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Can't Jail the Spirit: Political Prisoners in the U.S.

Can't Jail the Spirit: Political Prisoners in the U.S.

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Published by Virtual Boricua
A collection of bibliographies
A collection of bibliographies

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Published by: Virtual Boricua on Apr 16, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/09/2013

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Can't
Jail
the
Spirit
,
POLITICAL PRISONERS
IN THE
u.S.
A COLLECTION OF BIOGRAPHIES
 
INTRODUCTION
This book
has
been assembled
by
the Committee
to
End the Marion
Lockdown
(CEML). The
last
pages
0/
his book
contain
the
address
0/
our
organization
and associated organizations
that
have assisted
us
in
this project.
We
oppose
Marion
prison
because
it
is
barbaric, because it
is
becoming a model/orother prisons, and
because
it is afundamental
tool
o/the
system
o/white
supremacy.
We
oppose
Marion
because
it
is also
used
to
incarcerate
and
brutalize
political
prisoners,
to
incapacitate them
and
to
serve
as
a
warning to
those
on
the
outside
who
might
decide
to
act politically
in
such
a
way
as
to
risk
prison.
There are hundreds, maybe
thousands,
o/people
now
choosing political work that might
involve
prison as punishment-and there
is
no
sign that this trend will stop.
The
United States seems
to be
saying that it needs something beyond
the
threat
0/
traditional prison
to
stem
the
tide
0/
these politicalactivists-and
so
it
has
created
Marion
and Lexington-Control
Unit
prisons, prisons that
are
beyondprisons.
The
U.S.
denies that it holds
any
political prisoners but at
the
same
time
attacks progressivecountries like Nicaragua and
Cuba
for incarcerating political prisoners. In this context it seemed
an
important task/or
us
to
assemble
this
book.
A Definition of Political Prisoners
The
CEML
defines
Political Prisoners
as people who have made conscious political decisions,and acted
on
them, to oppose the United States government and who have been incarcerated as a result
of
those actions. These actions are taken in reponse to economic, social, and political conflicts within oursociety. Often political prisoners are not incarcerated on charges stemming from those actions. Many areframed
up
on
totally unrelated charges
or
vague conspiracy laws.
For
example, Geronimo Pratt andLeonard Peltier
are
in prison
on
frame-up murder charges while Alejandrina Torres
is
in prison for"seditious conspiracy." Political prisoners may also be people who are incarcerated for non-politicalreasons but become political activists once
in
prison. This
is
a category that would contain GeorgeJackson among others.There
is
a notable group
of
political prisoners called
Prisoners
of War
(POWs).
These arepeople who
are
members
of
oppressed nations who believe that their nations are at war with the UnitedStates
or
are
building towards such a war. That is, they are members
of
national liberation struggles who. have participated
in
pursuits similar to political prisoners, except that they have been involved in the use
of
organized revolutionary violence andlor are members
of
clandestine organizations which may utilizerevolutionary violence. POWs usually take the position, consistent with
intemationallaw,
that U.S.courts have no jurisdiction over them, and therefore refuse to participate
in
legal proceedings, includingtheir own
trials.
There
is
a great deal
of
documented international law to support this position, includingthe Geneva Convention Protocols
I
and
II,
and Resolution
1514
of
the United Nations General Assemblywhich states that colonialism
is
a crime against humanity and those fighting against
it
are prisoners
of
war.
1
Special conditions are often constructed for the attack on political prisoners. Laws are created torepress them. Often they are given longer sentences than other people convicted
on
similar crimes.When inside prison, they
are
often treated worse. Control Unit prisons have been used against them withgreat vengence.
For
example, male political prisoners are often sent to Marion Federal Penitentiarystraight from court. This violates the Bureau
of
Prisons' own regulations, which maintain that prisonerscan only
be
sent to Marion after they have been disruptive in another prison. And, fmally, the U.S. hasresorted to outright murder
in
the case
of
certain political prisoners, such as Puerto Rican Prisoner
of
WarAngel Rodrfguez Crist6bal and Black revolutionary George Jackson.These repressive acts are designed not so much to punish political prisoners for their actions, but
to
brutalize them into turning against their political causes. Simply deny
your
beliefs and you
will
be
relieved
of
this burden, they are told. With startling regularity and courage, the vast majority
of
themrefuse this "option" and remain steadfast, beacons to those
of
us who believe that a new society must becreated.
..
...

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