For the month of August, the Black Organizing Commission of Freedom Road Socialist Organization is collaborating with Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity)to commemorate Black August. Black August is a time to honor our freedom fighters, political prisoners, politicized prisoners and prisoners of war.
One of the ways we are commemorating Black August is by sharing our reflections about different topics of interest to Black revolutionaries.
Here are our reflections for week two’s topic: speak about why freeing Political Prisoners is imperative for Black liberation.
- “We must free political prisoners because political imprisonment is a strategy used by sections of the imperialist white dictatorship to isolate freedom fighters from each other. Under capitalism, we are alienated from the wealth we create, from our full creative potentials and from other people. Political imprisonment is a stark example of this. Free them all!” – AB
- “Freeing political prisoners is important to Black Liberation because these individuals are the bodies and minds that represent the threat of Black Liberation to the State. They, generally speaking, had the most forward and far reaching strategies, tactics and practices. There by making them public enemy number one in the face and eyes of the oppressive systems and institutions that prop up the society that thrives on keeping Black people, in particular, “in their place” by physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual means. Freeing political prisoners represents this country, figuratively and literally (to a certain extent), liberating themselves from the tyranny they have held our people and others under.” – Whitney
- “In every freedom struggle, our opponents try to repress the movement by jailing, killing, and intimidating leaders. In order to free our comrades who are prisoners or exiles because of their role in struggle, we need to build political power. There’s no other way. Nelson Mandela wasn’t freed because of a well-argued court case. He was freed because the power of the anti-apartheid movement was overwhelming the apartheid government. We too must build powerful movements so that we can bring home those who have fought and suffered on our behalf.” – Sendolo
- “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”- Fannie Lou Hamer
“All Black lives matter, and we as revolutionaries and as a People, would be remiss if we didn’t include freeing our political prisoners as essential to Black Liberation. My ancestors and elders, who sacrificed so much for their People and themselves, are who give me the strength to continue this work and this fight, whenever I want to give up on everything, including myself. We have a political and communal duty as Black revolutionaries and as a People to see that our political prisoners are freed. There are no officially recognized political prisoners by the United States, because the assassinations and incarceration of our comrades was a systematic attack by the government to criminalize, delegitimize, and crush the Black Liberation and Nationalist organizations and movements of that era. The same tactics are employed today. But we recognize that, as Mama Assata stated: “They’re not in prison because they’re criminals. Criminals put them in prison. They’re in prison because of illegal thoughts. And that illegal thought is Freedom, is liberation, is social justice, is political justice, is economic justice.” 20-30+ years in prison, in slavery, and they’re still fighting y’all! And it hurts to reflect on those who have already passed on before they were liberated from incarceration. Mama Assata said, “…to not support and struggle for the liberation of political prisoners today,…, is the equivalent of not supporting Harriet Tubman…Frederick Douglass, because we are victimized by a different type of slavery. But don’t forget; it’s slavery.” It is our duty to fight for and win our freedom y’all, and that includes their freedom too!” – Anjie
- “Political prisoners get sent to prison for doing the same type of work that we do every day. I believe in collective liberation at my core. If the person standing next to me is not free, then neither am I. There is a saying that “if they come for me at night, they will come for you in the morning”. It’s, important for Political Prisoners to be free and for us to fight like hell for them because we can’t get free without them. They have led us by example, and the best way to honor them is to free them all!” – caz
- “When we consider incarceration as a means to separate large sections of people from their communities and hold these groups in economic bondage, then we must consider ending a reliance on incarceration as central to our fight for liberation. Imprisonment is a tool of capitalism to keep large sections of people hungry, fearful and captive regardless of whether they are behind walls. It is the new Jim Crow.” – Kim
- “August cannot be the only time we talk about Political Prisoners. It has to become a fundamental component of the contemporary Black liberation agenda. I say this because so many of the beautiful and energetic young people coming into political life know little about the courageous brothers and sisters still locked up in dungeons because they fought against the system of white supremacy and for our liberation. Their contributions and current plight is as essential to the Black freedom narrative as slave rebellions, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. The fight to free them, no matter how difficult, is critical on two fronts. First, we owe them a tremendous debt. Second, we cannot let today’s freedom fighters be intimidated or deterred by the threat of punishment by the State without support from the movement or the masses of our people and our allies. Free them all!” – Ajamu