Free All Political Prisoners –- Including Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

Glen Ford, BAR executive editor, 13 Feb 2020

Julian Assange and his protégés have made common cause with Black revolutionaries in their zeal to lay bare the dictatorial nature of the omni-pervasive national security state and the sheer, racist barbarity of the U.S. imperial project.

“A huge struggle must be launched to claim the means of human expression.”

All of our fates are entwined with that of Julian Assange, a political prisoner of the global imperial state. Assange, an Australian currently held in solitary confinement in Britain’s Belmarsh prison, faces 175 years behind bars if extradited to the United States, the imperial power whose international crimes and domestic machinations have been severely compromised by Wikileaks, the journalism operation Assange founded.

The United States has many political prisoners, most of them elderly former members of the Black Panther Party whose willingness to resist racist police violence made them supreme enemies of the U.S. state, never to the forgiven. But Assange, and his protégés Edward Snowden, now living in exile in Moscow, and Chelsea Manning (né Bradley Edward Manning), currently imprisoned for refusal to testify against Assange before a grand jury, are cousins in struggle with Jalil Muntaqim , repeatedly denied parole in the 1971 death of two New York City cops, and Sundiata Acoli , comrade-in-arms with exiled Assata Shakur, who will next be eligible for parole in 2032 when he will be 94 years old.

Imperial power has been severely compromised by Wikileaks.”

In a racist society, it is the ferocity of the state’s pursuit and prosecution of dissidents that is the best measure of their contribution to the struggle against oppression. Although, in white supremacist societies, punishment of Black resisters to state power is always more swift and barbaric than for whites, it is the intent and impact of the blows inflicted on the oppressor that should be the basis of solidarity. From that perspective, Julian Assange and his protégés have made common cause with Black revolutionaries in their zeal to lay bare the dictatorial nature of the omni-pervasive national security state and the sheer, racist barbarity of the U.S. imperial project.

Charles Sims Africa was this week released  from a Pennsylvania prison, the youngest of the Move 9 members convicted in the death of a Philadelphia cop in 1978. Two Move family members, Merle and Phil Africa, mysteriously died in prison. In 1985, eleven Move men, women and children were incinerated by helicopter-borne police, along with 62 houses in the block, on orders of the city’s Black mayor. It is inconceivable that white Americans would be subjected to such bestial, unrelenting punishment by the U.S. state – lynching and ceremonial burning is reserved mainly for Black people. But the Move family’s politics is as much environmentalist as it is Black liberationist, and members early on warned that the ever-encroaching electronic political weaponry of the State was designed to subdue and imprison all of society. Similarly, the Black Panther Party made common cause with all peoples that resist U.S. imperial subjugation, and called for a global order of socialism and peace.

“The Move family’s politics is as much environmentalist as it is Black liberationist….”

Free All Political Prisoners –- Including Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

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