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10 July 2015

Albert Woodfox Must Be Freed!

On June 8, U.S. District Court judge James Brady ordered the immediate release of class-war prisoner Albert Woodfox, the longest-serving U.S. prisoner in solitary confinement—and barred the State of Louisiana from subjecting Woodfox to a retrial. But four days later, a federal appeals panel ruled that he be kept in jail pending a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on whether Woodfox will face what would be his third trial for a crime he did not commit. Framed up for the 1972 fatal stabbing of a prison guard, Woodfox has been the victim of a racist vendetta based on his radical Black Panther Party activities within Louisiana’s infamous Angola prison. Woodfox’s conviction was overturned yet again in May 2012 and that ruling was upheld in November 2014, but he was indicted again in February at the urging of Louisiana attorney general James D. “Buddy” Caldwell. Woodfox’s continued incarceration is an outrage! Free Albert Woodfox now! (read more...)

15 May 2015

13 May 1985 MOVE Massacre

May 13 marks 30 years since the Philadelphia police firebombed the MOVE organization's Osage Avenue home. Eleven black people, including five children, were burned alive and an entire city block was incinerated. We reprint below excerpts from our article "Philly Inferno: Racist Murder!" (WV No. 380, 31 May 1985), published soon after this atrocity. (read more...)

15 May 2015

Mumia Still Gravely Ill

The life of class-war prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is in imminent danger. On March 30, verging on a diabetic coma, Mumia was rushed to an intensive care unit. His health has continued to deteriorate and prison officials have cruelly withheld needed medical treatment and adequate nutrition. Weeks ago, a CT scan showed abnormal lymph nodes which could indicate lymphoma.(read more...)

25 April 2015

Mumia's Medical Condition: A Matter of Life and Death

The following letter was written by the Partisan Defense Committee.

It has come to our attention that Mumia Abu-Jamal's health is deteriorating under your negligent care. It is reported that he suffers abnormal swelling, has open sores on his skin, can barely walk and has to be spoon-fed. We have also learned that prison authorities have denied Mr. Abu-Jamal the right to be examined by his own doctor, denied that he be examined by a diabetes specialist, and even denied him special phone communication with medical assistants. This is outrageous. (read more...)

13 April 2015

Medical Crisis
Mumia’s Life in Danger—Free Him Now!

On March 30, class-war prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal was rushed from the SCI-Mahanoy, Pennsylvania state prison to the Schuylkill Medical Center Intensive Care Unit, verging on a diabetic coma. With consummate cruelty, prison authorities initially not only prevented his wife, Wadiya, and other family members from seeing Mumia but also refused to divulge information about his condition. Pam Africa, Mumia’s designated emergency contact, was denied visitation as well. When prison officials relented after numerous protests, Wadiya, Mumia’s son Jamal Hart and his older brother Keith were granted just 30 minutes with Mumia. They found him with an insulin drip in one arm and handcuffs on the other, barely able to sit up, shaking and in pain, his breathing labored. Wadiya described being “shocked at his condition.” On April 1, a frail Mumia was sent back to the same Mahanoy prison where the contempt and medical neglect of his jailers had brought him to the threshold of death. (read more...)

11 April 2015

Reinstate Orange Township Teacher!

The following letter was written by the Partisan Defense Committee.

The Partisan Defense Committee joins those calling for the reinstatement of Marilyn Zuniga. In an act of humanitarian concern and political courage, she encouraged her third grade class to send well wishes to Mumia Abu-Jamal, an innocent man now seriously ill in the Pennsylvania prison system. We applaud this commendable act. Ms. Zuniga must not be punished. (read more...)

3 April 2015

Palestinian Activist Rasmea Odeh: Overturn Conviction! No Deportation!

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

Capping a political witchhunt, on March 12 in Detroit, U.S. district court judge Gershwin Drain stripped Rasmea Odeh of her American citizenship and sentenced her to 18 months in prison to be immediately followed by deportation. A Chicago-based Palestinian activist and the associate director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), Odeh was convicted last November of the bogus charge of “unlawful procurement of citizenship.” Her supposed crime was failing to disclose on her 2004 naturalization application a 1970 frame-up conviction by an Israeli military tribunal for alleged involvement in planting bombs at a supermarket and the British consulate in Jerusalem. The evidence for that conviction was a false confession secured through torture—a common practice of the Zionist military in the Occupied Territories. (read more...)

3 April 2015

State Vendetta Continues

Free Albert Woodfox Now!

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

On February 12, class-war prisoner Albert Woodfox was indicted once again for the fatal stabbing of Louisiana prison guard Brent Miller in 1972. Woodfox has seen this frame-up conviction overturned three times before, only to find himself entombed in solitary confinement in the notorious Angola prison. (read more...)

20 March 2015

Australia

Down With War on Refugees!

Full Citizenship Rights Now!

Under Australia’s notorious mandatory detention policy, first implemented by the Keating Labor government and imposed by successive Liberal and Labor governments with increasing brutality, desperate refugees continue to be imprisoned indefinitely in detention camps under atrocious conditions. Many of those now incarcerated have fled imperialist devastation in their homelands of Afghanistan and Iraq or imperialist-backed terror in Sri Lanka. Under legislation introduced in 2013 by the then Rudd Labor government, refugees arriving by boat are now denied asylum in Australia. Thousands have been transferred to remote Pacific islands where they languish while their claims are “processed.” On top of these measures the current Liberal/National Coalition government has closely cooperated with the murderous Sri Lankan regime to intercept and return refugees fleeing from there to Australia. Under a shroud of secrecy enforced by the government, Australian naval and customs authorities have also intercepted refugees at sea and forced them back to transit points in Indonesia. (read more...)

20 March 2015

Stevan Kirschbaum Acquitted

Reinstate Boston School Bus Union Leaders Now!

On March 5, a jury took just ten minutes to acquit Boston school bus union leader Stevan Kirschbaum, who had been slapped with frame-up charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and trespassing as part of an anti-union vendetta. The verdict was a victory for the besieged drivers represented by United Steelworkers (USW) Local 8751, many of whom are Haitian, Cape Verdean or Latino, as well as for labor more broadly. Veolia Transportation (now called Transdev) has been waging a vicious union-busting campaign against this workforce since July 2013, when the Boston school district handed over operations of the school bus fleet to the company. (read more...)

20 March 2015

Sacramento, California

Cops Charge Black Activist with “Lynching”

Defend Maile Hampton!

On January 18, Maile Hampton, a young black woman and member of the ANSWER Coalition, was leading chants at a Sacramento, California, protest against a pro-cop rally. An online video shows the cops violently attacking several protesters, slamming a woman against a cop car and repeatedly throwing a man to the ground. While both were being handcuffed, the crowd chanted to let them go. Five weeks later, Hampton was arrested at her home. She now faces up to four years in jail on charges of felony “lynching”! As the Partisan Defense Committee wrote in a March 14 letter protesting these outrageous charges: “A law supposedly intended to criminalize the extra-legal murder of black people, Mexicans and others by the racist terrorists of the KKK and their ilk, is now wielded by the police against those who actively protest the modern-day legal lynchings carried out by the racist cops.” (read more...)

06 February 2015

Free Sundiata Acoli!

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

The grotesque vindictiveness of the racist rulers against the courageous black radicals who joined the Black Panther Party decades ago knows no bounds. Like so many other militants, Sundiata Acoli was railroaded to prison, together with Assata Shakur (see “Hands Off Assata Shakur!” WV No. 1059, January 9). The two were framed up for killing a cop following a 1973 ambush by New Jersey state troopers, during which one of the cops died from his own revolver’s bullet. While Shakur escaped prison hell in 1979 and fled to Cuba, where she still resides, Acoli has been in prison for over 40 years. (read more...)

06 February 2015

In Memory of Samiya (Goldii) Davis Abdullah

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

It is with sadness that we inform our readers of the untimely death on December 17 of 36-year-old Samiya Abdullah after a protracted struggle with cancer. She was the daughter of Mumia Abu-Jamal, America’s foremost political prisoner, who has been incarcerated since he was framed up for the shooting death of a Philadelphia cop in 1981, when Samiya was just two years old. Samiya was a fighter for her father’s freedom. In a moving tribute, Mumia observed:

“For most of the activist world she was Goldii, a rapper and activist whose sweet voice could strike like bricks when she cracked into rap or sang a song. To us she was Sami, short for Samiya, a brilliant, sparkling young woman who never ceased to surprise us. She was many things: daughter, mother, student, activist, artist, orator, rapper, graduate and more. To us she was the baby, the youngest, and as such she had a special shine.” (read more...)

06 February 2015

Free All Class-War Prisoners!

29th Annual Holiday Appeal

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

The Partisan Defense Committee’s 29th annual Holiday Appeal events raised many thousands of dollars to sustain the monthly stipend program for 15 class-war prisoners and provide holiday gifts to them and their families. Held over the last two months, fundraisers in Oakland, Chicago and New York, and smaller gatherings in Los Angeles and Toronto, drew longtime PDC supporters, youth activists and trade unionists. Notably, scores of workers in the Bay Area snapped up tickets to the Oakland fundraiser, while in Chicago the United Auto Workers civil rights committee presented a check to the PDC at that union body’s Martin Luther King Jr. tribute dinner. (read more...)

06 February 2015

Oakland

Drop All Charges Against Black Friday 14!

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

We print below a letter from the Partisan Defense Committee protesting the charges against 14 black activists who were arrested for temporarily stopping Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains at the West Oakland station. The action was part of nationwide protests on Black Friday against the non-indictment of the Ferguson cop who gunned down Michael Brown in broad daylight.

Hundreds, including representatives of the unions that organize BART workers, came out to a BART Board of Directors meeting on January 22 to demand that the charges be dropped. A supporter of the PDC read from a letter he had sent to the San Francisco Chronicle. Exposing BART management’s cynical claim that by going after the protesters they were protecting riders from “potentially dangerous actions,” the letter pointed to the coldblooded execution of a 22-year-old black man, Oscar Grant, by a BART cop on New Year’s Day 2009. It also raised the death of two of management’s own scabs, killed by a scab-operated train during the bosses’ offensive against the 2013 BART strike. (read more...)

06 February 2015

Greetings from the Class-War Prisoners

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

Many of the class-war prisoner stipend recipients wrote greetings to the PDC Holiday Appeal fundraisers, where they were displayed. We print below excerpts from some of those greetings, noting with sadness that MOVE member Phil Africa died on January 10. (read more...)

23 January 2015

Phil Africa

1956-2015

On January 10, MOVE member Phil Africa died at the State Correctional Institution in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Phil had been incarcerated since he was framed up, along with the rest of the MOVE 9, for the killing of a Philadelphia police officer during the 1978 cop siege of MOVE’s Powelton Village home. Circumstances surrounding Phil’s death remain murky. Only a week earlier, he was seen to be his usual vibrant and active self. (read more...)

09 January 2015

Drop All Charges Against Anti-Police Brutality Protesters!

NYC

Tens of thousands rallied on December 13 for the “Millions March NYC” against cop killings of black people. In the following days, the NYPD thugs in blue and their supporters in the bourgeois media launched a witchhunt, broadcasting pictures of seven people who allegedly assaulted two cops on the Brooklyn Bridge. A $25,000 bounty made these individuals targets for any vigilante. Now six of them are facing bogus felony and misdemeanor charges such as resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, riot and assault on a cop. CUNY English professor Eric Linsker is accused of throwing trash cans at the cops, and five other protesters—32BJ SEIU union organizer Robert Murray, Zachary Campbell, Maria Garcia, Cindy Gorn and Jarrod Shanahan—are said to have engaged in a confrontation after police grabbed Linsker. (read more...)

09 January 2015

U.S. Black Militant in Exile in Cuba

Hands Off Assata Shakur!

Barack Obama’s decision to open diplomatic relations with Havana has New Jersey governor Chris Christie howling for the head of Assata Shakur (formerly known as Joanne Chesimard). The victim of a racist frame-up for the 1973 death of a New Jersey state trooper, Shakur escaped prison and fled to Cuba, where she has lived for 30 years since Fidel Castro granted her political asylum. The former Black Panther Party member wrote in a 1998 open letter: “I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color.” (read more...)

12 December 2014

Drop All Charges Against Protesters!

A new wave of protests has swept across New York City and the country following a Staten Island grand jury’s December 3 decision to not indict the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death. The day after the cop walked, the Spartacist League joined a multiracial crowd of some 10,000 people gathered in Manhattan’s Foley Square for a rally against racist cop killings (see photo). Among the signs we held was one reading: “Cops Are the Armed Thugs of the Capitalists—Enemies of Workers, Blacks, Immigrants! Cops Out of the Unions!” (read more...)

28 November 2014

A Visit to Hugo Pinell

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

7 September 2014

Comrades,

On Saturday 6 Sept. I visited with Hugo and had a good 2 hour discussion. He remains in fine health except for continuing shoulder problem that the prison has acknowledged but not tended to. His color has improved as he now gets approx. 10 hours per week in the yard (within a closed cage where he can do chin ups, separate from cages where other isolation prisoners can have their moments in the sun). He continues to receive weekly visits from his Mom, Sister and his Daughter. (read more...)

28 November 2014

Court Overturns Woodfox Conviction

Still in Solitary

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

On November 20, the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a 2012 lower court decision to overturn Albert Woodfox’s conviction for the 1972 fatal stabbing of a Louisiana prison guard. This ruling is the fourth time a court has tossed out his murder conviction; yet Woodfox outrageously still languishes in solitary confinement. Even the American bourgeoisie’s main mouthpiece, the New York Times, now calls Woodfox’s treatment “barbaric beyond measure.” (read more...)


The PDC is a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization which champions cases and causes in the interest of the whole of the working people. This purpose is in accordance with the political views of the Spartacist League. Our heritage is the working-class defense policies of the International Labor Defense (ILD), under its founder and first secretary from 1925-1928, James P. Cannon. The PDC was initiated by the Spartacist League in 1974, and stands on the record of principled defense work conducted by the Spartacist League.

The PDC is partisan: we stand unconditionally on the side of working people and their allies in struggle against their exploiters and oppressors. We place all our faith in the power of the masses and no faith whatever in the “justice” of the courts. While favoring all possible legal proceedings for the cases we support, we recognize that the courts, prisons and police exist to maintain through organized violence and terror the rule of one class over others. In its partisanship, the PDC is also anti-sectarian. We champion causes and defend cases whose victorious outcomes are in the interest of working people, irrespective of particular political views. We defend, in the words of James P. Cannon, “any member of the workers movement, regardless of his views, who suffered persecution by the capitalist courts because of his activities or his opinion” (The First Ten Years of American Communism).