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Mutulu Shakur

Mourning Mutulu Shakur And The Black Radical Tradition

Inspired by the Cuban Revolution and the Black Panthers, a clique of poor and working class Puerto Ricans founded the liberation organization, the Young Lords, in Chicago in 1968 and opened its New York chapter a year later. The activists got down to business immediately, creating a free, daily breakfast program for children and testing them for lead poisoning, organizing clothing banks and street patrols to monitor police abuse, and launching inmates’ rights and school reform efforts. In October of 1969, the militants protested abysmal living conditions in East Harlem and the South Bronx by forming a human chain to block traffic at 125th Street and 2nd Avenue, and lining up rows of garbage cans at the entrance to the Triborough Bridge.

Bittersweet Freedom For Mutulu Shakur

After 36 years of incarceration, political prisoner Mutulu Shakur was granted parole after having been denied on nine occasions. Invariably media accounts mention that he is the step-father of the late rapper and actor Tupac Shakur while saying little about his own history.  Any of the elder Shakur’s accomplishments are given short shrift in favor of an emphasis on pop culture celebrity. In 1986 Shakur was arrested for his role in the 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored car which resulted in the deaths of three people. He managed to avoid capture for five years but was tried and in 1988 convicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statute and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Shakur is being released so that he can die outside of prison walls.

The United States Has Many Political Prisoners – Here’s A List

The United States constantly accuses its adversaries of holding political prisoners, while insisting it has none of its own. But for its entire history, the US government has used incarceration of its political opponents as a tool to crush dissent and advance the interests of economic elites. Well-known cases are those entrapped or framed in US national security state sting operations, or imprisoned with extreme sentences for a minor offense because of their political activism, such as Black revolutionary George Jackson. Each period of struggle by the working class and oppressed peoples against ruling-class control results in some activists locked up for their revolutionary work. “Political prisoner” has often meant those revolutionaries jailed for fighting their national oppression, as is the case with a great number of Black Panthers.
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