An Open Letter From Assata Shakur

•May 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

From Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle:

My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.

In 1978, my case was one of many cases bought before the United Nations Organization in a petition filed by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, exposing the existence of political prisoners in the United States, their political persecution, and the cruel and inhuman treatment they receive in US prisons. According to the report:

‘The FBI and the New York Police Department in particular, charged and accused Assata Shakur of participating in attacks on law enforcement personnel and widely circulated such charges and accusations among police agencies and units. The FBI and the NYPD further charged her as being a leader of the Black Liberation Army which the government and its respective agencies described as an organization engaged in the shooting of police officers. This description of the Black Liberation Army and the accusation of Assata Shakur’s relationship to it was widely circulated by government agents among police agencies and units. As a result of these activities by the government, Ms. Shakur became a hunted person; posters in police precincts and banks described her as being involved in serious criminal activities; she was highlighted on the FBI’s most wanted list; and to police at all levels she became a ‘shoot-to-kill’ target.”

I was falsely accused in six different “criminal cases” and in all six of these cases I was eventually acquitted or the charges were dismissed. The fact that I was acquitted or that the charges were dismissed, did not mean that I received justice in the courts, that was certainly not the case. It only meant that the “evidence” presented against me was so flimsy and false that my innocence became evident. This political persecution was part and parcel of the government’s policy of eliminating political opponents by charging them with crimes and arresting them with no regard to the factual basis of such charges.

On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a “faulty tail light.” Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zayd and I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became “suspicious.” He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back. Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Foerster was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death of trooper Forester. Never in my life have I felt such grief. Zayd had vowed to protect me, and to help me to get to a safe place, and it was clear that he had lost his life, trying to protect both me and Sundiata. Although he was also unarmed, and the gun that killed trooper Foerster was found under Zayd’s leg, Sundiata Acoli, who was captured later, was also charged with both deaths. Neither Sundiata Acoli nor I ever received a fair trial We were both convicted in the news media way before our trials. No news media was ever permitted to interview us, although the New Jersey police and the FBI fed stories to the press on a daily basis. In 1977, I was convicted by an all- white jury and sentenced to life plus 33 years in prison. In 1979, fearing that I would be murdered in prison, and knowing that I would never receive any justice, I was liberated from prison, aided by committed comrades who understood the depths of the injustices in my case, and who were also extremely fearful for my life.

The U.S. Senate’s 1976 Church Commission report on intelligence operations inside the USA, revealed that “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory information to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” news contacts.” This same policy is evidently still very much in effect today.

On December 24, 1997, The New Jersey State called a press conference to announce that New Jersey State Police had written a letter to Pope John Paul II asking him to intervene on their behalf and to aid in having me extradited back to New Jersey prisons. The New Jersey State Police refused to make their letter public. Knowing that they had probably totally distort the facts, and attempted to get the Pope to do the devils work in the name of religion, I decided to write the Pope to inform him about the reality of’ “justice” for black people in the State of New Jersey and in the United States. (See attached Letter to the Pope).

In January of 1998, during the pope’s visit to Cuba, I agreed to do an interview with NBC journalist Ralph Penza around my letter to the Pope, about my experiences in New Jersey court system, and about the changes I saw in the United States and it’s treatment of Black people in the last 25 years. I agreed to do this interview because I saw this secret letter to the Pope as a vicious, vulgar, publicity maneuver on the part of the New Jersey State Police, and as a cynical attempt to manipulate Pope John Paul II. I have lived in Cuba for many years, and was completely out of touch with the sensationalist, dishonest, nature of the establishment media today. It is worse today than it was 30 years ago. After years of being victimized by the “establishment” media it was naive of me to hope that I might finally get the opportunity to tell “my side of the story.” Instead of an interview with me, what took place was a “staged media event” in three parts, full of distortions, inaccuracies and outright lies. NBC purposely misrepresented the facts. Not only did NBC spend thousands of dollars promoting this “exclusive interview series” on NBC, they also spent a great deal of money advertising this “exclusive interview” on black radio stations and also placed notices in local newspapers.

. . .

Like most poor and oppressed people in the United States, I do not have a voice. Black people, poor people in the U.S. have no real freedom of speech, no real freedom of expression and very little freedom of the press. The black press and the progressive media has historically played an essential role in the struggle for social justice. We need to continue and to expand that tradition. We need to create media outlets that help to educate our people and our children, and not annihilate their minds. I am only one woman. I own no TV stations, or Radio Stations or Newspapers. But I feel that people need to be educated as to what is going on, and to understand the connection between the news media and the instruments of repression in Amerika. All I have is my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth. But I sincerely ask, those of you in the Black media, those of you in the progressive media, those of you who believe in truth freedom, To publish this statement and to let people know what is happening. We have no voice, so you must be the voice of the voiceless.

Free all Political Prisoners, I send you Love and Revolutionary Greetings From Cuba, One of the Largest, Most Resistant and Most Courageous Palenques (Maroon Camps) That has ever existed on the Face of this Planet.

Assata Shakur Havana, Cuba

Below is a clip of Assata Sakur’s Documentary “Eyes of the Rainbow: Assata Shakur Documentary”

 

“I am a Black revolutionary woman, and because of this i have been charged with and accused of every alleged crime in which a woman was believed to have participated. The alleged crimes in which only men were supposedly involved, i have been accused of planning. They have plastered pictures alleged to be me in post offices, airports, hotels, police cars, subways, banks, television, and newspapers. They have offered … rewards for my capture and they have issued orders to shoot on sight and shoot to kill.” — Assata Shakur

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography

Volunteer Meeting April 10 8PM

•April 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Volunteer Meeting April 10 8PM

Hosting a volunteer meeting this Wednesday. If you’re interested in learning about becoming a volunteer come get information about becoming a librarian! If you’re an experienced volunteer let’s talk about new books, organization, etc.

SSA and the Flying Brick Library Present: Scott Crow; “Black Flags & Windmills”

•April 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Join the Flying Brick Library and Students for Social Action for a presentation by Scott Crow! Co-founder of Common Ground Collective in New Orleans!

black+flags+and+windmills

There will be two presentations! One Monday, April 15th at The Flying Brick at 7pm and the second Tuesday, April 16th at Richmond Salon III in the VCU Student Commons at 7pm.

The presentation based on crow’s book Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy and the Common Ground Collective (PM Press) is used as a foundation for a visual, fast moving and engaging presentation of stories to show what ordinary people can do to change their own worlds without governments. It is equal parts personal story, radical history and organizing philosophy based on crow’s experiences as a radical and anarchist organizer in the US. Some highlights covered are the connections and influences of past movements on current grassroots political organizing, the creation of the Common Ground Collective–the largest anarchist/horizontal inspired organization in modern US history formed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005–crow being labeled a ‘domestic terrorist’ by the US government and investigated for 10 years as and the effects of the ‘war on terrorism’ on political dissent and building power from below.

Please Write Letters to Imprisoned Latin Kings!

•March 19, 2013 • Leave a Comment

From our friends on the ALKQN Support Committee

 

FORSYTH COUNTY DETENTION CENTER:

Jorge Cornell (King Jay)

Russell (Jonathan) Kilfoil (King Peaceful)

Ernesto Wilson

Forsyth County Detention Center (F.C.D.C)
201 N. Church St.
Winston Salem NC, 27101

 

USP COLEMAN 1:

Randolph Kilfoil (King Paul) #24768-057

USP Coleman I
US Pen. PO Box 1033
Coleman FL 33521
 

MARIAN CI:

Irvin Vasquez (King Dice) #0912834

Marian CI. 
PO Box 2405
Marian NC 28752

POLK CI.

Carlos Coleman (King Spanky) #1204102

Polk CI. 
Po Box. 2500
Butner NC 27509

 

Currently King Jay, King Peaceful, and Wilson are in limbo and waiting to hear back from the court about their motion for retrial and/or sentencing hearing.  King Paul, King Dice, and King Spanky were found not guilty of Racketeering but unfortunately are still locked up. More updates soon.

They need words of encouragement or just letters and people to write. Thank you.

Solidarity with Brooklyn Youth Resisting Police Violence!

•March 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment
 
  
  

Demonstrators face-off against police during a protest against the police shooting of Kimani Gray, March 13, 2013 in the East Flatbush neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Numerous arrests were made during the police crackdown on this protest.

16-year-old Kimani Gray was shot and killed by police on March 9, provoking unrest in the neighborhood. Gray was shot in the back and had committed no crime.

 

from Socialism, Art, Nature

2 of the 3 Grand Jury Resisters in the NW to be Released!

•February 28, 2013 • 1 Comment

From the Committee Against Political Repression:

As reported by Brendan Kiley (a good man and fine reporter), Matt Duran and Kteeo Olejnik are scheduled to be released from SeaTac FDC tomorrow afternoon.

This is really really really really excellent news! We recommend following the link and reading the entire article.

Don’t forget that Maddy Pfeiffer remains imprisoned. Please continue writing to them and supporting them!

Memphis, TN: March 15th-16th, International Day Against Police Brutality

•February 23, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Reposted from Black Talk Radio Network

March 15-16 International Protest Against Police Brutality To Be Held In Memphis

The local events will begin on March 15 with a rally at 10 a.m. outside Memphis City Hall, 125 N. Main St. After the rally, protesters will march to police department headquarters at 201 Poplar Ave., where they will conduct a picket line.

On March 16, a community speak-out against police brutality and a mini-conference for activists will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at LeMoyne-Owen College in the Little Theater of the Alma Hanson Student Center, 807 Walker Ave.

The International Day of Action Against Police Brutality began with protests in Montreal, Canada, and in Sweden on March 15, 1997, and since then has been held annually throughout the world. This will be the first observance in Memphis, said JoNina Ervin, the acting chair of the Memphis Black Autonomy Federation, whose Black Autonomy Copwatch program is sponsoring the local events.

Activists from Denver, Colo., Dayton, Ohio, and St. Louis are among those expected to attend, Ervin said.

“Many anti-police brutality activists in the United States know that at least 13 people have been killed by Memphis police officers since 2012,” said Ervin. “This number is one of the highest, if not the highest, number of civilians killed by police in America in the past year.

“Our fellow activists in other cities are outraged by these deaths, and that’s why several are coming to stand in solidarity with us in our fight against police terror, brutality, and corruption in Memphis.”

Black Autonomy Copwatch

c/o Memphis Black Autonomy Federation

P.O. Box 16382 – Memphis, TN 38186-0382

(901)674-8430 – organize.the.hood@gmail.com

RVA Solidarity Actions to be announced soon.

 
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