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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.
The basis for the Prison Lives Matter Campaign and this demonstration is not only to shed light on the poor treatment and inhumane living conditions that prisoners are subjected to, although we know this is the initial motivating factor for most families and supporters who get involved with the prison movement and demonstrations such as this one. However, the objective is to tie this struggle into our overall class and national struggle against racist capitalist-imperialist domination and exploitation of the proletariat.
All of my life, I have wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. We have been taught to want for my brother what I want for myself. In this moment in history, I want freedom for ALL political and politicized prisoners. Kwame Shakur is the co-founder and chairman of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective, and he has begun a Prison Lives Matter movement which is holding a remarkable event in Indiana on July 18, 2018. The theme will be “Prison Lives Matter: In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela.”
On July 18, International Nelson Mandela Day, the New Afrikan Liberation Collective in partnership with IDOC Watch will be holding a panel on political prisoners followed by a demonstration outside the IDOC headquarters to call attention to the ongoing abuse in Indiana prisons. We call on all comrades and any fellow human beings with any compassion in their hearts, to join our families and loved ones as they support and fight for us at the “Prison Lives Matter: In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela” demonstration.
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.
I am not a world-renowned freedom fighter. In fact, I contributed to the destruction of lives and communities. In spite of this ugly truth, Willie and Mary Ratcliff and the Bay View family have given me opportunities when no one else would. I am not unique. The Bay View is THE voice of countless Sisters and Brothers. Indeed, WE are the Bay View, and if we are not for ourselves, who will be for us? Twenty-four dollars is a paltry sum. The San Francisco Bay View is priceless.
I have always said that if you want to understand the nature of a thing, you must research its origin. I would venture to say that the iconic freedom fighter and servant of the people Malcolm X was the first “Prison Panther,” although he was not known officially as such. However, when Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966 at Merritt College in Oakland, California, the legacy of their hero, OUR HERO, Malcolm X was on their mind.
Our beloved Kiilu, 78, passed peacefully into the welcoming arms of the ancestors in the early morning of April 10, 2018. Kiilu was a serious political animal. She didn’t just debate or go to meetings; she was on the frontlines of political struggle. Kiilu personified the spirit of a Black Panther and a dragon breaking free from a dungeon rolled into one, with the resiliency of a Haitian freedom fighter in their revolution and the resolve of a Palestinian resisting the settler colonial Zionist. Kiilu Nyasha, we love you, and we will never forget what you gave.
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.
I would like to propose it is time to organize a new international campaign to persuade the U.N. International Jurists to initiate a formal investigation. This investigation would be based on discovering U.S. human rights violations as they pertain to our long-held political prisoners. I am proposing this campaign be organized under the slogan of “In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela,” as it is believed this slogan will resonate with progressives around the world. It will inspire them in international solidarity to join our efforts to persuade the U.N. International Jurists to initiate this call for a needed investigation.
Meet a sista, comrade, soldier, warrior, guerrilla who exemplifies the meaning of revolution through the life that she lives, transforming from the day of her birth to this present day. Born with the slave name JoAnne Deborah Byron, after her emancipation from the shackles of capitalism she took on the name we’re most familiar with, Sista Assata Olugbala Shakur – Assata meaning “she who struggles,” Olugbala meaning “love for the people,” Shakur meaning “the thankful.”
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.
All across this kkkountry we are hearing and seeing the masses exclaim, “Black lives matter!” We heard Obama counter that by telling the people, “All lives matter” and “Police lives matter.” But what about the more than 2 million lives being held captive across this kkkountry in amerikkka’s kkkoncentration kkkamps (jails and prisons)? So we must raise the questions needed to spark the discussion so many fail to acknowledge: Do prison lives matter?
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.
I had the true honor of attending a welcoming reception for Albert Woodfox, the last of the Angola 3, on Sept. 7 in San Francisco. Albert spent 43 years of his 44 years in prison in solitary confinement, mostly in Angola, Louisiana State Prison, a former slave plantation, actually still a slave plantation-prison. Not only did Albert look wonderful, with a big smile on his face, but he looked relaxed, happy and full of revolutionary optimism and resistance.
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.
These prison profiteers and imperialist oppressors aren’t feeling the recent show of power and solidarity among prisoners throughout AmeriKKKa. In the same manner, the FBI’s COINTELPRO sought to thwart the emergence of a Black Messiah, mass incarceration in Amerika seeks to sabotage the emergence of any movement which challenges the capitalist-imperialist plan to lock up, exploit, disenfranchise, poison and in some cases even kill the poorest cross-section of Amerikan society.
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.
Almost two years ago, Sept. 29, 2014, the New Jersey Appellate Court ordered the New Jersey Parole Board to “expeditiously set conditions” for my parole. The Parole Board appealed the order on grounds that I had not undergone a hearing before the full Parole Board prior to securing the order for release. The New Jersey Supreme court reversed the Appellate Court’s order and remanded the case to the full Parole Board for completion of the administrative process.
Most parties now agree that mass incarceration is NOT the solution to crime in America. The reason being its prison population size is NOT determined by the number of CRIMES committed. So if the crime rate is not the dominant factor, what is? UNJUST racial and class policies are the dominant driving forces behind mass incarceration in the U.S. today. We urge federal prisoners to file for relief under the programs offered.