June POC Political Prisoners

Ramon Salazr [Luis Medina]
#58734-004
FCI Jesup
2680 301 South
Jesup, GA 3159
 
Ramon is one of The Cuban Five, five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being convicted in 2001. They were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage against the U.S. But the five argued compellingly that they were involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups, in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba. For more than 40 years, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based in Miami have engaged in countless terrorist activities against Cuba, and against anyone who advocates a normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba. (Address envelope to Luis Medina III, address card to Ramon Labanino Salazar)
 
 
Sekou Odinga
09-A-3775
Shawangunk Correctional Facility
750 Prison Road
Wallkill, NY 12589-0750
 
Imprisoned for actions carried out in the fight for Black Liberation.  In 1965 Sekou joined the Organization for Afro American Unity, founded by Malcolm X. In early 1968 he helped build the Bronx Black Panther Party. In January 1969 Sekou joined the Black Liberation Army. He remained underground partaking in revolutionary clandestine activity for 12 years until his capture. He was charged with 6 counts of attempted murder of police, 9 predicate acts of Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization, including the liberation of Assata Shakur from prison and expropriation of an armored truck. He is serving consecutive 25-life state time and a 40 year federal sentence.
 
 
Delbert Africa
AM4985 / Drawer K
SCI Dallas
1000 Follies Road
Dallas, PA 18612
 
Delbert Africa is one of the people who make up the MOVE 9. There are
currently eight MOVE activists in prison each serving 100 years after been
framed for the murder of a cop in 1979. The 9th defendant, Merle Africa,
died in prison in 1998. MOVE is an eco-revolutionary group dedicated to
liberation struggles.
 
 
Abdul Majid
83A0483
Elmira Correctional Facility
PO Box 500, 1879 Davis St
Elmira, New York 14902-0500
 
As a direct result of his Black Panther Party membership, Abdul was hunted, captured, framed and convicted of the 1981 murder and attempted murder of two police officers in St. Albans, Queens. Over a five-year period, Abdul was tried three times for this incident, the main witness being a man who was hypnotized by the police. The first two trials the jury was deadlocked and the government was unable to successfully convict him. A racially stacked jury in the third trial returned a guilty verdict and sentenced him to 33⅓ years to life.
 
 

“Love and Struggle: My Life In SDS, The Weather Underground And Beyond” by David Gilbert

I am one of the two hundred or so of today’s activists who started writing David Gilbert after seeing The Weather Underground.  I actually saw it a number of times before I wrote, and even that was actually after I found out his memoirs were going to be published.  I think the strength of Love and Struggle compared to the memoirs of other ex-Weather People such as Fugitive Days by Bill Ayers and Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen by Mark Rudd is that it is fully geared towards learning from past mistakes, action and in-action.

Opening with a dedication “To today’s activists and organizers,” there are bell hooks and Amilcar Cabral quotes before the main text that help create an intellectual framework that continues on for the rest of the book.  Gilbert consistently quotes and references other activists and revolutionaries giving plenty of material for further research for those interested.

After an appreciation written by Boots Riley from The Coup, Gilbert’s Introduction is a brief explanation for writing his memoirs that is followed by his recounting of a brutal beating by police after he was arrested after the Brink’s Incident.  This is the first of many stories Gilbert writes as if they are happening in the present, to be followed up in this case with a description of his childhood in upper-middle class Brookline, MA and his deep belief in the purported beliefs of the United States; “liberty and justice for all,” etc.

Like many True Believers, Gilbert’s disillusion led him to try to right some of the many wrongs in our society, and his memoirs take you down his path from Liberalism and Pascifism to becoming a Revolutionary.  Every step of the way Gilbert offers a constant analysis of what he was thinking and feeling, what could have been done differently, what was done wrong.  I think the real power that comes from this is not just reading what he thinks he and his comrades had done wrong, but also the system of thought for analysing mistakes and inaction.  It shouldn’t take death and heavy prison sentences for us to reflect on our failures as throughly as Gilbert does, especially white people who consider themselves to be allies of people of color which was a large part of Weather Thought.

For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, you can watch The Weather Underground for free here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6kPGh0w_-c&feature=related

There’s also an excellent Round Table discussion on Love and Struggle posted here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTp9733ejb0&feature=player_embedded

A few other books written by people who went underground that I would recommend are Angela Davis–An Autobiography by Angela Y. Davis, Outlaw Woman:  A Memoir of the War Years 1960-1975 by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz and Arm the Spirit:  A Story from Underground and Back by Diana Block.

If you have the interest, please consider writing Gilbert:

David Gilbert

DIN:  83A6158

Auburn Correctional Facility

P.O. Box 618

Auburn, NY 13024

It has been my experience that it usually takes him two or three months to respond, but all of his letters have been very thoughtful and inspiring, as much of my correspondence with political prisoners and prisoners of war has been.