Stipends to Class-War Prisoners—Revival of the ILD Tradition

We must not forget the class-war prisoners of today—those in prison for standing up to racist capitalist oppression—whose freedom is in the interest of the whole of the working people. “The victory of the class-war prisoners is possible only when they are inseparably united with the living labor movement and when that movement claims them for its own, takes up their battle cry and carries on their work” (James P. Cannon, “The Cause that Passes Through a Prison,” Labor Defender, September 1926, reprinted in Notebook of an Agitator).

As an expression of our class solidarity, the PDC has revived the tradition of the ILD by sending monthly stipends of $50 to class-war prisoners. This support for class-war prisoners is not an act of charity but the duty of those on the outside toward those inside prison walls.

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Free the Class-War Prisoners!

30th Annual PDC Holiday Appeal

This year’s Holiday Appeal marks the 30th year of the Partisan Defense Committee’s program of sending monthly stipends as an expression of solidarity to those imprisoned for standing up to racist capitalist repression and imperialist depredation. This program revived a tradition initiated by the International Labor Defense under James P. Cannon, its founder and first secretary (1925-1928). This year’s events will pay tribute to two former stipend recipients: Phil Africa of the MOVE 9 who died under suspicious circumstances in January and Hugo Pinell, the last of the San Quentin 6 in prison, who was brutally assassinated in August. We honor the memory of these courageous individuals by keeping up the fight for the freedom of all class-war prisoners. The PDC currently sends stipends to 13 class-war prisoners.

See "Upcoming Events" for date and time information.

An Injury to One Is an Injury to All!

The 13 class-war prisoners described below receive monthly stipends from the PDC. [Up to date as of March 2016]

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther Party spokesman, a well-known supporter of the MOVE organization and an award-winning journalist known as “the voice of the voiceless.” Framed up for the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer, Mumia was sentenced to death explicitly for his political views. Federal and state courts have repeatedly refused to consider evidence proving Mumia’s innocence, including the sworn confession of Arnold Beverly that he, not Mumia, shot and killed the policeman. In 2011 the Philadelphia district attorney’s office dropped its longstanding effort to legally lynch America’s foremost class-war prisoner. He remains condemned to life in prison with no chance of parole. Mumia now faces a life-threatening health crisis related to an active case of hepatitis C which brought him close to death in March. The Pennsylvania prison authorities adamantly refuse to treat this dangerous but curable condition.

Leonard Peltier is an internationally renowned class-war prisoner. Peltier’s incarceration for his activism in the American Indian Movement has come to symbolize this country’s racist repression of its Native peoples, the survivors of centuries of genocidal oppression. Peltier was framed up for the 1975 deaths of two FBI agents marauding in what had become a war zone on the South Dakota Pine Ridge Reservation. Although the lead government attorney has admitted, “We can’t prove who shot those agents,” and the courts have acknowledged blatant prosecutorial misconduct, the 71-year-old Peltier is not scheduled to be reconsidered for parole for another nine years. Peltier suffers from multiple serious medical conditions and is incarcerated far from his people and family.

Seven MOVE members—Chuck Africa, Michael Africa, Debbie Africa, Janet Africa, Janine Africa, Delbert Africa and Eddie Africa—are in their 38th year of prison. After the 8 August 1978 siege of their Philadelphia home by over 600 heavily armed cops, they were sentenced to 30-100 years, having been falsely convicted of killing a police officer who died in the cops’ own cross fire. In 1985, eleven of their MOVE family members, including five children, were massacred by Philly cops when a bomb was dropped on their living quarters. After nearly four decades of unjust incarceration, these innocent prisoners are routinely turned down at parole hearings. None have been released.

Jaan Laaman and Thomas Manning are the two remaining anti-imperialist activists known as the Ohio 7 still in prison, convicted for their roles in a radical group that took credit for bank “expropriations” and bombings of symbols of U.S. imperialism, such as military and corporate offices, in the late 1970s and ’80s. Before their arrests in 1984 and 1985, the Ohio 7 were targets of massive manhunts. The Ohio 7’s politics were once shared by thousands of radicals but, like the Weathermen before them, the Ohio 7 were spurned by the “respectable” left. From a proletarian standpoint, the actions of these leftist activists against imperialism and racist injustice are not crimes. They should not have served a day in prison.

Ed Poindexter and Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa are former Black Panther supporters and leaders of the Omaha, Nebraska, National Committee to Combat Fascism. They are victims of the FBI’s deadly COINTELPRO operation, under which 38 Black Panther Party members were killed and hundreds more imprisoned on frame-up charges. Poindexter and Mondo were railroaded to prison and sentenced to life for a 1970 explosion that killed a cop, and they have now spent more than 40 years behind bars. Nebraska courts have repeatedly denied Poindexter and Mondo new trials despite the fact that a crucial piece of evidence excluded from the original trial, a 911 audio tape long suppressed by the FBI, proved that testimony of the state’s key witness was perjured.

Contribute now! All proceeds from the Holiday Appeal events will go to the Class-­War Prisoners Stipend Fund. This is not charity but an elementary act of solidarity with those imprisoned for their opposition to racist capitalism and imperialist depredations. Send your contributions to: PDC, P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013; (212) 406-­4252. 

As of December 2015, the Partisan Defense Committee sends monthly stipends as well as holiday and family presents to 14 activists imprisioned for standing up to racist, capitalist oppression. Here are the addresses to write directly to the class-war prisioners in the PDC's stipend program.

Delbert Orr Africa, AM 4985
Charles Sims Africa, AM 4975
SCI–Dallas, 1000 Follies Road
Dallas, PA 18612-0286

Debbie Sims Africa, #006307
Janet Holloway Africa, #006308
Janine Phillips Africa, #006309
451 Fullerton Avenue
Cambridge Springs, PA 16403-1238

Edward Goodman Africa, AM 4974
SCI Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932

Michael Davis Africa, AM 4973
P.O. Box 244
Graterford, PA 19426-0244

Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335
SCI Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932

Jaan K. Laaman, #10372-016
USP Tucson, P.O. Box 24550
Tucson, AZ 85734

W.M.E. we Langa, 27768
Nebraska State Penitentiary
P.O. Box 2500
Lincoln, NE 68542-2500

Thomas W. Manning
Federal Medical Center
P.O. Box 1600
Butner, NC 27509

Leonard Peltier, #89637-132
USP Coleman I
P.O. Box 1033
Coleman, FL 33521

Ed Poindexter, 27767
Nebraska State Penitentiary
Box 2500
Lincoln, NE 68542-2500