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In the early morning of June 16, after nearly 40 years of unjust imprisonment by the state of Pennsylvania, political prisoner and MOVE 9 member Debbie Sims Africa was granted parole and released from the State Correctional Institution-Cambridge Springs. Messaging on Instagram, the MOVE Organization wrote: “Our sister Debbie Africa is FREE! What a beautiful day to find freedom! Let’s keep fighting for our bros and sisters still behind bars — Mike [Sr.], Eddie, Chuck, Janet, Janine and Delbert! The struggle is underway!” This important victory comes exactly two years after Debbie, Janet and Janine Africa were last denied parole in 2016.
As WE commemorate Juneteenth Freedom Day(s) again this year, it is always necessary to OVERstand the real Lessons in the Blessings (as my beloved God-Mother ELIZABETH ELIZANN OAKS-ARMSTRONG would often say). While Juneteenth is possibly the oldest and largest commemoration of the “official” ending of the murderous war of enslavement, many of our people have never grasped its true origins and significance.
In our grand traditions of African Liberation Day/Month – and May First/International Workers’ Day – WE remember and honor our Beloved Ancients and Ancestors from yesteryears and yesterday. Recently, super-(s)heroes such as freedom fighters Mama WINNIE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA and KIILU NYASHA made their Spiritual Transformations. Warrior Kiilu is a great inspiration and uncompromising advocate for Power to the People, freeing our political prisoners and abolishing prisons.
Supporters of Black liberation fighter and political prisoner Herman Bell held a packed news conference at the Center for Constitutional Rights March 23. They came out to show support for a recent New York State Parole Board decision to free Bell after more than 40 years – much of it spent in torturous solitary confinement. The board’s decision has come under attack from police groups, the corporate media and elected officials, including “liberal” Democrats Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
By now, many of you may have had the opportunity to view the brilliant screenwriter-director Ryan Coogler’s film, “Black Panther,” which was produced and distributed by the for-profit European-American owned and operated Marvel and Walt Disney corporations. For the past few weeks, people of differing ages and nationalities have been flashing the cross-armed “‘Wakanda’ Forever” sign. i will not at this time debate the neo-colonialist and imperialistic politics of this technically-stunning visual work.
Black Panther Party political prisoner Herman Bell was viciously assaulted by guards at Great Meadow Correctional Facility (Comstock) in New York on Sept. 5, 2017. While being “escorted” by a guard back to his housing unit, Herman, age 69, was struck in the face by a guard, causing his glasses to drop to the floor. The guard pushed Herman against the wall, Herman stumbled and fell to the ground. The guard then continued viciously hitting and kicking Herman.
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.
The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar collective is releasing its 17th calendar this coming fall. The theme for 2018 is “Awakening Resistance,” reflecting on organizing in the current political climate. We are looking for 12 works of art and 12 short articles to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 2,500 homes, workplaces, prison cells and community spaces around the world. We encourage contributors to submit both new and existing work. We also seek submissions from prisoners – please forward to any prison-based artists and writers.
Former Black Panther Jalil Muntaqim was transferred from Attica Correctional Facility to Southport Correctional Facility, a notorious supermax prison just south of Elmira, New York, in early January. “This is clearly a punitive transfer,” Anne Lamb told the Militant Jan. 11. “It also means he’s much farther away from his legal advisers in Buffalo.” Lamb is a spokesperson for the Jericho Movement, a group that Muntaqim helped found, which works to win amnesty for political prisoners.
Basic logic dictates it is the community who should be vested with the power to parole, pardon or grant clemency to those who, in their determination, would have a positive impact on their communities and society as a whole if released. This is a concept developed by George Jackson University known as strategic release. To this end, we are announcing our campaign to develop – and establish nationally – New Afrikan Community Parole, Pardon and Clemency Review Board.
On 1 Mosiah (August), thousands of Pan Afrikanists from around England, Europe, the Afrikan continent, the Caribbean, Australia and other former colonies like West Papua – accompanied by billions of our Afrikan forbearers! – assembled in London for major mass actions. In this, the Annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March, the themes of “Stop the Maangamizi: We charge genocide and ecocide” and “Demand reparatory justice and reparations” united all.
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.
All of Us or None’s upcoming Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Western Regional Conference is Sept. 20-21 at Oakstop, 1721 Broadway in downtown Oakland. It will be a time for people to discuss employment, housing, crimmigration, which is the connection between the punishment system in the U.S. and immigration policies, and more. Check out one of the main organizers, Manuel La Fontaine, about the conference and his life experiences.
The names represented in this article are just the “known” political prisoners and no disrespect to any brothas and sistas left off the list. The purpose of the list is to illustrate the current plight of our movement’s political prisoners, who, despite surviving countless hostile encounters with the state’s security forces, are on the verge of succumbing to old age and infirmities behind the walls and gun towers of the empire’s Prison Industrial Complex.
I am recovering from a huge blow – my computer was taken along with other personal irreplaceable items. We stopped by Loon Point to visit the shore before driving back to the San Francisco Bay Area Jan. 30. It was early, we’d just finished our first session of the Winter Quarter. We left our luggage in view in our cohort’s car. In Oakland, we’d not have done that, but somehow the seashore, mountains and quiet terrain deceptively seduced us.
Rand Paul’s filibuster opposing nominee John Brennan’s CIA appointment had relevant historical significance. In terms of the U.S. drone policy and the capacity for targeted killing of U.S. citizens, it is important to know targeted killing of U.S. citizens under a secret program is not new. As a result of a counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO), as many as 33 Black Panthers were targeted for killing.
Abdul Olugbala Shakur and M. Ajanaku are in the process of collecting essays written by New Afrikan Black political prisoners and political prisoners of war for a book titled “In the Spirit of George Jackson.” Proceeds from sale of the book will be donated to the San Francisco Bay View and the New Afrikan Criminology Academy (NACA).
Most people do not know enough about the Black Panther Party, which was founded at Merritt College in Oakland in October of 1966 by Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton and Chairman Bobby Seale. This happening is important to Black history nationally and worldwide because the Panthers were and are an example of Black people fighting for self-determination no matter the cost.
We are the ones who refused to be captured in Afrika without a fight, who staged daring raids on enemy supply lines and brought our nationals back to freedom. We are the ones the enemy calls, “criminals,” “terrorists,” “gangs,” “militants,” “leftists,” “separatists,” “radicals,” “feminists,” “worst of the worst,” “America’s Most Wanted” and enemy combatants.
“I just got a call from a very happy Cisco who got the news yesterday that the case against him was dismissed,” writes Kiilu Nyasha. “The San Francisco 8 case dragged on for over four years while we struggled to mount a campaign to free them.”
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