December 4, 2006

SomeThoughts on Repression

On December 4, 1969, Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were gunned down in their sleep in a massive military-style raid executed by Chicago cops. I only heard about it a couple of days later, as I had just arrived in Cuba with the first Venceremos Brigade. Some of us talked regretfully about being stuck in the Caribbean for the next two months when stuff was starting to break loose back in the belly of the beast. Hey, we were young.

Every December 4, thousands of us of a certain age think of Brother Fred and of how the pigs murdered him because he was a dynamic leader of the oppressed.

I’ve been thinking about him today with Oaxaca in mind. Last night I heard filmmaker Tami Gold and some very recently returned global justice activists report. The situation is dire. 17 activists and bystanders have been killed and more than 150 arrested or disappeared in the last 10 days. Teachers union leaders, back at work, are being grabbed in the classroom and carted off. Bloody reaction is gaining the upper hand.

While it is true that the Mexican government would rather not suffer international attention or even anger, there are alternatives that the Mexican ruling class finds far less acceptable. I’ve spent the last few months being irked as hell at some here in the US who celebrated the popular uprising led by APPO as an invincible revolutionary upsurge. Wake up—they are in one city and armed, as the showdown with the Federal Preventive Police and PAN vigilantes unfolded, with slings, molotovs and some cheap handguns! I fear many more may die as Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and the Federales crack down and take revenge, and the movement begins the difficult task of adjusting and consolidating under conditions of “normalcy” and fearsome repression.

And if they think their interests demand it, the rich and powerful here will gun down as many as they need to—and jail more. The BPP lost many more cadre to the criminal “justice” system than police bullets. Some are still in jail. Today, with far less attention from liberals or the left, dozens of young activists in the ecology movement and the animal rights movement are facing—and serving!--fearsome sentences. Check out the Day in Support of the Green Scare Indictees slated for December 7. There’s probably an event happening near you.


Jimmy Higgins said...

Tami Gold got in touch to ask me to deliver two quick messages:

First, the extremely powerful video LAND, RAIN & FIRE: REPORT FROM OAXACA that she and her colleague Gerardo Renique just completed can be ordered on dvd from Third World Newsreel at or 212 947-9277.

Second, for those readers who are in the New York area should bend every effort to attend THE FIRST NYC MEETING IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLES OF OAXACA, MEXICO

Thursday, Dec. 14th, 7:30PM
Hunter College
Rm 436 North Building – 4th floor
(enter 69th street between Lexington & Park Avenues)

Unknown said...

y friend Dennis asked me to come and re-post an email I circulated on Chairman Fred, so here it is. I appreciated your comments connecting Fred's murder with Oaxaca by the way.


> I stayed up late last night attempting to write an essay. I wanted to write a tribute to Fred Hampton on the eve of the 37th anniversary of his brutal murder by the soldiers of the Cook County DA’s office in Chicago. I wanted to connect the state’s taking his life with the recent murders of Kathryn Johnston, Sean Bell, Peyton Strickland, and too many others in the last few weeks, by the various police departments of cities across the country. I wanted to mark Chairman Fred and Mark Clark’s death so that we would remember their lives and connect our struggles with the struggles that they gave their lives for.
> It just broke my heart. I couldn’t make it happen.
> So instead, I spent two of my class periods today talking with my students about Fred Hampton’s life and showing them a documentary that was intended to be about his life, but ended up being about his death. I have included the link to the film below, and encourage y’all to take a moment to check out just a few moments of this beautiful revolutionary that was taken from us a few months into his 22nd year on this planet. Watching him for 2 minutes makes me know that the we're going to win, that this will all end one day.
> As Fred said himself, “You can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail a revolution. You might run a liberator…out of the country, but you can’t run liberation out the country. You might murder a freedom fighter…, but you can’t murder freedom fightin.”
> They might have murdered Fred and Mark Clark 37 years ago, but they cannot murder our struggle.
> Peace y’all
> Bryan