21 September 2018

Class-Struggle Defense Notes

As an expression of solidarity, for over 30 years the Partisan Defense Committee has provided monthly stipends to dozens of class-war prisoners—those who have been imprisoned for standing up to racist capitalist repression or imperialist depredation and whose freedom is in the interest of the entire working class. For more information about the PDC and how to correspond with the class-war prisoners see www.partisandefense.org.

MOVE’s Ramona Africa Gravely Ill

Ramona Africa, the sole adult survivor of the 13 May 1985 cop/FBI bombing of the mostly black MOVE commune’s Osage Avenue home, is in a dire medical situation. Ramona spent seven years in prison hell after the government’s racist assault in which eleven men, women and children were incinerated to death, and was one of the PDC’s first class-war prisoner stipend recipients. In June, Ramona was hospitalized due to complications from post-traumatic stress disorder. A serious stroke left her unable to walk, and she was subsequently diagnosed with lymphoma. To offset the exorbitant medical costs, the MOVE organization has set up a Go Fund Me page. The PDC has contributed funds to Ramona’s care and urges WV readers to do so. For more information and to make a donation see: gofundme.com/helpsaveramonaafrica.

Fight for Mumia’s Freedom Continues

At an August 30 hearing, attorneys for class-war prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal obtained a continuance to October 29. A former Black Panther Party spokesman, award-winning journalist and MOVE supporter, Mumia was framed up and has been imprisoned for nearly 37 years on charges of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, and spent 30 years on death row. Targeted for his political views in a classic frame-up trial, Mumia has seen his rights trampled on by the courts as part of a state vendetta to keep this innocent man behind bars.

Mumia is seeking to overturn the rejection of his appeals due to the judicial bias of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which repeatedly denied his petitions. Among the justices was Ronald Castille, who served as a senior Assistant D.A. during Mumia’s trial in 1982 and as the D.A. during Mumia’s direct appeal. Later, as a state Supreme Court judge, Castille went on to rubber-stamp the gross violations of Mumia’s rights that he perpetrated as prosecutor (see “Mumia Abu-Jamal Is Innocent—Free Him Now!” WV No. 1134, 18 May). Mumia’s attorneys sought the new hearing due to the continued obstruction by D.A. Larry Krasner, who has resisted releasing documents that may show proof of Castille’s involvement. We call on supporters of Mumia to show their solidarity outside the Philadelphia courthouse during his October hearing. Free him now!

Free Class-War Prisoner Nina Droz!

Puerto Rican activist Nina Droz is the PDC’s most recent addition to the class-war prisoner stipend program. On June 12, Droz was sentenced to 37 months in prison in a transparent frame-up stemming from her participation in the 2017 May Day protests and national work stoppage in San Juan. Droz was hit with trumped-up charges based on claims that she tried to burn down a bank. Facing up to 30 years in prison, she accepted a plea deal on the lesser charge of conspiracy (see “Nina Droz Sentenced—Free Her Now!” WV No. 1136, 29 June). Droz was targeted for her political activism against the “junta,” or U.S.-imposed management board, which, alongside its Puerto Rican lackeys, has enforced savage austerity on the population. Singled out for cruel treatment by the Feds, Droz’s persecution is intended to send a chilling message to all those engaged in struggle against job and pension cuts, school closures, and starvation measures. The case of Nina Droz and many Puerto Rican activists before her is emblematic of the racist, colonial subjugation of the Puerto Rican nation. For the right of independence for Puerto Rico!

Chelsea Manning Banned from Australia

Courageous truth-teller and prominent whistle-blower Chelsea Manning was recently denied a visa to enter Australia, where she had a scheduled speaking tour. In a case of obvious political censorship, the Australian government denied her entry for failing “the character test” under the Migration Act. Our fraternal defense organization in Australia, the Partisan Defence Committee, protested her exclusion in a letter to government officials, noting that the denial of Manning’s visa is “aimed at silencing all those who would dare speak out about, expose, or oppose U.S. and Australian imperialist mass surveillance and military atrocities.” Manning exposed U.S. imperialist war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and was subjected to seven years of torture in prison under the Obama administration. Down with the vendetta against Chelsea Manning!

* * *

(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 1140, 21 September 2018)

Workers Vanguard is the newspaper of the Spartacist League with which the Partisan Defense Committee is affiliated.