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Indybay Feature

NO MORE LOCKED DOORS: a conference on political prisoners

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Date:
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Time:
11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Event Type:
Conference
Organizer/Author:
NMLD
Email:
Location Details:
Qilombo Community Center
2313 San Pablo
Oakland, CA

In commemoration of the horrific bombing of the MOVE Organization by Philadelphia police 30 years ago, on Saturday, May 16th in Oakland, CA, people will come together at the radical community center Qilombo for the ‘No More Locked Doors’ conference. During the day, groups will be tabling and there will be workshops. In the evening, there will be a panel of former political prisoners. After the panel, revolutionary hip-hop artists will perform.

The conference will highlight the work of supporting political prisoners in a variety of movements for liberation. All struggles – whether they are against colonialism, capitalism, the exploitation of the earth or of animals, the State, prisons, and any and all other repressive apparatus – have a need to practice long-term support for those incarcerated. These practices of solidarity need to be maintained and generalized.

Tabling by political prisoner and prisoner support organizations will start at 11am and go until 6pm.

A series of workshops, on prisoner support strategy and history, will happen around Qilombo from noon until 6 pm. The schedule of these workshops will be posted soon at nomorelockeddoors.org.

At 7pm, a panel of former political prisoners will speak. We are overjoyed to announce a panel consisting of: Richard Brown (of the SF8), Linda Evans (May 19th Communist Organization), Sundiata Tate (SQ6) and Rita "Bo" Brown (George Jackson Brigade). Full bios of the speakers are available at https://nomorelockeddoors.org/former-political-prisoner-panel/.

The collective working on the conference is also showing "Let the Fire Burn," a film about the bombing of MOVE, at the Omni Commons on May 13th. The film is being shown on the 30th anniversary of the bombing. More information can be found at https://nomorelockeddoors.org/may-13th-film-screening-of-let-the-fire-burn/.
Added to the calendar on Thu, May 7, 2015 9:28AM
§No More Locked Doors Workshops Schedule! Saturday, May 16th
by No More Locked Doors
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Workshops at the upcoming No More Locked Doors conference on Saturday, May 16th at Qilombo Community Center, 2313 San Pablo Ave, Oakland. 11 AM - 10 PM.

12 PM – 1:45 PM

A Question of Revolution and Resistance: From Principles, Armed Struggle, Political Prisoners, and The Now
taking place in the Afrikatown Garden
a presentation by Raul "Curly" Estremera and Anthony Choice-Diaz

A Discussion/Presentation Co-Facilitated by former Political Prisoner, Armorer for the Black Liberation Army, Young Lords Organization/Black Panther Party member (Brooklyn) - Raul "Curly" Estremera and local organizer Anthony Choice-Diaz, Radical Historian, member of the American Indian Movement, Minister Black Berets Por La Justicia, and Co-Contributor
to the zine "Accomplice Not Allies"

They will be speaking on the history and complexities within the struggle to free Political Prisoners locally, and the cost and consequence of revolt.

Direct Movement Support for Those Facing Large State or Federal Cases
taking place in the Basement
a presentation by Eric McDavid and Sacramento Prisoner Support

Through their experience of supporting Eric McDavid, Sacramento Prisoner Support will be talking about what to keep in mind when engaging in direct support for someone dealing with a large federal case, much of which can be duplicated with a similar state case. The aspects addressed by this panel will range from the finer points that can easily be taken for granted to the larger aspects of this support work that can seem overwhelming. They’ll be talking about establishing an initial base of support after the arrest, trial readiness, and if there is a conviction and a long sentence handed out, moving forward into the appeal processes available, and general prisoner support that is needed.

Eric McDavid, a green anarchist, was sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison after being convicted on “conspiring to damage or destroy property by fire or explosive” in 2007; the case showed excessive and extreme entrapment tactics used by the FBI and thanks to SPS’s energy and support in the habeas appeals to push this point through focusing on FOIA requests, thereby leading to Eric’s release on January 8th of this year. Eric will be on the panel as well giving his perspective on support and talking about the importance of good communication between the person being supported, the lawyer, and the support crew.

The Case of Oscar Lopez Rivera
taking place in the Bookstore
a presentation by Ricardo

Discussion and introduction to the case of this Puerto Rican Nationalist, still held captive in the US for their participation in armed struggle for independence of Puerto Rico.

2 PM – 3:45 PM

Broadening Movement Defense: Reflections from Denver Prisoner Support & Anti-Repression
taking place in the Afrikatown Garden
a presentation by members of Denver Anarchist Black Cross

Members of Denver Anarchist Black Cross and Denver Community Defense Committee will be presenting on the evolution of movement defense in Denver from 2009 to present. Denver organizers have taken a broad approach to the concepts of “movement defense,” which have led to stronger support, solidarity and collaborative efforts. By including things like childcare within radical movement, coalition building, neighborhood organizing, international solidarity, prisoner support, jail/legal support and more into this concept of “movement defense,” Denver has built a strong and vibrant network that moves across city and state lines. With repression in their local movement growing once again since November 2014, with several organizers facing felony charges, they hope to open discussion in this forum to build stronger networks of solidarity at home and beyond.

Presentation on One Prisoner, One Contact
taking place in the Bookstore
a presentation by OPOC

A discussion on support of incarcerated black liberation prisoners and former Black Panthers through the local group One Prisoner, One Contact.

The Lucasville Uprising and the Recent Hunger Strikes in Ohio
taking place in the Basement
a presentation by Jack

In 1993, inmates at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, OH, staged a 11-day uprising against their oppressive and racist conditions. This uprising was marked by solidarity across racial lines. Five inmates were sentenced to death for their alleged participation in the riot.

In this workshop, we will listen to a phone conversation with Bomani Shakur, one of the inmates facing death row, specially recorded for the conference. We will discuss his comments, touch briefly upon some of his writing, discuss the current situation in Ohio prisons and, if possible, have a brief phone conversation with Bomani himself.

4PM – 5:45 PM

Prisoner Support and Revolutionary Solidarity in Mexico
taking place in the Afrikatown Garden
a presentation by Mexico ABC

The Mexican chapter of the Anarchist Black Cross has been supporting prisoners against state repression for over 10 years. A comrade from the organization joins us from Mexico City to talk about anarchist activity and give updates on political prisoners. Further, we’ll watch a movie and hear about a new anarchist solidarity project working with an autonomous community in Oaxaca defending themselves against corporations looking to steal common lands, an exploration of anarchist-indigenous solidarity.

Strategy Discussion on Freeing Mumia and All Aging Political Prisoners
taking place in the Basement
a presentation by Richard Brown, Judith, and Judy

Former political prisoner and long running organizers host an open discussion “about specific cases and campaigns and brainstorm strategies and tactics. Let’s get our prisoners out of jail and build movements to support all those who resist in the future.” Come talk on how to get Mumia – and others, out!

The ILWU and the Support of Political Prisoners Through Action
taking place in the Bookstore
a presentation by Jack Heyman

Retired member of ILWU Local 10, Jack Heyman will speak on the history of the union’s support of political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and Angela Davis.

At 7pm on May 16th, after a day of tabling and workshops, a panel of former political prisoners will speak at Qilombo. We are overjoyed to announce the members of this panel: Richard Brown, Linda Sue Evans, Sundiata “Willie” Tate, Rita “Bo” Brown. These people, from a variety of social movements, will talk about their experiences as well as their perspectives on effective prisoner support.

Richard Brown

A former member of the Black Panther Party, Richard Brown was part of the ‘SF 8,’ which included Richard O’Neal, Ray Boudreaux, Hank Jones, Francisco Torres, Harold Taylor, Herman Bell, and Jalil Muntaqim. Bell and Muntaqim have been held as political prisoners for over 30 years in New York State prisons.

Richard describes the case of the SF 8: “We [were] charged with the 1971 Ingleside Station attack [on] a police sergeant by the name of John Young [who] was murdered. Because we were Panthers we are being charged with that murder and conspiracy to murder police officers and commit certain crimes. This was brought up for the first time in the 1970s. When the case was taken to court, the three people charged, John Bowman, Ruben Scott, and Harold Taylor, all stated that they were tortured and forced to confess. Because of that and the fact that they were questioned without any attorney being present in New Orleans, the court threw the so-called ‘admission of guilt’ and the case out.

In January of this year, 2007, they rearrested eight of us for the same crime and the same charges and as far as we can tell from what we’ve heard in court they plan to use the same ‘confessions’ that were ruled illegal in the first place. If you go according to what they said in court, what they’ve presented so far, they don’t even have any new evidence. We are being recharged with the same thing again which was already stated as illegal back in the 1970s.

Since then I might add that a lot of things have changed because of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security and the environment of the country, a period where they feel that they can come back and use what they couldn’t use before because it’s not so clear whether [the torture] is illegal or not.”

Fighting a grand jury and conspiracy charges, a community defense campaign mobilized to free the SF 8. Some of the charges from 1973 were thrown out due to police use of torture to get confessions, and by January of 2008, the case was dismissed. Richard Brown stated on his previous involvement with the Panthers, “The Black Panthers were about serving the people… and I continued to serve the people as an individual by working with community-based organizations.”

We are honored to have Richard Brown join us and share his wisdom on the SF 8 case and the cause of political prisoners and prisoners of war.

Linda Sue Evans

Linda Evans has spent decades involved with various organizations and movements in militant opposition to imperialism and white supremacy, both inside and outside of prison. In 1987, Evans was sentenced to 40 years in prison for using false identification to buy firearms and for harboring a fugitive in the 1981 Brinks armored truck robbery, in which two police officers and a guard were killed. In a second case, she was sentenced in 1990 to five years in prison for conspiracy and malicious destruction in connection with eight bombings including that of the U. S. Capitol in the mid-1980s. Her sentence was commuted in 2001.

Politicized in the mid-1960s, Evans joined Students for a Democratic Society, but moved away from pacifism as she became more involved in various struggles – even traveling to Vietnam in 1969. As SDS split, Evans joined the Weather faction, and was arrested during the build up to the ‘Days of Rage.’ Evans remained heavily involved in the Weather Underground Organization, and even went on to participate in the May 19th Communist Organization after Weather folded.

No stranger to prison for carrying out militant actions and attempting to ‘fund’ revolutionary organizations, while incarcerated at the Federal Corrections Institution in Dublin, California Evans advocated for an AIDS educational program for women and lesbian inmates. Evans also helped raise funds for the program by creating quilts and served as a peer AIDS counselor and educator.

We are honored to have Linda Evan’s speak today, and share with us her insight into decades of struggle; both inside and outside the bars.

Sundiata “Willie” Tate

Sundiata was one of the 6 people accused of participating in an escape attempt from San Quentin prison in 1971. The group became known as the ‘San Quentin 6.” The other inmates included, Hugo Pinell, Johnny Larry Spain, David Johnson, Fleeta Drumgo and Luis Talamantez. The trial latest an incredible 16 months.

According to an article on Found SF: “Prior to the 1971 San Quentin Six indictments, Hugo Pinell, and Fleeta Drumgb, along with fellow inmates, including George Jackson, had fought against prison authorities’ attempts to whip up racial hatred among prisoners. They
strongly protested the January, 1970 murder of three Black prisoners.

In November, 1970, Johnny Spain is put into the hole at Soledad for possession of literature alleged to be “inflammatory” — his personal writings about prison life. At San Quentin, Willie Tate and David Johnson vigorously protest the fatal gassing and beating of Fred Billingslea. On January 13th, 1970, three Black prisoners — Nolan, Edwards, and Miller — are killed by a Soledad prison guard. Two of them had been involved in a suit against Soledad, exposing the racist, hate-mongering tactics employed by prison officials. These killings are ruled “justifiable homicide” by the Grand Jury. A Soledad guard, O.G. Mill is killed shortly thereafter.

On January 16th Fleeta Drumgo, John C1utchette, and George Jackson are accused of murdering Mills. Angela Davia joins the campaign to free the Soledad Brothers. (After George Jackson was murdered in 1971 the two surviving Soledad Brothers were acquitted of charges by a jury.) On August 7th, Jonathan Jackson, younger brother of George Jackson, walks into the Marin County courtroom where a Black San Quentin prison activist, James McClain, is standing trial. McClain, Jackson, and inmate-witnesses William Christmas and Ruchell Magee take hostages. Jackson, McClain, Christmas, and Superior Court Judge Haley are killed. Angela Davis and Ruchell Magee are subsequently accused of murder, kidnap, and conspiracy in connection with the above events. On August 21st, George Jackson is fatally shot in the back by prison guards at San Quentin. Two other inmates and three guards are also killed. In the days that follow, Adjustment Center (AC) inmates are beaten, shot, burned, and generally brutalized.”

The trial of the San Quentin 6 continues throughout the 1970s; spawning a movement that calls for the release of the 6 as well as against the assassination of George Jackson and other prison rebels. After his release, “Sundi” remained active in struggles for liberation, both around prison issues and the broader revolutionary movement. In the spirit of total resistance and in the memory of prison warrior George Jackson, we are honored to have Sundiata share his wisdom with us on the panel.

Rita “Bo” Brown

In the 1970s, Brown was a member of the militant underground group the George Jackson Brigade, which operated out of the Pacific Northwest. As a working-class lesbian herself, Brown was part of a Brigade whose members flew in the face of stereotypes of militants of the time. Comprised of ex-cons, proletarians, women, prison activists, queers, white and black members, as well as both communists and anarchists, the group carried out a string of armed actions and expropriations. Brown was soon named, “The Gentleman Bank
Robber,” and the Brigade quickly landed on the FBI’s most wanted list.

One news article referred to Brown: “Klamath, Oregon native who often did her dirty work in drag, creatively blending her butch cross-dressing style with polite gun-pointing prattle, and was praised by bank tellers for her congeniality while committing her outlaw
activities. The Brigade’s list of terrorist activities included firebombing a Seattle contractor’s office who refused to hire black workers, Safeway stores to show solidarity with the United Farm Workers, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Tacoma office of the FBI for their aggressive stance toward the American Indian Movement. They also blew
up a Seattle power station. Of her experiences with the Brigade, Brown has said, “we were at war.”’

Eventually, Brown was captured and did 8 years for the robbery of a Portland bank. Upon release in 1987, Brown formed the group, Out of Control: Lesbian Committee to Support Women Political Prisoners, and remains active in struggles for liberation and in prison abolition groups in the Bay Area.

Bo Brown’s experience and wisdom pulls from a multitude of struggles, communities, and well-springs of revolt.
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