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20 May 2016

Victim of Racist Frame-Up

Gary Tyler Finally Freed

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

On April 29, Gary Tyler, who had been framed up on bogus murder charges, was finally released from the notorious Angola prison hell that had been his home for over 40 years, eight of them in solitary. In the fall of 1974, Tyler was one of dozens of black students confronted by a vicious racist backlash in newly desegregated Destrehan High School. Such scenes played out not merely in the Deep South of Tyler’s Louisiana but across the country, including in the Northern liberal city of Boston. With racist animosity fever hot, on 4 October 1974, school officials canceled classes. Tyler and his black schoolmates were hustled into a school bus, which was then pelted with rocks and bottles by a KKK-organized mob of over a hundred. A shot rang out striking Timothy Weber, a 13-year-old white student, who later died at the hospital. (read more...)

20 May 2016

Free the MOVE Prisoners!

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

Three members of the MOVE 9—Debbie, Janet and Janine Africa—had a parole hearing on May 12, having spent over 38 years in prison. As we go to press, no determination on their parole has been announced. MOVE, a predominantly black, radical, back-to-nature commune upholding the right of armed self-defense, has been targeted for vicious state repression ever since it was established in Philadelphia in the early 1970s. On 8 August 1978, after a months-long siege, an army of nearly 600 cops unleashed a fusillade of gunfire and then stormed MOVE’s Powelton Village home. One police officer, James Ramp, was killed in the cops’ own cross fire. At least eight witnesses testified that no gunshots came from the MOVE house, and no fingerprints of any MOVE member were found on the weapons supposedly recovered from their home. Despite this evidence of their innocence, nine MOVE members were framed up for the cop’s death and convicted on conspiracy and murder charges. They were sentenced to prison terms of between 30 and 100 years. (read more...)

11 March 2016

Defend Anti-Fascist Protesters!

Klan Provocation Stopped


An integrated crowd of dozens of anti-fascists, including anarchists and supporters of Progressive Labor Party (PLP), stopped the Ku Klux Klan’s “White Lives Matter” anti-immigrant provocation in Anaheim, California’s Pearson Park on February 27. From the start, the race terrorists were out for blood. A protester explained in a February 27 interview on YouTube that when protesters approached the Klansmen, the KKK pulled out weapons. One Klansman stabbed at anti-fascists with a pointed flagpole flying an American flag. Protesters defended themselves and drove off the Klan, but not before the KKKers had stabbed three protesters, sending them to the hospital. (read more...)

11 March 2016

Reinstate Fired Chicago Transit Union Steward!

The Partisan Defense Committee joins the many voices calling for the immediate reinstatement of bus driver Erek Slater. Mr. Slater is an elected Executive Board member of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 241 and union steward for the North Park Garage. The CTA fired Mr. Slater for “insubordination” for defending the rights of a union member whom he represents. The CTA had previously targeted Mr. Slater for protected union activity including speaking as a union representative at a company safety meeting and informing co-workers of a rally on behalf of the Chicago Teachers Union. His firing is an outrageous attack on ATU 241 and an attempt to bully the transit workers and their union in the midst of contract negotiations. (read more...)

11 March 2016

Let Rachel Wolkenstein Defend Her Client!

The state of Pennsylvania is attempting to revoke the right of attorney Rachel Wolkenstein to represent her client Corey Walker. This is a clear act of political retribution for her work in defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, America’s foremost political prisoner. As an out-of-state lawyer, Wolkenstein was admitted to practice in Pennsylvania pro hac vice (for this case only) in September 2014 in order to represent Walker, who is fighting to overturn his murder conviction. In a 6 November 2014 motion that raised several legalistic pretexts, the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office explicitly cited Wolkenstein’s political views as a reason to revoke her admission to practice and to prevent her from representing her client. (read more...)

26 February 2016

Albert Woodfox Free at Last

On February 19, his 69th birthday, Albert Woodfox finally walked out of a Louisiana prison a free man after spending nearly 44 years in solitary confinement—the longest such stint of any U.S. prisoner. The Spartacist League and Partisan Defense Committee salute this courageous man, and we join his many supporters in hailing his release from prison. (read more...)

12 February 2016

30th Annual Holiday Appeal

Solidarity with Class-War Prisoners

The Partisan Defense Committee held its 30th annual Holiday Appeal in January and raised thousands of dollars for its program of sending monthly stipends to class-war prisoners. For three decades, the PDC has sent money to those imprisoned for standing up to racist capitalist repression and has also given holiday gifts to them and their families. Support for class-war prisoners is not an act of charity but an act of solidarity from those fighting on the outside to those behind prison walls. The fundraisers took place in New York, Chicago, Oakland, Los Angeles and Toronto and were attended by PDC supporters, former political prisoners, trade unionists and others. (read more...)

12 February 2016

Spartacist League Speaker at Oakland Holiday Appeal

The following remarks, edited for publication, were given by Spartacist League spokesman Reuben Samuels at the January 31 Oakland event.

Black bodies stacked in cages, blood on the streets and poison in Flint’s drinking water: these atrocities reveal capitalist America’s racist impulse to genocide. Chilling videos of racist cop executions generate nationwide protests around the plaintive rallying cry “Black Lives Matter”—in a social order where they clearly don’t. Deindustrialization has turned too many black youth into an unwanted surplus population, to be gunned down or locked up. (read more...)

12 February 2016

A Visit with Mumia

The following are edited remarks by the PDC’s Paul Cooperstein at the New York City Holiday Appeal.

Two weeks ago, PDC staff counsel Valerie West and myself visited Mumia in scenic Frackville, Pennsylvania. Last March Mumia was rushed to a hospital, on the verge of death, in a near-diabetic coma. For months he had had debilitating rashes all over his body; he had lost some 50 pounds. Mumia has active hepatitis C, and the prison has restricted efforts to get treatment. He has sued in federal court to compel them to provide such treatment, and before our visit, there was a three-day hearing in that lawsuit, with Mumia participating by teleconference. (read more...)

12 February 2016

Greetings from Class-War Prisoners

Mumia Abu-Jamal

It’s Christmas Season in America, ca. 2015, and when we look at the national landscape, we can hardly ignore the gore, both literal and figurative, that litters the landscape of the US in this historic epoch. (read more...)

12 February 2016

Remarks by Hugo Pinell’s Daughter

Following are excerpts from a presentation given by Allegra Taylor, daughter of Hugo Pinell, at the Bay Area event on January 31.

Why are we here and why is it important? The difference that the PDC makes in the lives of prisoners is so profound and it touches deep and long. The stipend that appears to be something that is so minor, it really takes them further. And then they have things they can do and share with their family as a result of the support they are getting here. (read more...)

29 January 2016

40 Years Behind Bars

Free Leonard Peltier Now!

Leonard Peltier is one of the most prominent political prisoners in America. Peltier’s imprisonment for his activism in the American Indian Movement (AIM) symbolizes this country’s racist repression of indigenous people, the survivors of centuries of genocide. February 6 marks 40 years since Peltier was arrested on frame-up charges of killing two FBI agents. This began his long ordeal of incarceration. Peltier’s innocence has always demanded his freedom, but a new health crisis makes it more urgent than ever that he be released now to get quality medical attention for a life-threatening abdominal aortic aneurysm. (read more...)

29 January 2016

After 20 Years

Lori Berenson Finally Home

On December 3, 46-year-old Lori Berenson landed at Kennedy International Airport, having served a 20-year sentence in Peru (the last five years on parole). She was one of the thousands of victims of state terror carried out by paramilitary bands, cops and the military under President Alberto Fujimori in the 1990s. She arrived back in the U.S. with her six-year-old son, Salvador, who was born in prison. The Partisan Defense Committee and the Spartacist League, with which it is affiliated, congratulate Berenson on her release. (read more...)

15 January 2016

Prison Health Care Nightmare

Mumia’s Life Still in Danger

Mumia Abu-Jamal, America’s foremost class-war prisoner, is once again fighting for his life against Pennsylvania prison authorities. Mumia is demanding treatment for hepatitis C and a ravaging hepatitis C-associated skin condition that has plagued him for over a year. He is demanding damages for the deliberate indifference to his high blood sugar that caused him to be admitted to intensive care last March on the verge of a diabetic coma, and he is protesting that his family and lawyers were later prevented from visiting him in the hospital. In September, a magistrate judge recommended dismissing his case, stating that Mumia would not be “irreparably harmed” by the withholding of hepatitis C treatment! In fact, Mumia nearly died last year and his life remains in danger. (read more...)

15 January 2016

Drop Charges Against Black Labor Activist Mike Elliott!

The Partisan Defense Committee condemns the arrest of Michael Siviwe Elliott, a retired member of United Auto Workers Local 551 and former Chairman of its Education Committee, well known for his activism in the union and against racism and police brutality. He is also the Labor Committee Chair of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. (read more...)

11 December 2015

30th Annual PDC Holiday Appeal

Free the Class-War Prisoners!

This year’s Holiday Appeal marks the 30th year of the Partisan Defense Committee’s program of sending monthly stipends as an expression of solidarity to those imprisoned for standing up to racist capitalist repression and imperialist depredation. This program revived a tradition initiated by the International Labor Defense under James P. Cannon, its founder and first secretary (1925-1928). This year’s events will pay tribute to two former stipend recipients: Phil Africa of the MOVE 9 who died under suspicious circumstances in January and Hugo Pinell, the last of the San Quentin 6 in prison, who was brutally assassinated in August. We honor the memory of these courageous individuals by keeping up the fight for the freedom of all class-war prisoners. The PDC currently sends stipends to 14 class-war prisoners. (read more...)

27 November 2015

Vindictive Retrial of Former Black Panther

Albert Woodfox Is Innocent—Free Him Now!

On November 9, the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state of Louisiana could try class-war prisoner Albert Woodfox a third time for the 1972 murder of a Louisiana prison guard. The court also gave the state the green light to keep the 68-year-old Woodfox locked up while his judicial railroading drags on. Woodfox was falsely convicted as part of a racist vendetta against him due to his political activities within Angola prison and then spent 43 years in solitary confinement, the longest stint of any prisoner in the U.S. His conviction has been overturned twice because of prosecutorial misconduct and racist grand jury rigging. Today, even according to bourgeois legal standards, Woodfox stands innocent of murder. Yet the state continues to imprison Woodfox—who suffers from heart disease, renal failure and hepatitis C—aiming to ensure that he dies in prison. (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).