George Jackson was killed by prison guards on August 21, 1971.
At age 18, Jackson was convicted on dubious evidence of a gas station robbery of $70. Based on prior arrests, Jackson was sentenced to between one year and life in prison and shipped off to California’s notorious San Quentin prison. He was never released from prison for the rest of his life.
During his first years at San Quentin State Prison, Jackson became involved in revolutionary activity.
In 1966, Jackson met and befriended W.L. Nolen who introduced him to Marxist ideology. In speaking of his ideological transformation, Jackson remarked “I met Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Engels, and Mao when I entered prison and they redeemed me.”
Jackson was appointed “field marshal” by the Oakland chapter of the Black Panther Party.
On January 13, 1970, Nolen and two other Black prisoners were attacked by the “Arayan Brotherhood” and then killed by a corrections officer at Soledad prison. Three days after the killings were ruled justifiable homicide, a guard named John V. Mills was killed. Despite a lack of evidence, Jackson and two other prisoners — Fleeta Drumgo and John Wesley Clutchette — were charged.
Together, the three became known as the “Soledad Brothers.”
On August 21, 1971, Jackson was shot and killed by guards at San Quentin Prison.
Following is an excerpt from George Jackson’s “Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson“:
We must accept the spirit of the true internationalism called for by Comrade Che Guevara. … We need allies, we have a powerful enemy who cannot be defeated without an allied effort! The enemy at present is the capitalist system and its supporters. Our prime interest is to destroy them. Anyone else with this same interest must be embraced, we must work with, beside, through, over, under anyone, regardless of his or her external physical features, whose aim is the same as ours in this. Capitalism must be destroyed, and after it is destroyed, if we find we still have problems, we’ll work them out. That is the nature of life, struggle, permanent revolution; that is the situation we were born into. There are other peoples on this earth. In denying their existence and turning inward in our misery and accepting any form of racism we are taking on the characteristic of our enemy. We are resigning ourselves to defeat. For in forming a conspiracy aimed at the destruction of the system that holds us all in the throes of a desperate insecurity we must have coordinating elements connecting us and our moves to the moves of the other colonies, the African colonies, those in Asia and Latin Amerika, in Appalachia and the south-western bean fields.
We must establish a true internationalism with other anticolonial peoples. Then we will be on the road of the true revolutionary. Only then can we expect to seize the power that is rightfully ours, the power to control the circumstances of our day-to-day lives.
The fascist must expand to live. Consequently, he had pushed his frontiers to the farthest lands and peoples. This is an aspect of his being, an ungovernable compulsion. This perverted mechanical monster suffers from a disease that forces him to build ugly things and destroy beauty wherever he finds it.
We must fall on our enemies, the enemies of all righteousness, with a ruthless relentless will to win! History sweeps on, we must not let it escape our influence this time!!!!”