Last week on September 5th, 69 year-old Black Panther Party political prisoner Herman Bell was viciously attacked by six prison guards as he was being escorted to his cell, leaving him with two cracked ribs, an injured eye, and a possible concussion. As an organization that holds high the struggles and sacrifices of political prisoners, we at Critical Resistance are enraged by this demonstration of violence by the prison regime, and ask all people to contact the commissioner of the New York Department of Corrections as requested by Herman’s support team.
The struggle of U.S.-held political prisoners is one that is often less visible or forgotten. As Herman wrote in a response to a prompt we sent him in June of this year:
“With few exceptions u.s. political prisoners (pps) are not well known or represented in u.s. society (and u.s. corporate media, as expected, totally ignore them except to report an obituary or legal setback, like parole denial). This, on the one hand, is a continuation of state control media to silence dissent and protest, and on the other, is an illustration of ineffective pp education and support work for their release. Appeal for support and demand that pps be released should always be in the forefront of any progressive public address, rather than, as is typically the case, at the end, sometimes not at all; or as an afterthought in closing remarks. Though the prevailing social climate offers hope. PP support work is an integral part of the social justice struggle against racism, poverty, discrimination, hunger, police violence, mass-incarceration, prison warehousing and crony-capitalism.”
During this political climate, it is the hope that Herman writes of that compels us to uplift our collective commitment to defending and protecting each other. As communities everywhere are strengthening their resistance to hardened attacks coming from the federal government, local and state forces, and right wing extremist groups, we can anticipate that those in power will attempt to make more political prisoners out of anyone who fights back.
Repression breeds resistance, and now, as repression is becoming more visible and intensified, we must fight fiercely in defense of those that the prison industrial complex has locked away for fighting for all of us.
Free Herman Bell and all Political Prisoners!