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We pour libations for Fats Domino, New Orleans musical legend, who died Oct. 24. He was 89. The Architect of Rock n’ Roll was the child of Haitian Kreyòl plantation workers and the grandson of an enslaved African. And we also pour libations for Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), who made his transition Oct. 30. He was 80. Congratulations to Drs. Vera and Wade Nobles on their 50th wedding anniversary this month.
In the spirit of the MOVE conference held May 5-7 in Philadelphia to educate the public about the MOVE organization, I will like to expound on the U.S. government sanctioned attacks on MOVE within the larger context of the FBI’s campaign of harassment, murder, frame-ups and imprisonment of Black revolutionaries during the radical ‘60s and ‘70s, and even today, in an effort to thwart the realization and actualization of Black unity, Black power and Black liberation.
In the national debate ensuing from Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” some have not given credit to Angela Davis forging national interest in prison abolition with her organizing Critical Resistance campaigns across the country. With the nominal success of the Pelican Bay prisoners’ hunger strike in California, we recognize that when we organize a national determination, we can collectively force institutional change.
On Oct. 7, political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim was denied four books which arrived for him at Attica Correctional Facility. Muntaqim is a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army and one of the longest held political prisoners in the world today; he has been incarcerated since 1971, when he was only 19 years old. Muntaqim was initially told he could have the books, but when a guard noticed that one of the titles in question was actually written by Muntaqim himself, he simply said, “No way.” This censorship is simply a more petty example of harassment directed against someone who is hated for what he represents.
The hunger strike victory – settlement of the class action suit against solitary confinement – is fantastic, but now, more hard work confronts them all. They will continue to be in a relentless fight to prevent COs from destroying the unity and continued political determination of the vision for prison reform in California. There will come a time in which the prisoners will need to essentially rebrand, identify and complete what they started – the five demands.
This is the voice of a mother crying for the freedom of her child, Anthony Leonard Bottom, aka Jalil Muntaqim, who has been swallowed up in the New York penal system for 37 years, 1977-2014. My child has been held captive in the belly of New York state prisons without any regard for his constitutional human rights. Consequently, as a political prisoner, he has become a forgotten, disenfranchised citizen of the United States of America.
Jalil Mutaqim, one of the longest held political prisoners in the U.S., was once again denied parole on Nov. 18, 2009. Visit FreeJalil.com to learn more about this extraordinary, heroic brother, who traded a minor plea for the freedom from all charges of four of his San Francisco 8 comrades. Support must grow so that his next parole date, in June 2010, is successful and he is free to return to the loving arms of his family and to continue to teach and show us how to be our own liberators.
Jalil is asking that we write letters supporting his 2009 parole, which has been postponed for 30 to 90 days for lack of records. This means the hearing could occur as early as Oct. 22 and as late as the end of December. It is believed that they want a new victim impact statement and the sentencing minutes from California. In the interim he said we need to continue efforts to build support. Please write a letter and urge others to do so, addressing the letters to the Parole Commissioners (Re: Parole application of Anthony Jalil Bottom #77A4283) but send to: NYC Jericho, P.O. Box 1272, New York, NY 10013.
Jenny Kang, attorney for political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), writes: “Attached is a petition to New York Gov. Paterson requesting that Jalil be granted parole or have his sentence commuted. He would very much appreciate your support in signing the petition and sending it to Gov. Paterson. Please feel free to widely distribute the petition.” Jalil, one of the San Francisco 8, made the ultimate sacrifice on July 6, when he pled “no contest” in exchange for the dismissal of all charges against four of his brothers. As a token of our love and appreciation, readers are urged to print this letter, sign it and mail it to Gov. Paterson. – ed.
Herman Bell arrived from New York in late May 2007 to face this extremely unjust prosecution of eight former Black Panthers and community activists. Confinement in the San Francisco County Jail has been devastating to what little quality of life Herman and Jalil Muntaqim have experienced in New York prisons for three decades.