I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Peltier: A Fuse Called Geronimo

Political prisoner Leonard Peltier, celebrates below the life and journey of Geronimo Pratt (Geronimo Ji Jaga), who passed away as a free man in Tanzania on June 3, 2011.

Even throughout his incarceration, Geronimo was so much more free than most of the rest of us.
A bright, decorated Vietnam War veteran with a critical perspective on the exploitation and oppression of African Americans, he joined the Black Panther Party, becoming a Deputy Minister of Defense.

Consequently, Pratt was targeted in the 1970's by the FBI's notorious COINTELPRO campaign under J. Edgar Hoover, which sought to destroy the budding liberation movements of the mid 20th century by discrediting, attacking, harassing, framing, killing, and imprisoning leaders and members.

COINTELPRO document targets Pratt

Once set up by the FBI for neutralization, Pratt was falsely accused and convicted in 1972 of a young schoolteacher's murder, spending 27 years in prison - 8 in solitary confinement. His conviction was finally overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct (concealing exculpatory evidence); he was ulti
mately awarded a $4.5 million settlement for false imprisonment.

Geronimo Pratt was an amazing, soulful man - evidence that prison doesn't have to destroy a man - or woman. Most remarkable, perhaps, was his lack of bitterness and vindictiveness after all those years. If the rest of us possessed even a measure of such Grace, it would go a long way towards helping us build a system of transformative, rather than retributive justice, in which whole communities can move towards healing and peace...

Geronimo Pratt

But those are just my observations from afar: here's what Leonard has to say, as published at Counterpunch...

June 28, 2011

A Warrior for Liberation

A Fuse Called Geronimo


Everyone it seems knows something about Geronimo Pratt. To all of us, to every human being on the planet, he was a beacon of principle that we should all aspire to emulate. To those directly involved in the struggle, he was one of those gifted, tough as nails warriors who not only had the vision to know what was right, but the strength and courage to stick to his convictions no matter the cost. When he had to be, he was a terror to his enemies.

To me, he was a friend and an ally. I met him in jail, of course, so many years ago. He always had so much of my respect.

He gave his all to the fight for liberation, justice, and equality. His effectiveness as a man and a leader can be measured by the extent to which the enemies of justice and equality went to in order to try and silence him. It wasn't enough to frame him for murder. It wasn't enough to flush twenty six years of his life down a hell hole. No, they had to take those closest to him as well. But even the simultaneous losses of his freedom and the lives of his wife and unborn child could not break him. All the lies and injustice they could muster could not subdue such greatness. The combined resources of the FBI, Los Angeles police, and the L.A. District Attorney's office couldn't defeat him. What those in power did not understand was that Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt was no ordinary man. He was a giant among men and remained focused during the most trying times. What they did not comprehend was that you can jail the warrior but not his ideas, not his strength, nor his affect on others.

No one would have blamed him if after twenty six years in jail he wanted to live a private life and age gracefully. True to his nature he continued to be a light in the darkness, fighting for human rights until his death. He gave everything to the issues which he held most dear. In doing so he inspired generations of young people who carry on his legacy.

Perhaps it is fitting that this statement is being prepared on the anniversary of his false conviction being vacated. With that in mind, now that I think about it, this can and should be a time of celebration. Rather than mourn a loss of such magnitude, let us rejoice that we were blessed with such a presence to begin with.

The history of mankind is not written by corrupt governments or their shadow agencies, it is formed by greatness of spirit and strength of mind. This is why Elmer Pratt will always be remembered and honored as a prophet and perhaps even a saint to his people. I know wherever he is, he is speaking truth to power, and rallying spirits to his cause.

This was not a spark that died! He was a fuse, igniting a series of events that we have yet to fully understand. I am certain in the fullness of time he will be celebrated while those who opposed him and their descendants will hang their heads in shame. It is this knowledge that makes me smile, and weep tears of great appreciation. So raise your hands, raise your hearts, raise your voices. Give thanks to Wankan Tanka that such a Titan walked amongst us. Never forget this incendiary spirit that opened minds and knocked down walls. Say his name with reverence, for he represents the very best of us all, and in that he will live forever.

Leonard Peltier
# 89637-132
U.S.P. Lewisburg,
P.O. Box 1000,
Lewisburg, PA USA 17837

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