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On Bro. Akili’s Suggestion

November 11, 2006


Written as a letter to the editor in 4Strugglemag issue seven p.46, bro. Akili calls for dialogue to discern the responsibility of “prisoners of conscious” (POC) and the role of Hip-Hop in contemporary social struggle. He feels that the hip-hop generation — buried under a mountain of “illusory success, gold chains, big houses, endorsement deals worth millions is now the driving force of american commerce, and is now the driving force of everything else.” As members of the Hip-Hop generation, he frames this discussion by juxtaposing the role of (POC) and Hip-Hop in the struggle. He argues that our true leaders are aging and that new ones are undiscernable. He observes that: rallies, world-wide marches, petitions to the u.n. and all the “asking for justice” from an unjust system hasn’t been working.

While we defer to the advice of our seniors and elders and weigh their words carefully, our young people ought to feel it incumbent upon them to exercise “self-initiative” when exploring and developing new ideas. (Those were my initial thoughts as regards the role of POC). Chairman Mao says: We know the taste of fruit by eating it and that practice is the criterion of all truth. Imagine the state of Black affairs in the 1960s had our leadership acquiesced to the pressures and intimidation of southern white supremacist… Let us exercise faith in our talents and abilities. Let us be bold and steadfast in our beliefs and know that we can succeed at whatever we set out to do.

As regards to (POC) or political prisoner (PP) support work, over the years I’ve received letters asking how can one support PPs and I had no real answer to give. While it’s good to have “legal support,” whether one is starting, is in the middle or at the end of his sentence, some kind of legal support is helpful; though much of it depends largely on the legal strategy being persued by the imprisoned individual. Some of our PPs have enjoyed support consisting mainly of fundraisers, legal counsel, minor investigative work along with some negligible press educating people about their case. This support also include “care packages,” periodic visits, letters and the like.

So when the question “how can I support you or support PPs?” was asked of me, I knew the question entailed far more than the above, because the kind of support PPs require and need is decidedly more involved than what I’ve described above. Yet, in the mind of supporters as well as in the mind of recipients of it, the aforesaid has defined PP support work over the years — at least that’s my take of it. Clearly, this suggests that the question of how can I support PPs has gone largely unanswered and that no collective effort was ever devoted to answering it. So what does PP support work actually entails? I am as guilty of this critical oversight as the rest. And even if the question were answered, it could still have undergone periodic review and adjustment when necessary throughout these long years.

So, let me start anew in response to the question: how can one support PPs? I believe it can be done effectively through an organized structure, one that has clearly defined measurable objectives and freedom of u.s. PPs ought to be a main objective. And in this regard I believe PP support work should include an international support component as a means by which socially conscious people in the global community can contribute support and resources.

This support should seek a forum before the world body (u.n.) to bring attention to the plight of u.s. PPs and the Black Liberation Struggle. It should aim at organizing a “Truth and Reconcilliation Hearing” (TARH) similar to the one headed by Bishop TuTu in S.A., thereby devising a mechanism through which u.s. PPs can be released. This organized structure should explore use of “dual-citizenship” for our PPs in foreign countries as another means of securing their release.

These support initiatives can serve as that “more involved” support work in setting our PPs free. Furthermore, everyone in this endeavor can find productive work that he or she can do. Once reorganized, which is now being done, Jericho can satisfy the requirements that I’ve outlined. In due course a Jericho update shall follow in 4Strugglemag. These idea are not exhausted; others will weigh-in with their own. Finally, as to Hip-Hop and its role in struggle, I defer my discussion of it to a later date. In solidarity…

Herman Bell (7900262)
Sullivan Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 116
Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116 USA

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