by Jalil Muntaqim
When looking at the years of struggle from the Attica insurrection to the murder of Comrade George Jackson, I see a continuum of prison struggles and organizing. In light of the Black Lives Matter tendency and trends, it is necessary for progressive and revolutionary prisoners in the era of resisting mass incarceration to evolve and build a sustainable and pragmatic determination inclusive of the overall struggle opposing white supremacy and capitalist exploitation and repression.
Prison Lives Matter is part and parcel of this revolutionary development of oppressed peoples applying the principle concepts of “We Are Our Own Liberators.” These are ideologically astute and determined incarcerated people deciding, in their own capacities, to take control of their destinies in alignment with the struggles outside of their confinement.
It is imperative that progressive-minded folks join and support Prison Lives Matter as they have rallied around Black Lives Matter. In this regard, the development of national and regional structures is crucial to not only propagate the determination of those inside prisons, but to develop liberating structures that will cultivate alliances and working relationships with those who oppose mass incarceration and support the liberation of political prisoners like the National Jericho Movement and other formations.
These are ideologically astute and determined incarcerated people deciding, in their own capacities, to take control of their destinies in alignment with the struggles outside of their confinement.
The National Jericho Amnesty Movement, the Northeast Political Prisoners Coalition and other formations have joined “In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela” to again bring our struggle to the attention of the international progressive communities, demanding the UN International Jurists hear testimony on the issue of “We Charge Genocide,” commemorating the 70th anniversary of the original petition submitted to the United Nations by the eminent Paul Robeson and William Patterson in 1951.
Prison Lives Matter is a representative organization in support of this endeavor, educating and broadening the base of support among incarcerated people and encouraging them to build cadres oriented toward the eventual establishment of a national united front. The Prison Lives Matter determination is important to ensure the struggle of incarcerated peoples are included in any forum and conference on the issue of mass incarceration, racist brutality and political repression as it confronts poor and oppressed peoples, especially those who identify themselves as New Afrikans.
It is with this understanding that I am petitioning the New Afrikan and other formations to engage with Prison Lives Matter and assist their determination to forge national and regional structures to further unify and strengthen their capacity to give voice to the incarcerated in their fight to become their own liberators!
In revolutionary love and unity,
Jalil Muntaqim, co-founder, National Jericho Amnesty Movement
Jalil Muntaqim is a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army and co-founder of the National Jericho Amnesty Movement. He is the author of “We Are Our Own Liberators” and “Escape the Prism: Fade to Black.” Jalil was released from prison in October 2020 after being held captive nearly 50 years.