Honoring Marilyn Buck

Kwame Ture

[This poem is read on the CD by Kwame Ture. MP3 of this poem]

We are more than honored to be invited to write an introduction to the poems of Marilyn Buck. Marilyn Buck and I have been penpals for some years now, and I have been able to, through these years, receive from her untold inspiration.

Political prisoners are certainly nothing new. We are sure probably once society broke out of communalism, political prisoners appeared everywhere. Of course, in those olden times, one may not be put into prison, sent into exile, etc., etc. Killed, certainly. Political prisoners are an important part of any struggle. Perhaps for us today the struggle in Ireland demonstrates this best where political prisoners have a lot of political power within the liberation struggle. This political power is merited. Many people seem to think than when one is a political prisoner, that one somehow is a passive instrument in the struggle. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Political prisoners, by merely sitting in prison, undermine the faith that the people have in the system of justice. The more this is done, the more the people become prepared for alternative systems, thus for revolution. Therefore, political prisoners serve revolution just by sitting in prison. Political prisoners also bring to the front the necessity for us to understand the eternity [of] struggle. Certainly for them the struggle becomes clear, and they must make it a protracted struggle, once certainly, once one is arrested and once one is put in jail. Therefore, political prisoners serve another end by, number one, showing us the eternity of struggle.

Of course, the reactionaries want their death and they want to keep political prisoners in prison. But by doing so, they make those revolutionaries outside of prison work harder, as we must. Our comrades are, after all, in prison. How could we be out here not working twice as hard since they are in prison. Therefore again, just by being in prison they increase revolutionary production by revolutionaries outside of prison.

Political prisoners, of course, have been internationalizing their struggle. Thus we can see them talk about struggles occurring all over the world. The support of Marilyn Buck for the Black Liberation Army is well known and documented everywhere. But as we go through her book, we see that her international fight has gone great beyond the borders, from Azania to Salvador, from Palestine to Vietnam. We also see here in her poetry a replacement of the usual woman in poetry, the beauty queen, etc., etc., and now the working women come to the forefront. In all of her poems, it is the women who work as the oppressed women that we see coming to replace the beauty queens. Here are the real beauty queens -- the ones who will work and struggle for the liberation of humanity.

Some people think that political prisoners somehow lose their humanity or lose their sense of love when in prison. Nothing is further from the truth. As a matter of fact, we find love undaunted, defiant, and resistant in the poems of Marilyn Buck. Her metaphors are clear, and certainly it is only someone who has broken out of prison that can write "Dance between raindrops . . . in rainbow crystalled sound." As a matter of fact, we can even receive kisses on the thighs.

Marilyn Buck demonstrates to us the essence of humanity. Imprisoned, tortured, trying their best to isolate her, she continues undaunted. Her principles remain uncompromised. Her love of the people`s struggle continues to rise as we see it spreading its wings, going all over the world, picking up the struggle of Vietnamese women who cannot even go to basketball games.

We thank Marilyn Buck. We thank her for living life to its fullest. For showing us that they can never imprison, never imprison our souls, they can never imprison our ideals, they can never imprison our principles, and they can never imprison our energies which will be directed, even in prison, against the enemy.

We thank Marilyn Buck, and we thank all those political prisoners who have retained dignity and fidelity to revolution in the dungeons. When they do this, they have untold influence over revolutionaries, and they give infinite inspiration to the unconscious. We wish to thank Marilyn Buck. We wish to thank all the political prisoners for all the untold sacrifices that they`ve undergone for us. We assure them their sacrifice is not in vain. We will arrive at the truly beautiful that they dream of, that they write of, that they suffer for, and that they sacrifice for.

Thank you very much.
Ready for Revolution,
Kwame Toure

                                                                                                                                  February 26, 1998


text © the authors
compilation © The Freedom Archives