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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).