Humans are such an amazingly adaptable species. We can collectively adjust and even grow accustomed to almost unimaginably challenging and calamitous circumstances, even as our comrades, friends, families and ourselves are adversely affected. As the pandemic rages throughout overfull prisons, jails and detention centers nationwide, and the increasing disasters of climate change disproportionately affect communities intentionally ‘disadvantaged’ by state capitalism, perhaps it’s time to adapt less and resist more. Resistance can come in many forms, including mutual aid and tangible acts of solidarity. One simple such act is to write a letter to a political prisoner.
So please join us and Page One Collective this week in writing to Black liberation political prisoner Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, the longest confined former member of the Black Panther Party, who has spent 51 years behind bars. Though Chip has been eligible for parole for decades, and was declared “a low risk of committing offenses” by the BOP’s own psychologists, he remains locked up in a California prison. There is a petition campaign for his release, and more information available here.
Please take the time to write a letter to Chip (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):
Chip can be written to at this address: Chip Fitzgerald* #B-27527 California State Prison – LAC Post Office Box 4490B-4-150 Lancaster, California 93539 *Address envelope to Romaine Fitzgerald.
We are excited to release issue #1 of our newly restarted newspaper. The Jamal Journal was last published in the mid-1990s by the uncompromising International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ).
We have begun a 48 hour fundraising to print as many newspapers as we can. If we can raise $3000, we will be able to print 15,000 copies this week and still have over $500 for postage costs. If you donate $10 we will send you a newspaper. If you donate $50 or more, we will also send you a gift copy of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s new book, Murder Incorporated, Vol. 3: Perfecting Tyranny.
Philly ABC is hosting a letter writing event for Doug Wright of the Cleveland 4 Monday February 22nd 6:30-8:30pm EST
Doug Wright left home at age fourteen and became involved in radical leftist activities and anti-war rallies in California. Shortly thereafter, Doug picked up train hopping and made his way all over the country. On one occasion he accidentally found himself in Anderson, Indiana where he met people with a music company that hosted all-age punk rock shows. These folks became Doug’s new family for the next five years.
Doug was then in Cleveland during the Occupy movement and became the target, along with three other activists, of an elaborate FBI setup operation. They were accused of plotting a series of bombings, including that of an area bridge. However the real story is that the FBI, working with an informant, created the scheme, produced the explosives, and coerced the four of them into participating. Doug received the longest sentence of all the Cleveland 4 – 11.5 years.
Doug’s life has been a series of tests, trials, and tribulations. Prison has been no different. He is luckily entering the last year of imprisonment, but his struggle is not over. Because he will be on lifetime probation, he will be unable to travel and live nomadically in the way that he loves again. Please join us in sending some heartfelt messages of solidarity to him.
This event will be held on Jitsi – we’ll post the meet link on social media the day of. You can also message us to get the link beforehand. If you are unable to join us on Monday drop Doug a line at:
Slow Burn: From Seattle to Syria, from Russia to an arrest in Cuba, an ecosaboteur and 12-year fugitive now awaits sentencing by a Eugene judge.
En route to Havana, Cuba, on May 21, 2018, a man identifying himself as “Yousef Deba” was stopped by El Salvadorian authorities after he showed his passport and travel documents. He was photographed, his eye was scanned, he was twice fingerprinted and his electronics were searched.
His biometric data matched information on an outstanding warrant from Oregon for a Joseph Dibee. He was allowed to board a plane to Havana, where he was arrested by Cuban agents, who contacted the U.S. and agreed to turn him over to federal authorities.
The U.S. had finally captured one of the last remaining fugitives from the Northwest ecowars of the late 1990s, an outbreak of fires and other sabotage that gripped the region’s attention. In previous years 15 other people surrendered or were caught by federal agents who branded the young activists as “terrorists,” though they never injured or killed anyone.
This is the story of Dibee’s years on the run, a complex tale of international intrigue and betrayal. Except where noted, it’s based on court documents obtained by Eugene Weekly.
This week the Renegade Crew celebrates its 100th episode of Renegade Culture. Jalil Muntaqim former political prisoner and veteran Black Panther Party Member gives his first podcast interview since his release. He talks about joining the Panther Party, the role of the Black underground, his 49 years in prison, and where the Black Movement is today.
A review of ‘Pen Pal: Prison Letters from a Free Spirit on Slow Death Row’ by Tiyo Attallah Salah-El
by David Gilbert
This inspiring book consists of a selection of 92 of the 568 letters prisoner Tiyo Attallah Salah-El sent out to Paul Alan Smith over the course of 14 years – just one of Tiyo’s richly engaging correspondences. From this book, one can learn a lot about the realities of prison and see a stellar example of a wonderfully productive life despite all kinds of obstacles and feel the passion for social justice.
Tiyo was incarcerated in 1975 in Pennsylvania, where 60 percent of prisoners are Black or Latinx. “Pen Pal” is not about his case. We only learn in passing that it involved drugs, guns and murder and that he is ashamed of the person he was.
Tiyo was sent to SCI Dallas, a prison built to house 950 but holds 2,480. He was placed on “slow death row,” the unit for 453 lifers, with little or no chance at all for parole. Pennsylvania holds 5,370 such people. Tiyo remained there until he died in 2018 at the age of 85.
On slow death row, Tiyo formed deep friendships with Phil and Delbert Africa of the revolutionary Black liberation and environmental MOVE organization. Mike Africa Jr., the son of two other MOVE activists who each did four decades in prison, wrote the touching preface to this book.
While “Pen Pal” is not at all an effort to provide a detailed picture of prison life, Tiyo’s various passing references give readers a better sense of the realities than I’ve been able to do even with direct descriptions. We feel life in a 5-by-8-foot cell, where you never sleep next to a loved one, where you feel the cold before the heat gets turned on Nov. 1 and the high 90 degrees when the block bakes in July.
There’s the censorship, whereby Tiyo couldn’t even receive a book on prison abolition that included one of his essays. There’re the frequent lockdowns when you are in your cell for the duration, eating peanut butter sandwiches and hoping that the SWAT team doesn’t trash your cell too badly.
Founded in Oakland, California, in 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was a radical political organization that stood in defiant contrast to the mainstream civil rights movement. This gripping illustrated history explores the impact and significance of the Panthers, from their social, educational, and healthcare programs that were designed to uplift the Black community to their battle against police brutality through citizen patrols and frequent clashes with the FBI, which targeted the Party from its outset.
Using dramatic comic book-style retellings and illustrated profiles of key figures, The Black Panther Party captures the major events, people, and actions of the party, as well as their cultural and political influence and enduring legacy.
Jalil Muntaqim is an activist, author, and former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. During his five decades of incarceration, Muntaqim remained a pioneering leader within and without his prison walls. He initiated national campaigns for the United States to recognize the status of political prisoners who, like himself, fought for liberation in the face of state persecution, surveillance and intimidation, and later helped to found an amnesty movement dedicated to freeing political prisoners and prisoners of war. He also earned multiple college degrees, mentored hundreds of people, and taught classes on sociology, African Studies, poetry, IT, and other life skills.
Released on parole in October 2020, and now at Citizen Action NY, Muntaqim lends his experience and knowledge of history to discuss the way forward from our present moment on policing, popular resistance, criminal (in)justice, and our collective imaginings for a more just, more humane future.
The conversation, co-hosted by the UR Abolition Coalition, the Center for Community Engagement, the Frederick Douglass Institute, the Susan B. Anthony Institute, the Rochester Decarceration Research Initiative, and the Central New York Humanities Corridor, includes a moderated discussion followed by an audience Q&A.ASL Interpretation will be provided. Please be in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org with other requests for accommodation or questions as far in advance of the event as possible.
It’s halfway through February so figured we would drop the price for all you holdouts! Get your 2021 Certain Days calendar while they last- we are at about 3 boxes left and they are going fast.Order from https://burningbooks.com/…/certain-days-2021-calendar-a…and get free shipping on orders over $35.
This year’s theme is “A Generation of Support Through the Bars” and features art and writings by Grae Rosa, Herman Bell, Veronza Bowers, David Campbell, Saima Desai, Damon Locks, Tom Manning, Monica Trinidad, Nidal el-Khairy, David Gilbert, Gord Hill (aka Zig Zag), Eric King, Jaan Laaman, Paul Lacombe, Joy Powell, Richard Rivera, Laura Whitehorn, Linda Evans and Susan Rosenberg, Xinachtli and more!