[Pnews] Message and reflections from political prisoner Jaan Laaman

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 4 17:20:35 EST 2015

*Some Reflections on Comrades, The Spirit of Resistance, Struggle and Death*

by Jaan Laaman - 4sm [For Struggle Magazine] editor
January 27, 2015

      2015 is almost a month old and my overall outlook has been 
optimistic and energized.  With a months long new movement in the 
streets, fighting against government repression and police killings of 
unarmed men, boys and women too, mostly of color, for me it has been a 
time of gathering information and supporting and contributing to this 
new movement.
      It is within this context, that I just received somber and hard 
information about two comrades of mine, two very good human beings, 
steadfast brothers and courageous fighters in the Freedom Struggle.  I 
am talking about two friends of mine, both long held political prisoners 
-- Phil Africa and Bill Dunne.
      William Phillips Africa died on January 10, 2015, in the 
Pennsylvania state prison system, at SCI Dallas.
      Phil Africa was one of the Move 9, all of whom have been in 
captivity since August 8, 1978.  On that day, the Philadelphia police 
and other government forces launched an unprovoked assault on the Move 
home.  The Move 9 are completely innocent women and men who were thrown 
into prison for 30 to 100 year sentences.  They are all still in prison, 
except for Merle Africa who died in 1998, and now Phil.
      Phil Africa never stopped struggling for justice and freedom, not 
only for the Move Family and his co-defendants, but for poor and 
oppressed people of all colors, across this country  and around the 
world.  Phil was a good man, intelligent and brave, thoughtful and 
caring.  He could make you laugh and he was self disciplined and worked 
to stay in shape.  He was a father figure, as well as a boxing teacher 
and sports coach to many younger men.
      Phil's death in the Pennsylvania state correctional institution at 
Dallas, came under very questionable and suspicious circumstances.  See 
a more detailed posting on Phil's death at www.4strugglemag.org.
      My political prisoner brother and friend, Phil Africa, died in 
that Pennsylvania prison cell in his 37th year of captivity.  Phil's 
hardships and deprivations are now over.  Phil was never a man who 
bemoaned the harsh, inhumane and injust realities he and other prisoners 
were forced to endure.  Dying in prison is always a sad reality.  Phil's 
hardships are now over and that is a good thing, even while we mourn his 
passing.  We should also question the circumstances surrounding his 
death and demand answers from Pennsylvania prison officials.
      Continuing in this journey of hard news and harsh realities, let 
me share some information on another friend and fellow political 
prisoner, Bill Dunne.  Bill is alive and I'm pretty sure in decent 
health.  Like other political prisoners, Bill stays fit, in fighting 
shape, because it doesn't matter how old you are or how many decades you 
have been imprisoned, the government and its agents never cease in their 
efforts to defeat you, break you and stop you in your/our struggle for 
justice, freedom and a revolutionary future of peace, equality and 
protection of our planet.  So Bill, like all political prisoners, try's 
to keep the Spirit of Resistance firm and his body and mind fit.
      Bill has been in captivity since 1979, that is for 36 years.  He 
has been held in maximum security penitentiaries and special lock-down 
control units for all these years.  In 2000, when he already had spent 
21 years in prison, the United States parole board gave Bill a 15 year 
hit!  That is, he was ordered to spend 15 more years in prison.  Two 
months ago, Bill again appeared before the parole board and in a vicious 
act of inhumanity and hatred for the Freedom Struggle and Freedom 
Fighters, the U.S. parole board hit Bill with another 15 year set off! 
  He is not eligible to see the parole board again until 2029.  See 
www.4strugglemag.org, for a more detailed report on Bill Dunne's parole 
      The ugly reality is that there are political prisoners, courageous 
and noble leaders like Sundiata Acoli and Leonard Peltier, who have been 
locked up even longer; Sundiata has been in captivity for 43 years, 
Leonard for 39 years, and there are others like them.
      The parole board's primary questions, as well as its 
'justifications' for ordering Bill to, quite likely, spend the rest of 
his life in prison, was his "continuing association and affiliation with 
anarchist organizations", which was, "evidence you still harbor 
anti-authoritarian views..."
      The U.S. government, through its parole board, made very clear 
that Bill's real offense, like the so called crimes of all U.S. held 
political prisoners, was his political beliefs and associations.  The 
activities Bill and other political prisoners may have taken in support 
of liberation and justice based political views is not the main "crime" 
in the eyes of the United States government.  The ultimate "crime" is 
Freedom and Justice based revolutionary thinking and beliefs. 
  Anarchist; socialist; communist, National Liberation for Puerto Rico, 
the Black Nation in the usa, the Native/Indigenous Nations; the Green 
ecological ideology of protecting our Earth and all its life against 
imperialist plunder, these are the "crimes" of political prisoners.
      I am certain Bill Dunne will challenge and litigate this 
unprecedented second 15 year hit.  I am also sure Bill will continue to 
work with the ABC collectives and other outside groups the parole board 
listed; the groups they so hated and feared.
      I wanted to express my complete solidarity and support for Bill in 
his harsh ongoing struggle for justice, life and freedom.  And I wanted 
to convey my heartfelt solidarity and revolutionary love to all the Move 
Family and Phil Africa's closest people.  We will always remember and be 
inspired by Phil Africa.
      Sharing this information and reflecting on the types of realities 
that all political prisoners confront and have to deal with, I hope, 
gives you people outside, a little more understanding of revolutionary 
struggle and life behind prison walls.  I do have some  concern that 
perhaps some of you activists and people of conscience, may be overly 
intimidated by these realities of prison life.  Engaging in the Freedom 
Struggle always has the potential of confrontation with the state and 
its abusive police power.  This can include being thrown into prison. 
  People should be clear about this.  You should also be clear though, 
that even in extreme examples, like the heroic lives and struggle of 
Phil Africa and Bill Dunne, imprisoned Freedom Fighters can and do 
maintain their principles, their dignity and their will and ability to 
struggle.  The more that people and the media, including the 
non-corporate media, are aware of and supportative of political 
prisoners and prison struggle generally, the more protection this 
provides us.
In the Spirit of Phil Africa --
let us remember,
Freedom Is A Constant Struggle!

Jaan Laaman
# 10372-016
USP Tucson

P.O. Box 24550
Tucson, AZ 85734

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org

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