Ruchell is now 78 years old and will turn 79 in March. He’s eligible for parole for several reasons, the most obvious of which is the federal three-judge order to release elderly prisoners to reduce the prison population that he points to in the letter. Please take the time to write letters to the governor, legislators, lots of editors and online publications, and spread it all over social media. Fifty-four years in prison is outrageous! He is truly a political prisoner.
I begin this six-month update on the activities of CDCR and the CCPOA with my utmost thankfulness and respect for the San Francisco Bay View. I thank your staff and readers for continuing to shine a bright light on the injustices that occur daily behind enemy lines, as it pertains to human beings who are marginalized as prisoners, defined as slaves by the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but yet full citizens of this country! I have now been housed in Pelican Bay Level II SHU for six months, and the situation has not progressed but has rapidly deteriorated.
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.
Black August Memorial (BAM) is our socialist oriented institution that was developed out of the special need for New Afrikan (Black) people in Amerika to implement our own ways and means to commemorate the selfless sacrifices and deeds rendered by many New Afrikan (Black) heroes and sheroes – exposing to the light of day the injustices heaped upon us daily in pursuit of the New Afrikan (Black) freedom, justice, equality and human and civil rights.
Steve Bloom, a comrade and veteran activist, asked me several questions regarding my contribution to “Look for Me in the Whirlwind.” The questions delve into aspects of our political struggle against oppression back in the 1960s and ‘70s and are still pressing concerns. My story is closer to what untold numbers of highly motivated 1960s and 1970s “revolutionaries” usually don’t write about or discuss nowadays. I believe I have answered comrade Steve Bloom’s questions.
On Feb. 1, scores of men in Delaware’s largest prison, the Vaughn Correctional Center, took over one of the buildings in their facility. The prison, built in 1971 and known for its serious overuse of solitary confinement, is one of the state’s most severely overcrowded and punitive facilities. Hoping to push the state to improve living conditions at Vaughn, the prisoners didn’t just take control of Building C – they also took guards hostage. And to make the public aware of why they were protesting, they called the media.
I went to San Francisco’s 2017 Dr. King Day celebration riding the same wave that hounded every other participant. As I suspected, a tragic election caused crowd levels to swell significantly compared to a year ago. I’d say at least three times the number of 2016 attendees walked in this year’s march. One ugly cloud loomed: the transfer of federal powers – which finally did arrive four days later – had crept oh so dreadfully near.
The recent deaths of Alton Sterling, 37, and Philando Castile, 32, at the hands of state-sanctioned violence are additional tragedies in an endless list of Black victims, and a reminder that premature Black death continues to take center stage in the Black narrative. With our heads in our hands and our eyes swollen, we keep asking, when will Black lives matter? White silence about these atrocities is almost as dangerous as the hand that pulls the trigger.
Keith Cook delivered this speech on Dec. 5 at “Cops vs. Free Speech,” a public forum organized by the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia: Thank you for inviting me again to be a part of this essential, timely discussion that we should be having across our nation. Free speech – for most of us who are activists, what does the Fraternal Order of Police, commonly known as the FOP, have to do with it?
A week ago Sunday, five St. Louis Rams professional football players entered a game with their hands up, protesting the killing of Michael Brown. They stand in the lineage of John Carlos and Tommie Smith, of Muhammad Ali, identifying with the pain in their communities and turning protest into power. The gesture turned to chants – “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” – in demonstrations across the country.
My cellmate is an inspiration to all ethnic groups who has endured the injustices by the hands of what we call the “government.” His name is Leonard Peltier, in prison since 1975 for a crime he didn’t commit. How can someone hate when all that’s asked for is “peace and equality”? My vision is this: to write with all people of injustice not for the purpose of war but for peace, so we may start to heal. I ask you to stand with me.
We human beings are a political, social, cultural and economic force trapped within the colonial powers of our oppressors’ system, in and out of prison. Our struggle is for absolute self-determination and liberation on a national and international level, by way of changing from scientific capitalism into a scientific socialist system, which is crucial for changing and ending human suffering.
Tracy Rosenberg is the executive director of Media Alliance, an action and resource organization in Oakland advocating just, accountable and diverse media. She has been a listener representative on the KPFA Local Station Board since 2007 and a member of the Pacifica National Board of Directors since 2010. We asked her to comment on the situation from her perch as an insider. Here’s what we talked about.
California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano issued a statement Thursday urging CDCR to meet with prisoner hunger strike mediators and work toward meeting the prisoners’ demands. Prisoners throughout California have been on hunger strike for 25 days. Demonstrators demanded that the CDCR and governor negotiate with strikers immediately and end any and all retaliations against their protest.