campaign for the acquittal of Francisco Torres, the only member of the San Francisco 8 still charged. Go to www.freethesf8.org for messages to phone or fax to Attorney General Jerry Brown, urging him to drop the charges. Cisco’s hearing is Aug. 10 if the charges aren’t dropped.