is the 29th anniversary of Black August, first organized to
honor our martyred freedom fighters, Jonathan and George Jackson,
Khatari Gaulden, James McClain, William Christmas, and the sole
survivor of the August 7,1970 Courthouse Slave Rebellion, Ruchell
Cinque Magee. It’s a time to embrace the principles of unity,
self-sacrifice, political education, physical fitness and/or
training in martial arts, resistance and revolution - transforming
ourselves into the new man, the new woman.
As Mumia Abu-Jamal noted, “August is a month of meaning, of
repression and radical resistance, of injustice and divine justice;
of repression and righteous rebellion; of individual and collective
efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.”
Primarily, August is the month we recall the great loss exacted
upon our Black revolutionary movement with the assassination
of George Jackson and his younger brother, the teenaged Jonathan
Jackson. Jonathan was martyred when he led the August 7th rebellion;
George was martyred a year later, August 21.
I had the privilege and the good fortune of being in the right
place at the right time to initiate a correspondence with George
in the winter of 1971, and months later, a one-hour visit in
the holding cell of San Quentin. I’ve met no one before or since
more dedicated to revolutionary change.
you will note from some of the quotes below, George was a brilliant
leader who set a righteous example of intellectual, physical
growth and advanced development of consciousness.
Attorney Steve Bingham, tried and acquitted of all charges in
the case resulting from the events of August 21, ’71, once told
me that when prison staff cleaned out Jackson’s cell after he
was killed, they found 99 books covering the history of the
world. In fact, he had sent me a book list (I had a lot of catching
up to do.), and told me he read some six dailies and several
books a week, while doing 1,000 fingertip pushups a day. He
was in solitary confinement for most of his 11 years in prison
for a $70 robbery when he was 18 years old.
Bingham noted in an interview, “It’s clear to me that his responsibility
in bringing international attention to prison conditions in
California brought on him the wrath of the California Department
of Corrections. This, together with his designation as Field
Marshal of the Black Panther Party, certainly put him in their
Moreover, his two books, bestseller “Soledad Brother: The Prison
Letters of George Jackson” and “Blood In My Eye,” completed
just before his death were also factors.
California prisons prepare to integrate double cells, beginning
with Mule Creek in Ione and Sierra Conservation Center (what
a euphemism!) in Jamestown, Jackson’s words should be heeded:
“If there were any differences or grievances between us in the
black colonies and the peoples of other colonies across the
country, around the world, we should be willing to forget them
in the desperate need for coordination against Amerikan fascism…
To destroy it will require cooperation and communion between
our related parts; communion between colony and colony, nation
Moreover, it’s important to bear in mind that “race” is a false
construct, that our genetic map is 99.9% the same indicating
one human race (having cultural, religious, national, political
differences), and that all humans originated on the Mother continent
From “Blood in My Eye,” George Jackson calls upon us to:
“Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality
of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that
people are dying who could be saved, that generations more will
live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must
be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution.”
today’s harsh realities, the need to organize a revolutionary
movement is greater than ever.
Today’s social and environmental problems are many times worse
than they were 30 - 40 years ago and threatening to worsen.
Economic disparities are greater than ever with one percent
of the world’s population owning 80% of the wealth. Multibillionaires
vs. billions of people living on less than a dollar a day!
Food riots have broken out in Haiti, Bangladesh, Egypt and elsewhere
as food prices soar along with the cost of fuel. And millions
are going hungry right here in the belly of the beast.
The U.S. now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world
– and rising. It currently has 2.4 million people locked up
with seven million more on probation or parole.
California has the greatest number of prisoners and prisons
– some 90 prisons, jails, and camps housing more than 170,000
men and women. – with a plan to add another 53,000 beds! And
the cost is astronomical.
to this the lack of adequate health care, education and employment,
proliferation of drugs and guns, homelessness, hunger and destitution,
unjust imperialist wars, and climate-change disasters.
The result is the destruction of our families and communities,
social isolation/alienation, PTSD, drug addiction, child and
spousal abuse, and violence turned inward as manifested in random,
senseless killings of oppressed people by other oppressed people.
By the end of the 1970’s, the Black Panther Party was dissolved
- victim of the FBI’s notorious COINTELPRO that used every “dirty
trick” in the book to destroy it, as well as its youthful lack
of experience. Yet its impact upon the Black community, the
nation and the world was immeasurable.
I still believe Comrade George was correct when he said, “withdrawal
from the enemy state and its social, political and economic
life is the first step toward its destruction.”
As George put it, “Fascism has temporarily succeeded under the
guise of reform.”
Modern-day fascism is the combined dictatorship of big business
and government, characterized by greed, militarism, racism,
homophobia, and classism.
I think the fascist powers that be feel compelled to put a fresh
face on fascism – a brown face.
We cannot be so naïve as to think that Democratic Party nominee
Barack Obama has broken all records in campaign fundraising
because he’s going to change things for you and me. Please.
As Jamil al-Amin (H.Rap Brown) noted, “If voting could change
things; they’d make it illegal.”
It should be obvious that Obama cannot and will not produce
real change, like moving from capitalism to socialism, redistributing
the wealth, abolishing the prison system per se, changing domestic
and foreign policies.
In fact, upon his sealing the nomination, Obama beat a path
to AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee, the Zionist
lobby) where he pandered grossly to the Zionist occupiers of
Palestine. This is nothing short of a betrayal of the Arab/Palestinian
people, especially those desperate children, women and men currently
under siege in Gaza, an open air prison.
Obama knows on what side his bread is buttered. No candidate
for Congress or the White House can get there without the Israeli
lobby. Congressional representatives, Cynthia McKinney and Earl
Hilliard learned it the hard way.
“When we participate is this election to win, instead of disrupt,
we're lending to its credibility, and destroying our own. With
all the factors of control over the electoral process in the
hands of the minority ruling class, the people's party can always
be made to seem isolated, unimportant, even extraneous...
“All political parties, as things stand, will support the power
complex.” -George Jackson
In conclusion, let’s honor this Black August by honoring the
politics of our beloved Comrade brother, George Lester Jackson.
Study his works and struggle to release political prisoners,
especially his comrades, Hugo L.A. Pinell and Ruchell Cinque
Magee, doing their 44th and 45th year, respectively, in California
In closing, I ask you to send your love energies to our wounded
warrior, Comrade Mjumbe Gazi, who is gravely ill with lung cancer,
hospitalized in Oakland. His voice can be heard on “Black August
Commemoration 2006,” a four-hour radio program produced by yours
truly and archived at KPFA.
Long live the guerrilla.
Power to the people.
Free ‘em all!
BlackCommentator.com Guest Commentator, Kiilu
Nyasha, was a Black Panther and has been part of the international
struggle for nearly 40 years. She is currently host of a weekly
TV program, “Freedom Is A Constant Struggle,” on SF Live (Cable
76), a columnist for the SF BayView newspaper and a member of
the SF8 Committee. Click here
to contact Ms. Nyasha.