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).
“The blanket indictment of the white [so-called] race has done nothing but perplex us, inhibit us. The theory that all whites are the immediate enemy and all blacks our brothers (making them loyal) is silly and indicative of a lazy mind (to be generous, since it could be a fascist plot). It doesn’t explain the black pig; there were six on the Hampton-Clark kill. It doesn’t explain the black paratroopers (just more pigs) who put down the great Detroit riot, and it doesn’t explain the pseudo-bourgeois who can be found almost everywhere in the halls of government working for white supremacy, fascism and capitalism” (Soledad Brother p221-222)
"Black capitalism, black against itself. The silliest contradiction in a long train of spineless, mindless contradictions. Another painless, ultimate remedy: be a better fascist than the fascist. Bill Cosby, acting out the establishment agent -- what message was this soul brother conveying to our children? I Spy [the sixties TV program where he played a CIA agent's subordinate] was certainly programmed to a child's mentality. This running dog in the company of a fascist with a cause, a flunky's flunky, was transmitting the credo of the slave to our youth, the mod version of the old house nigger. We can never learn to trust as long as we have them. They are as much a part of the repression, more even than the real live rat-informer-pig. Aren't they telling our kids that it is romantic to be a running dog? The kids are so hungry to see the black male do some shooting and throw some hands that they can't help themselves from identifying with the quislings. So first they turn us against ourselves, precluding all possibility of trust, then fascism takes any latent divisible forces and develops them into divisions in fact: racism, nationalism, religions."
"The Black bourgeoisie (pseudo-bourgeoisie), the right reverends, the militant opportunists, have left us in a quandary, rendered us impotent. How ridiculous we must seem to the rest of the Black world when we beg the government to investigate their own protective agencies. Aren't the wild hip-shooting pigs loose among us to protect the property rights of the people who formed the government?"
“You must teach that socialism-communalism is as old as man; that its principles formed the basis of mostly all the East African cultures (there was no word to denote possession in the original East African tongues). The only independent African societies today are socialistic. Those which allowed capitalism to remain are still neo-colonies. Any black who would defend an African military dictatorship is as much a fascist as Hoover.
“….there are only two ways by which societies can ever be governed and organized for production of their needs: the various types of totalitarian methods represented by assorted capitalist and fascist arrangements, and the egalitarian method. Egalitarianism is people’s government and people’s government and economics is socialism, dialectical and materialist. How else can societies be governed? There must be hierarchies or the elimination of hierarchies.”(From Blood in My Eye, p 4-5)
"When we participate in 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...Participation in electoral politics organized by the enemy state -- after recognizing that the whole process must be discredited as a conditional step into revolution, and particularly participation that tends to authenticate this process -- is the opposite of revolution. It's a tactic for the ultra-rightists."
"A social revolution after the fact of the modern corporate capitalist state can only mean the breakup of that state and a completely new form of economics and culture."
"All political parties, as things stand, will support the power complex. Any individual elected will either be a supporter of the established politics -- or an 'individual.' What would help us, in fact, is to allow as many right-wing elements as possible to assume 'political' power. ...The fascists already have power. The point is that some way must be found to expose them and combat them. An electoral choice of ten different fascists is like choosing which way one wishes to die. The holder of so-called high public office is always merely an extension of the hated ruling corporate class. It is to our benefit that this person be openly hostile, despotic, unreasoning. We are not living in a nation where left-wing parties hold eighty out of two hundred seats in a congressional body...This is a huge nation dominated by the most reactionary and violent ruling class in the history of the world, where the majority of the people just simply cannot understand that they are existing on the misery and discomfort of the world." /(Blood In My Eye p 71-72)/
“The capitalist Eden fits my description of hell. To destroy it will require cooperation and communication between our related parts; communion between colony and colony, nation and nation. The common bond will be the desire to humble the oppressor, the need to destroy capitalist man and his terrible, ugly machine. If there were any differences between us in the black colony 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.
“We must accept the spirit of the true internationalism called for by Comrade Che Guevara….We need allies, we have a powerful enemy who cannot be defeated without an allied effort! The enemy at present is the capitalist system and its supporters. Our prime interest is to destroy them. Anyone else with this same interest must be embraced, we must work with, beside, through, over, under anyone, regardless of his or her external physical features, whose aim is the same as ours in this. Capitalism must be destroyed, and after it is destroyed, if we find we still have problems, we’ll work them out. That is the nature of life, struggle, permanent revolution; that is the situation we were born into. There are other peoples on this earth. In denying their existence and turning inward in our misery and accepting any form of racism we are taking on the characteristic of our enemy. We are resigning ourselves to defeat. For in forming a conspiracy aimed at the destruction of the system that holds us all in the throes of a desperate insecurity we must have coordinating elements connecting us and our moves to the moves of the other colonies, the African colonies, those in Asia and Latin Amerika, in Appalachia and the south-western bean fields.
“We must establish a true internationalism with other anticolonial peoples. Then we will be on the road of the true revolutionary. Only then can we expect to seize the power that is rightfully ours, the power to control the circumstances of our day-to-day lives.
“The fascist must expand to live. Consequently, he had pushed his frontiers to the farthest lands and peoples. This is an aspect of his being, an ungovernable compulsion. This perverted mechanical monster suffers from a disease that forces him to build ugly things and destroy beauty wherever he finds it.
"Freedom means warmth and protection against harsh exposure to the elements. It means food, not garbage. It means truth, harmony, and the social relations that spring from these. It means the best medical attention whenever it's needed. It means employment that is reasonable, that coincides with the individual necessities and feelings. We will have this freedom even at the cost of total war."
“We must fall on our enemies, the enemies of all righteousness, with a ruthless relentless will to win! History sweeps on, we must not let it escape our influence this time!!!!”
“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.”
George Lester Jackson was a powerful revolutionary and political analyst. In a May, 1971 interview on KPFA just months before he was assassinated, August 21, Jackson noted:
“We aren’t getting justice in the courts, or we can’t get justice in the courts. You are aware that the district attorney and the judge were related by law [in McClain’s trial]….And the collusion, all of us see it, the collusion – the prosecutors and the judges and juries, all working together, you know, the grand juries especially. And the control, the control the judge and prosecutor can exercise over picking of jury panels, impaneling a jury, the control they can exercise together completely eliminates all possibility of an impartial trial. And the vanguard is very much aware of that. Well, the people in general, black people in general are becoming aware of that. …
McClain wanted to use his trail as a demonstration of this thing that people are slowly becoming aware of—that the court process, the legal process is just a farce, a device to keep is thinking in conventional terms, that perhaps we can get some relief in conventional ways, established ways. He wanted to use it as an example … [My emphasis].
I’m pretty sure he wanted to use the second trial as a demonstration that the entire establishment was working against us, and we should stop, we should stop accepting conventional, stop accepting the legal process as a possibility for solving problems….In the process of liberating themselves, I’m certain that, I’m positive that they [William Christmas, James McClain, Ruchell Magee] were making a conscious effort to destroy the prestige of this last sanctuary the establishment’s using to stall off revolutionary culture.”
They assassinated George Jackson, but they couldn’t kill his spirit, his ideology, his lasting legacy of courageous, international organizing. He is so feared by prison officials that just having his name on a piece of paper can get a mainliner thrown into the hole indefinitely. And they say we have no power
I have a new definition of “white.” Instead of the one espoused by Dorothy Roberts and subsequently, myself, namely, “power and privilege;” I suggest it’s really “privilege and immunity.” The former implies we have no power, and that’s really not true. I know I have power and I’m sure you do too. Our collective power is what is desperately needed if we are going to reach the ultimate goal of people’s power, people’s government.
All power to the people! Abolish the prison system!