We received the following letter as a reply from political prisoner Sundiata Acoli, after sending him a letter along with our article “Free Sundiata! Defend the Masses’ Right to Politics!“
Transcribed Letter from Sundiata Acoli
“Greetings TK [name redacted for privacy],
I trust this finds you and the May Day Student Organization (MDSO) well, in the very best of health and highest revolutionary spirit. I’m also well tho still confronted with post-covid long term effects, memory loss, muscle weakness, multiple age-related sicknesses and constant attacks by a new more ominous cointelpro 2000.0.
You’re more than welcomed to any sacrifices I’ve made and in turn I thank you and other Northeast Political Prisoner Coalition (NEPPC) members for organizing support to free our revolutionary Political Prisoners and particularly for the article you wrote earlier this year titled: “Free Sundiata! Defend the Masses Right to Politics!” I deeply appreciate your article and the May Day Students’ desire to hear my thoughts on it which follow herein immediately below.
My thoughts on “Free Sundiata! Defend the Masses Right to Politics!
A truly political understanding of the Black Liberation Struggle versus to depoliticization of that struggle
- requires the masses to take up the question of state power;
- understands the necessity of linking the liberation of oppressed nations to the broader international struggle against capitalism;
- understands Black Liberation is part of a broader working class politics;
- understands that a Black (or non-white) President makes no difference, this racist imperialistic system must be changed by us, the oppressed, banding together to make it happen;
- understands that each parole denial is an attempt to depoliticize the question of Black Liberation. In a previous article by TK and Jalil Muntaqim, he identifies the political motivation for keeping Black revolutionaries behind bars. For the US bourgeois, these aging prisoners serve as negative examples: dare to rise up in a political revolt against the state and you will face punishment for life. By treating me (Sundiata) as a social, or common criminal, they are denying the political character of the struggle for Black Liberation. They are denying the right of the working class and masses to our own politics;
- the struggle to free me (Sundiata) and other vets of the Black Liberation struggle, as “Maroon” Shoatz, Mutulu Shakur, Imam Jamil al-Amin, Mumia abu-Jamal and many others is one arena of struggle that progressive students must take up, because to support them is to affirm our right to politics; and
- the program of the MDSO calls for bringing the politics of the socialist revolution to the student body in solidarity with the people everywhere fighting for democracy and progress, and Black Liberation, including the freeing of Political Prisoners which is an integral aspect of social revolution.
Concluding Thoughts and Comment
I have no qualms with the general conclusions and comments drawn above. I think TK and Jalil Muntaqim have made a brilliant analysis of the role depoliticization plays in the attempt to deny the political character of the Black Liberation struggle including the attempt to perpetuate the myth that there are no Political Prisoners in the US. Meanwhile TK has raised high the essential issue that true progressive students must ultimately affirm.