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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.
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party by Bunchy Carter in 1968. Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter was the least known of the iconic Black Panther Party leaders in the turbulent late 1960s but was arguably the most legendary as the leader of the L.A. chapter of the Black Panther Party who was murdered in 1969 at the age of 26, only a year after founding the chapter.
Could Mumia Abu-Jamal, one of the 20th century’s most high profile political prisoners, a powerful and renowned author and a former Black Panther, have hope of being released after 34 years in prison, 30 of those years on death row? Could Mumia, unlike the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti or the Communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed by the state, finally see the light of day after decades in prison like former Black Panthers Geronimo Pratt, the Angola 3 and Eddie Conway?
As the world laid to rest Nelson “Madiba” Mandela, who was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years, I thought about the case of Bobby McClelland. He was arrested 23 years ago on May 19, 1990, for an alleged attempted murder and processed through the same Los Angeles County Jail that was recently indicted on 18 federal counts for, amongst other things, obstruction of justice.
Brother Richard Aoki demonstrably and sincerely dedicated the vast majority of his life and his every living thought to achieve the overcoming of racism, poverty and inequality, without giving up. Richard was indeed exactly who he claimed to be, who is exactly what people back in the day of the struggle also knew him to be: a dedicated, brilliant revolutionary.
Sept. 9 marks 40 years since the uprising at Attica State Prison in upstate New York and the deadly and sadistic retaking of the prison – and mass torture of hundreds of prisoners all the rest of the day and night and beyond – by state police and prison guards on the morning of Sept. 13, 1971. Attica and its aftermath exposed the powder kegs ready to explode inside the U.S. prisons.
Political activists around the country are still absorbing the news of Geronimo ji Jaga’s death. His commitment, humility, clear thinking as well as his sense of both the longevity and continuity of the Black Freedom Movement in the U.S. all stood out to those who knew him.