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 $100 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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An Injury to One Is an Injury to All!

The 4 class-war prisoners described below receive monthly stipends from the PDC. [Up to date as of October 2021]

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 Mumia, condemning him to life in prison with no chance of parole. In 2016, attorneys for Mumia filed a petition under Pennsylvania’s Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) seeking to overturn the denial of his four prior PCRA claims by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. On 27 December 2018, Judge Leon Tucker of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas granted Mumia’s petition, allowing him to argue before an appellate court for reversal of his frame-up conviction. Mumia's appeal is now back in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where the Philly DA Larry Krasner is fighting tooth and nail to get the appeal dismissed and keep Mumia buried in prison for life.

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. The lead government attorney has admitted, “We can’t prove who shot those agents,” and the courts have repeatedly denied Peltier’s appeals while acknowledging blatant prosecutorial misconduct. Before leaving office, Barack Obama rejected Peltier’s request for clemency. The 77-year-old Peltier is not scheduled for a parole hearing for another three years. Peltier suffers from multiple serious medical conditions, including a heart condition which led to triple bypass surgery in 2017. He is incarcerated far from his people and family.

Ed Poindexter is a former Black Panther supporter and leader of the Omaha, Nebraska, National Committee to Combat Fascism. He and his former co-defendant, Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa, who died in prison in 2016, were victims of the FBI’s deadly COINTELPRO operation, under which 32 Black Panther Party members were killed and hundreds more imprisoned on frame-up charges. They were railroaded to prison and sentenced to life for a 1970 explosion that killed a cop, and Poindexter has now spent more than 50 years behind bars. Nebraska courts have repeatedly denied Poindexter a new trial despite the fact that crucial evidence, long suppressed by the FBI, proved that testimony of the state’s key witness was perjured.

Alvaro Luna Hernandez (Xinachtli) is a Mexican American initially framed up in the 1970s for a murder he did not commit. He was politicized in prison where he helped lead a movement for prison reform and became an effective jailhouse lawyer. Hernandez spent nearly a decade in solitary confinement. After the frame-up was exposed by the Houston Post, Hernandez was freed in 1991, but the state continued to target him for his activism on behalf of Mexican Americans. He founded the National Movement of La Raza and led a successful campaign to free Ricardo Aldape Guerra, a Mexican national framed for killing a Houston cop, from Texas’ death row. In 1996, the Brewster County Sheriff attempted to arrest him. When Hernandez challenged the legality of the warrantless arrest, the sheriff pulled a gun compelling him to disarm the sheriff in self-defense. Hernandez was railroaded for “aggravated assault” and outrageously sentenced to 50 years. He has now been continually confined in solitary for more than 19 years in Texas dungeons.

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 depredation. Send your contributions to: PDC, P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013; (212) 406-4252.

As of May 2021, the Partisan Defense Committee sends monthly stipends as well as holiday and family presents to 4 activists imprisoned for standing up to racist, capitalist oppression. Here are the addresses to write directly to the class-war prisoners in the PDC's stipend program.

Smart Communications/PADOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335
SCI Mahanoy
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733

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

Ed Poindexter, 27767, 1-A-09
Nebraska State Penitentiary
P.O. Box 22500
Lincoln, NE 68542-2500

Alvaro Luna Hernandez
TDCJ-CID #00255735
W.G. McConnell Unit
3001 South Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102