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. Here is a very informative article about Black August’s true history and culture written by Mama Ayanna Mashama (member of MXGM).
“A political prisoner is a person who is incarcerated for their political beliefs and actions. The incarceration is purely political as proven by their disproportionate sentences, torture, and lack of evidence in their cases. That’s the difference between them and politicized prisoners. Those are folks who are incarcerated for breaking a non-political law but then become politically active after incarceration (i.e. Mutulu Shakur vs. George Jackson). These politicized prisoners then face increased violence from the state as a result of their politicization. ”
– Hiram Rivera (member of MXGM)
Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organizacion Socialista del Camino para la Libertad believes that all political and politicized prisoners should be freed. We want to use this month as a time to practice collective study, reflection, and fasting and physical training. The Black Organizing Commission of FRSO, along with BOLD and MXGM, will be hosting weekly political education discussions about Black political traditions every Tuesday night at 8:30 pm Eastern time during the month. These discussions are Black only spaces. FRSO’s BOC members will also be writing weekly reflections about different topics of interest to Black revolutionaries. We will be posting them here to our site.
We believe it is imperative that Black socialists commemorate Black August, for a myriad of reasons. We become incarcerated because of our beliefs and the actions they necessitate. There is a wall that separates us, but we have the same fight. In the book Blood in My Eye, George Jackson says, “At each institution, I’ve been in, 30 to sometimes 40 percent of those held are Black, and every one of the many thousands I’ve encountered was from the working class.” Our siblings who are incarcerated need and deserve the same care, intention, and love that we put into organizing every other section of the working class.
This political moment continues to feel harder every day. There is an attack economically, racially, physically, and spiritually on our lives. We believe that the intersection of theory and practice is where power is built. So, as we learn together this month, we also encourage you to get out and build community with other folks in your area. Write letters to political prisoners. Start here for some names and addresses. There are several organizations commemorating Black August this year. Find them and go support their events!