Friday, June 18, 2010

*Reflections On The Class-War Prisoners Freedom Campaign And The Black Liberation Struggle- On The Imprisoned Black Liberation Army (BLA) Fighters

Click on the headline to link to a "Wikipedia" entry for the Black Liberation Army (BLA). As always be careful with this source when politics, especially left politics, are at issue. The real import of this entry is the list provided of those class-war prisoners still behind bars who were associated with the BLA.

*Reflections On The Class-War Prisoners Freedom Campaign And The Black Liberation Struggle- On The Imprisoned Black Liberation Army (BLA) Fighters-A Short Note

Markin comment:

Over the past several days I have placed a large number of posts centered on the struggle to get some publicity for the class-war prisoners now languishing in American prisons. I took the list of class-war prisoners from the National Jericho Movement site as that seemed to be the most complete listing (and also overlapped with some of the prisoners supported by the Partisan Defense Committee, an organization that I support). Putting this campaign together: reading about the individual cases, looking for sites that gave added information on those cases and the like I became aware, or became more aware, of how close the struggle to free the American class-war prisoners is with the black liberation struggle.

The list of class-war prisoner cases include some old time white radicals, notably recently imprisoned people’s attorney and grandmother Lynne Stewart, the last two members remaining behind bars of the Ohio 7, Tom Manning and Jaan Laaman, and 1960s SDS- style activists like David Gilbert and Marilyn Buck. It also includes younger activists from more recent movements like animal rights liberation and the ecological struggle. Missing, although given the low level of class struggle over the past few decades understandable, are labor militants like the old time Wobblies (IWW) or Tom Mooney. Also missing are younger versions of 1960s student activists like Gilbert and Buck mentioned above, although given the lack of serious campus struggles (at least until recently over budget cuts) that too is understandable.

What is truly amazing, however, and should give us pause, is how many of the prisoners listed are old time black liberation fighters from the Black Panthers and other black nationalist organizations, particularly the Black Liberation Army (BLA). In the cases of the remaining old time white radicals still imprisoned, there are also some connections to that black liberation struggle as some of those activists saw themselves as aiding black and “Third World” liberation movements from “inside the heart of the beasts.” But the black liberation fighters are the real subject of this commentary.

Now these fighters are not Martin Luther King wannabes, although some of them may have started out their political careers with that prospective. A great number of them may have started looking at that King “turn the other cheek” strategy as the way to deliverance from black oppression. But when things got “hot” in America in the late 1960s and the deep racism inherent in an American society bedrock born on the bones of black slaves was exposed for all to see, at least those who wanted to that approach went by the boards. When the fight went beyond some simple white liberal support for the right to vote, down South, these fighters gravitated to black nationalist organizations like the Black Panthers. Some stayed and some moved on.

Every radical, certainly every white radical, in the 1960s fawned; there is no other word for it, over the Black Panthers, rightly or wrongly, as the vanguard of the revolution, or at least the vanguard of the black liberation struggle. And that, moreover, is the way that organization, and its leaders, saw themselves. There was no room for criticism of strategy, hell, at one point there was no room for white radicals even talking to black militants. Until the “heat” came down. The American government “heat” that made no secret about the fact that if one wanted to be a black revolutionary then one was going to be a dead black revolutionary. And, frankly, as the class-war case histories and other evidence demonstrate they basically succeeded in that objective. In response the Black Panthers fractured, some like Bobby Seale, Bobby Rush and Huey Newton heading “home” to the Democratic Party, other went off to form organizations dedicated to various black urban guerrilla warfare strategies.

And that is where the Black Liberation Army (BLA) comes in. The names of the Cuba-exiled Assata Shakur (yes, Tupac’s “auntie”), imprisoned Doctor Mutulu Shakur (yes, Tupac’s father), and imprisoned Sundiata Acoli should come to mind. It is almost mind-boggling how many of those still behind bars for revolutionary activity are connected, one way or another, with that organization. Now the BLA came at the tail end of the struggle of the 1960s and so it has gotten short shrift both by those 1960s radicals who should know better and by a wall of ignorance by later activists caught up in the mighty grip of a lack of historic interest in the struggles of those who came before them.

I have enclosed a link to a “Wikipedia” entry on the BLA and will be writing more about that organization later, including criticism of speratist urban guerilla warfare strategies. But today listen to this. I know that the only justice these fighters will get is by a successful socialist revolution but in the meantime let’s fight and fight like demons to get them out of those hellhole prisons. Free the Black Liberation Army (BLA) fighters- Hands Off Assata Shakur!

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