Monday, January 27, 2014

FROM PARIS TO PELICAN BAY by Kiilu Nyasha, February 2001

In behalf of two of our most treasured prisoners of war -- Mumia Abu-Jamal
and Leonard Peltier -- we visited seven European cities in ten days and
spent our last four days in Paris where a major demonstration happened on
December 2, 2000. A letter from one of the longest held political prisoners
in the country (37 years!), Hugo L.A. Pinell (Yogi) awaited my return from
Paris. I thought to myself, if I could travel all over France for Mumia and
Leonard, I could make it to Pelican Bay to see Yogi again.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Update on Campaign for Hugo Pinell, January 23, 2014


Parole Hearing for Hugo Pinell Rescheduled to May 2, 2014.
By Kiilu Nyasha w/Donna Wallach

In November 2008, California voters passed Proposition 9, under which people serving indeterminate life sentences in California State prisons could be denied parole for 3 to 15 years, instead of the established 1 to 5 years. 

Prop 9 proponents argued that people convicted of serious crimes were being released from prison too frequently. This simply is not the case. In 2008, about 30,000 people were serving life sentences, and about 4,000 applied each year to appear before a two-member panel for a parole recommendation. Less than one percent received release dates in a given year. In 2006, e.g., only 23 lifers were granted parole, less than 0.5 percent of those eligible for release. 

The California Parole Board held a hearing for Hugo Pinell on January 14, 2009, at which time they denied him parole and scheduled him to return to the board in 15 years! However, since Prop 9 wasn’t in effect in 2009 when his hearing was scheduled and postponed, the decision had to be rescinded. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Portrait of Mao and Selected quotes from Mao’s Red Book, The Quotations of Chairman Mao TseTung, ed. by Kiilu Nyasha

Note:   Mao suffered from Parkinson’s disease prior to his death in 1976 at 82.  Since then, the Communist Party has taken the capitalist road and is no longer communist or socialist in practice.  So I rarely use the word “communist” anymore, but replace it with “revolutionary,” because its meaning has been so distorted over the decades. In any case, Mao was the greatest revolutionary leader of the 20th Century, having liberated women and nearly a billion peasants in China, declaring victory after the incredible Long March in 1949.  Mao also gave active support to the independence struggles in Africa.  He gave Africans the first and only interest-free loan, and provided Chinese workers to work along side African workers at the same pay building the Tan-Zam railway linking the landlocked Zambia to the Port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Revolutionary culture is a powerful revolutionary weapon for the broad masses of the people. It prepares the ground ideologically before the revolution comes and is an important, indeed essential, fighting front in the general revolutionary front during the revolution.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! George Lester Jackson, September 23, 1941-August 21, 1971 Ed. by Kiilu Nyasha

I have a planI will give, and give, and give of myself until it proves our making or my end.”

As we honor the birthday of our beloved, Comrade George Jackson, Field Marshall of the Black Panther Party behind prison walls, may we remember his revolutionary ideas and practice, his mentors and his sacrifice.
Author of two books, Soledad Brother: the Prison Letters of George Jackson, a 1970 bestseller reprinted three times and translated into several languages, and Blood In My Eye, published posthumously and recently reprinted.  In a New York Times editorial titled, Death of a Brother, Tom Wicker described George as a “talented writer, a sensitive man, a potential leader, and a political thinker of great persuasiveness.”

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Archived Commentary on Haiti

In perusing my files re Haiti, I found this commentary and decided to put it online since it has good information on recent Haitian history.  Here is the link to the show, Freedom Is A Constant Struggle, 9/19/13 on Haiti with an update from guests recently returned from the neighboring Caribbean island- Ayana Labossiere, Aimee Riechel and Ruth Beyene of Haiti Solidarity Club at Mission High School. Freedom Is A Constant Struggle. 

Commentary on Haiti for KPFA, Berkeley, 3/14/1992, by Kiilu Nyasha.

Thousands of Haitian boat people picked up by Coast Guard cutters have been detained at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  After fleeing Haiti’s newest military dictatorship, the Caribbean refugees are being imprisoned in tents on a hot airfield fenced in by barbed wire and fed army rations.  Only a small percentage has been granted political asylum.  They’ve been held virtually incommunicado with no access to lawyers, telephones or postal services.  To date, nearly 9,000 men, women and children have been sent back to Haiti where they face arrest, torture and even death. 


U.S. Involvement in Haiti has a long history.  In 1915, it was invaded by U.S. Marines and occupied for 19 years during which the U.S. trained a joint military-police guard that evolved into today’s Haitian army.  For nearly 30 years, the U.S.–backed military dictatorship of Francois Duvalier, known as Papa Doc, succeeded by his son Jean-Claude, or Baby Doc, looted the national treasury, trafficked in cocaine, and terrorized Haitians with their Tonton Macoute (Creole for bogeymen).  Yet the dauntless Haitians ran Baby Doc and his entourage out of the country in 1986, when the U.S. had to airlift them to France for safety. 


Friday, August 23, 2013


August 21, 2013, marks the 42nd anniversary of the assassination of our beloved Comrade George Lester Jackson.  Here are quotes from his two books: the bestseller, Soledad Brother: the Prison Letters of George Jackson (1970) and Blood In My Eye, (1972), published after his death .  It’s remarkable that these statements are as pertinent today as they were 42 years ago, perhaps more so.

"International capitalism cannot be destroyed without the extremes of struggle. The entire colonial world is watching the blacks inside the U.S wondering and waiting for us to come to our senses. Their problems and struggles with the Amerikan monster are much more difficult than they would be if we actively aided them. We are on the inside. We are the only ones (besides the very small white minority left) who can get at the monster's heart without subjecting the world to nuclear fire. We have a momentous historical role to act out if we will. The whole world for all time in the future will love us and remember us as the righteous people who made it possible for the world to live on. If we fail through fear and lack of aggressive imagination, then the slave of the future will curse us, as we sometimes curse those of yesterday. I don't want to die and leave a few sad songs and a hump in the ground as my only monument. I want to leave a world that is liberated from trash, pollution, racism, nation-states, nation-state wars and armies, from pomp, bigotry, parochialism, a thousand different brands of untruth, and licentious, usurious economics." (Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson).

Monday, July 15, 2013

THE ACQUITTAL OF A MURDERER by Kiilu Nyasha (July 14, 2013)

A correction to my piece: I misread a statement about Trayvon's age; It was 21 days before his 17th birthday, not 21 days after his 16th birthday.  Nevertheless, he was 16 at the time of his death.  

The long-awaited verdict in the Zimmerman trial was incredible -- "not guilty."

Listening carefully to the trial judge's detailed instructions to the 6-juror panel (amazing in itself), including complete definitions of 2nd degree murder and manslaughter, I was convinced that were they to follow her instructions, the verdict was bound to be guilty as charged or at least the lesser charge of manslaughter. After over 12 hours of deliberations, my worst-case scenario was a hung jury.   

Yet how could I forget that this trial took place in a judicial system I’ve longnown (through experience!) represents white-supremacist injustice; and one the most racist states in the country – Florida, the nations’ second highest incarcerator and state executioner of Black men.

Off the top, how many other cases come to mind of a young Black man senselessly murdered by so-called law enforcers? Oscar Grant, Allen Blueford, Kenneth Harding, Amadou Diallo.  In fact, a Black person is murdered by law enforcement every 28 hours,  Are their lives valued?
An endangered, stereotyped group, Black and Brown male human beings top the prison populations and those slated for state murder.  Black women and mothers are swiftly gaining a similar fate as more and more Black babies are literally born in prison.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – April 4, 1968

It was 45 years ago when our beloved freedom fighter, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in what we believe was a conspiracy by the government, particularly the FBI.

I remember exactly where I was when the news came over the radio that Dr. King had been shot. 
I was in New Haven, Conn. driving my 8-year-old son and his friends from Rock Creek Road to a drive-in movie.  I turned the car around and went straight back home. We learned on arrival the shot was fatal and the King of Love was dead. I was devastated.

Although at that time I didn’t have the self-control and discipline needed to join the non-violent actions that friends had, I greatly admired their courage, especially Dr. King’s bravery in being on the front lines of struggle facing imminent death so many times.

As the Chinese say, “To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai…”

In the wake of King’s death, cities across the country exploded once Blacks learned their “prince of peace” was assassinated. 

According to The Chicago Tribune, “Mayor Richard J. Daley later told reporters that he had ordered police ‘to shoot to kill any arsonist or anyone with a Molotov cocktail in his hand . . . and . . . to shoot to maim or cripple anyone looting any stores in our city.’

“In the first two days of rioting, police reported numerous civilian deaths….[but] No official death toll was given for the tragedy, although published accounts say nine to 11 people died during the rioting. Three hundred fifty people were arrested for looting, and 162 buildings were destroyed by arson. Bulldozers moved in to clean up after the rioters, leaving behind vacant lots that remained empty three decades later.”

Why was Dr. King assassinated?

We must recall that Dr. King and his organization, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), were in the process of organizing a poor peoples march on Washington – all people, not just Blacks -- and King was in Memphis, Tennessee, to support the striking sanitation workers when he was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

In a piece titled, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), King talked about guaranteed income in a chapter titled "Where Are We Going?” 

“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective -- the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income. The problem indicates that our emphasis must be two-fold. We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available…..

“The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress our abundance into the overfed mouths of the middle and upper classes until they gag with superfluity. If democracy is to have breadth of meaning, it is necessary to adjust this inequity. It is not only moral, but it is also intelligent. We are wasting and degrading human life by clinging to archaic thinking….

“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization…. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”  (my emphasis)

Clearly, Dr. King had become a very serious threat to the divide-and-rule policies of the U.S. Government by expanding his organizing to include all peoples, as well as taking an unprecedented stand on the war in Vietnam just one year earlier.

In Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, he wrote,

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly….

Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.”

Long live the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968

The following quotes from our beloved freedom fighter, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., are as pertinent today as they were when he spoke them, at least 45 years ago.  It now amazes me that he was only 39 years old when he was assassinated in the Spring of 1968. He had wisdom beyond his years.

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. [S]he who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

"I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


December 17, 2012

When I first heard the news of so many children, 20, none over 7, being killed, I was so stunned I could feel no emotion, just a kind of numbness. I’m a parent.  

Not another mass murder.

Later, on hearing of the heroism displayed by six slain teachers, I was buoyed.  Then came the anger, the rage I’ve learned to control, hone, and use as a weapon, the pen being mightier than the sword.

Barack Obama, leader of the most violent nation in world history, dabbed at dry eyes as he practically preached a sermon on the latest domestic killing spree.  Hypocritical is an understatement.