Monday, August 31, 2015

Escaping the Prism … Fade to Black: Poetry and Essays by Jalil Muntaqim

escapeprism_webJalil Muntaqim is a former member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. For over forty years, Jalil has been a political prisoner, and one of the New York Three (NY3), in retaliation for his political activism.

Escaping the Prism … Fade to Black is a collection of Jalil’s poetry and essays, written from behind the bars of Attica prison. Combining the personal and the political, these texts afford readers with a rare opportunity to get to know a man who has spent most of his life — over forty years –- behind bars for his involvement in the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Jalil’s poetry deals with a range of themes — spirituality, history, and the struggle for justice; depression, humor, and sexual desire; the pain and loneliness of imprisonment, the ongoing racist oppression of New Afrikan people in the United States, and the need to find meaning in one’s life. At the same time, his political essays show him to be as eager as ever to intervene in and grapple with the events of today, always with an eye to concretely improving the lives of the oppressed.

As Walidah Imarisha states in her introduction, “This collection is not just about rebuke, but a commitment to living fully and loving completely. To exploring all aspects of humanity, all pieces that make up liberation … Escaping the Prism defies the attempts of the state to silence political prisoners, to disconnect them from those on the ground working to create change. In the context of the international Black Lives Matter movement, this roar for justice led by Black youth, Jalil’s poetic voice, and the voices of all our political prisoners, are vitally necessary to continue the continuity of Black resistance.”

Escaping the Prism … Fade to Black also includes an extensive examination of the U.S. government’s war against the Black Liberation Army in general, and Jalil and the New York Three in particular, by renowned scholar-activist Ward Churchill. In “The Other Kind: On the Integrity, Consistency, and Humanity of Jalil Abdul Muntaqim,” Churchill traces this story from the FBI’s murderous COINTELPRO repression of the Black Panther Party, through the NEWKILL operation which led to the NY3’s incarceration, to the more recent Phoenix Taskforce which orchestrated the re-prosecution of Jalil and other veteran Black activists, in the case of the San Francisco 8.

With illustrations by revolutionary prisoner-artists Zolo Agona Azania and Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, as well as outside artist-activists Bec Young, Pete Railand, Rocky Dobey, and the We are the Crisis collective.

You can download a press sheet about Escaping the Prism here: escapeprism_press-sheet

For more information about Jalil:

To learn about other political prisoners and prisoners of war held by the United States government:

What People Are Saying

Jalil Muntaqim’s prose and poetry analyze life within “America as prison.” Decades of sacrifice and resistance allow him to critique state oppression and social acquiescence. We are reminded here of democracy’s capacity for repression and terror through police, courts, and captivity; and the mystification and near disappearance of political prisoners who resisted such as Muntaqim, who writes that his name is spoken either as taboo or in reverence. Aided by Ward Churchill’s invaluable afterword, remember the historical and ongoing wars against dissent, and the brutal punishments activists risked in order to expand freedom. In the current debates about racism, legal duplicity and lethal violence, Escaping the Prism instructs that in our love for freedom, “let the spirit guide us.”
–Joy James, Seeking the ‘Beloved Community’

When soldiers of a nation-state return home from war, they are thanked for their service. When they die in battle, they are honored posthumously. But there are no medals for an army of slaves. Escaping the Prism…Fade to Black is a stunning anthology of rare and tender love poems, unflinching struggle poems, and requiem poetry for a people whose personhood is denied. Muntaqim’s poems as well as the political vignettes and biographical sketches contained herein should be required reading for students who wonder why the world is on tilt. For forty-three years as a prisoner of war (nearly twice as long as Mandela who was released after 27 years), BLA soldier Jalil Muntaqim has nurtured us with his pedagogy and his poetry. Thank you for your service.
–Frank B. Wilderson III, author of Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

Jalil Muntaqim is known for his letters and petitions and essays. Now, for the first time, we have a collection of his poetry. The poems are analytical and tender, inspiring and angering, nostalgic and sobering. In Escaping the Prism Jalil meditates on life, love, struggle, music, and everything else that prisons contain but fail to crush.
–Dan Berger, author of Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era

Product Details

Criminal Justice/sociology




5.5 x 7.75



AK Press
674-A 23rd St.
Oakland, CA
phone:(510) 208-1700

Kersplebedeb Publishing and Distribution, CP 63560
CCCP Van Horne
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3W 3H8

Also available from
Ingram and Baker & Taylor.


on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Robert Biel’s Contribution to Anti-Colonial Marxism: Book Review — Eurocentrism in the Communist Movement

CORRECTION: The book was not republished jointly by AK Press and Kersplebedeb, but as a joint project of the Kalikot Book Series and Kersplebedeb. AK Press only distributed it.

Read the rest of this post on the original site at Robert Biel’s Contribution to Anti-Colonial Marxism: Book Review — Eurocentrism in the Communist Movement

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Class Analysis and Class Structure in Canada (Second Version)

This is a second, substantially revised version of the document we published in March 2015. It has been revised after additional internal study and discussion, and in preparation for the release of Volume #7 of Uprising.

from Pocket

Des militaires au coeur d'une communauté d'extrême droite

Des membres et ex-membres des Forces armées canadiennes sont au coeur d'une «communauté» d'extrême droite qui fait l'apologie de thèses nazies et de théories du complot, en vantant les «guerriers» et en exaltant le «combat», a appris La Presse.

from Pocket

Oath Keepers, Ferguson, and the Patriot movement’s conflicted race politics ~ threewayfight

When a group built around right-wing conspiracy theories sends heavily armed white men onto streets filled with Black Lives Matter protesters, it makes sense to be worried.

from Pocket

Saturday, August 22, 2015

With Allies Like These: Reflections on Privilege Reductionism

For free physical copies of Mortar (plus the costs of shipping), please send us a message at Common Cause is an anarchist-communist organization based in Ontario, Canada, with active branches in Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto.

from Pocket

Friday, August 21, 2015

Science Fiction's White Boys' Club Strikes Back

Science fiction often achieves the remarkable feat of being both futuristic and reactionary at the same time. The history of the genre is replete with writers who have given us glittering visions of radically different tomorrows, of robots and androids, aliens and galactic empires.

from Pocket

Think the Left Won the Culture War? Think Again

Since at least the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage across the United States, it’s been trendy to say that the culture war is over.

from Pocket

Another Word for White Ally is Coward

Fear. Fear is real. There are times when fear should be listened to. Like when shots ring out and fear tells you to duck and run. There are other times when fear needs to be pushed through. We leave it up to each person to decide when to push and when to run.

from Pocket

How Snobbery Helped Take The Spice Out Of European Cooking

My father usually starts off his curries by roasting a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, anise, cumin and bay leaves. Then he incorporates the onions, garlic and ginger — and then tomatoes and chilies and a touch of cream.

from Pocket

The war on “unlikeable women”: Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian and the brazen misogyny we choose to ignore

Bill Cosby is accused of raping 50 women, and his Q score is still better than Kardashian's. How is that possible? VIDEO This article originally appeared on The Daily Dot.

from Pocket

How False Narratives of Margaret Sanger Are Being Used to Shame Black Women

In the wake of the attacks by the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood’s origins and its founder, Margaret Sanger, have once again become the center of conversations regarding Black women and abortion.

from Pocket

Monday, August 17, 2015

San Quentin Six on the assassination of Hugo Pinell

San Quentin 6 defendants Fleeta Drumgo, Hugo Pinell, and David Johnson stage an impromptu sit-in at San Quentin in 1975 when trial jurors toured the prison

San Quentin 6 defendants Fleeta Drumgo, Hugo Pinell, and David Johnson stage an impromptu sit-in at San Quentin in 1975 when trial jurors toured the prison

Hugo Pinell was assassinated at new Folsom State Prison. this is another example of the racism people of color inside those prisons are confronted with on a daily basis. like Comrade George, Hugo has been in the cross hairs of the system for years. His assassination exemplify how racist working in conjunction with prison authorities commit murderous acts like this. We saw it on the yard at Soledad in 1970 and we see it again on the yard at Folsom in 2015.

His life was a living hell. We witness the brutality inflicted on him by prison guards as they made every effort to break him, he endured more than fifty years of sensory deprivation, for decades he was denied being able to touch his family or another human being, as well as attempts on his life. This is cruel and unusual punishment! Hugo is not the monster that is being portrayed in social media / news media. The CDC is the real monster.
During the six trial we really got to know Hugo. He was as we all were under a lot of stress. His stress was heavier than mines because he had the additional load of being beaten on regular occasions. We saw the strength of his of his spirit, and through it all he manage to smile.
We mourn the loss of our comrade brother, yogi. We have been hit with a crushing blow that will take some time to recover from. We must expose those who under the cover of law orchestrated and allowed this murderous act to take place. The prisoners who did it acted as agents of the state. It comes at a time when prisoners are collectively trying to end decades of internal strife. Those who took his life have done a disservice to our movement, their actions served the cause of the same oppressor we fought against! No longer do you have to endure the hatred of people who didn’t even know you and never dared to love you. You have represented George & Che well, and we salute you!

David General Giap Johnson
Luis Bato Talamantez
Willie Sundiata Tate

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

In Her Own Words: The Political Beliefs of the Protester Who Interrupted Bernie Sanders

By / The roar of internet response to what happened in Seattle on Saturday surprised even one of the activists behind the action. But in retrospect, it makes some sense.

from Pocket

Eurocentrism and the Communist Movement

Originally published in 1985 as a "movement" mimeograph in the anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist circles in the UK, Robert Biel's [ECM] is a subterranean classic.

from Pocket

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Marx & Philosophy Review of Books reviews Eurocentrism and the Communist Movement (JMP)

Biel provides convincing arguments as to how the failure of Marxist movements to divest themselves of a Eurocentric worldview is intimately connected to opportunism and mechanical materialism. The opportunist position of reform over revolution, or the peaceful existence with capitalism, was historically premised on the denial of struggles at the global peripheries, and collaboration with colonialism; the theory of productive forces was premised on a development discourse where colonial development should be supported so as to create a third world proletariat and bourgeoisie. This Eurocentric blockage would carry over into other Marxist tendencies, even ones that were not immediately revisionist or economistic. For example, in the First Congress of the Third International, Trotsky could make the Eurocentric argument that the ‘smaller peoples’ in Africa and Asia would be freed, not by their own agency, but by a proletarian revolution in Europe that would ‘free the productive forces of all countries from the tentacles of the national states.’ (115) Of course, Biel notes that there was also a creative development of theory under Lenin that challenged these Eurocentric categories: hence, in the Second Congress of the Third International, the position expressed by Trotsky (and others) above was replaced, through debates on the national question, by the position (that Lenin had held earlier) that resistance movements at ‘the weakest links’ possessed the most revolutionary potential.

But alongside every creative development of theory emerging from revolutionary struggle that challenged the Eurocentric aspects of Marxism, there has also been, despite important successes, an inability to go far enough. Biel traces this problem from the time of Marx and Engels right up to the Chinese-inspired New Communist Movement (the context in which the original version of this book was written) that was not only at risk of ‘dogmatism’ – because ‘with any movement to uphold orthodoxy, you risk becoming conservative and scared of new ideas’ (6) – but failed to truly grasp ‘that aspect of the corrupting influence of imperialism [Eurocentrism] which ought to have been the target of struggle … [that] will sneak into the anti-revisionist movement and grab it from within.’ (6)

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hugo Yogi Pinell, Rest in Power

Hugo Yogi Pinell

Hugo Yogi Pinell

(from freedom archives)

We are saddened by the news of Hugo Pinell’s death. Hugo Pinell always expressed a strong spirit of resistance. He worked tirelessly as an educator and activist to build racial solidarity inside of California’s prison system.

Incarcerated in 1965, like so many others, Hugo became politicized inside the California prison system.

In addition to exploring his Nicaraguan heritage, Hugo was influenced by civil rights activists and thinkers such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King as well as his comrades inside including George Jackson. His leadership in combating the virulent racism of the prison guards and officials made him a prime target for retribution and Hugo soon found himself confined in the San Quentin Adjustment Center.

While at San Quentin, Hugo and five other politically conscious prisoners were charged with participating in an August 21, 1971 rebellion and alleged escape attempt, which resulted in the assassination of George Jackson by prison guards. Hugo Pinell, Willie Tate, Johnny Larry Spain, David Johnson, Fleeta Drumgo and Luis Talamantez became known as the San Quentin Six. Their subsequent 16-month trial was the longest in the state’s history at the time. The San Quentin Six became a global symbol of unyielding resistance against the prison system and its violent, racist design.

As the California Prisons began to lock people up in long-term isolation and control unit facilities, Hugo was placed inside of the SHU (Secure Housing Unit) in prisons including Tehachapi, Corcoran and Pelican Bay. There, despite being locked in a cell for 23 hours a day, he continued to work for racial unity and an end to the torturous conditions and racially and politically motivated placement of people into the SHU. This work included his participation in the California Prison Hunger Strikes as well as supporting the Agreement to End Racial Hostilities in 2011.

At the time of his death, Hugo had been locked behind bars for 50 years yet his spirit was unbroken.

Freedom Archives is currently working on an audio piece based on one of the last recordings done with Hugo. We will include materials from the San Quentin 3 – David Johnson, Luis Talamantez and Sundiata Tate.

We would like to share this brief poem by Luis ‘Bato’ Talamantez:Hasta Siempre Hugo

Solidarity forever

And we are saddened

Solidarity left

You when (it) should have

Counted for something and

What your long imprisoned

Life stood for

Now all your struggles

To be free have failed

And only death a

Inglorious and violent

Death has

Claimed you

At the hands of the

Cruel prison system


La Luta Continua


-Bato and the San Quentin 3

and a short poem written by Hugo Pinell from a publication issued in 1995.No


How long it takes,

Real Changes will come,

And the greatest personal reward

Lies in our involvement and contributions,

Even if it may appear that nothing significant

Or of impact really happened

During our times,

But it did,


Every sincere effort

Is as special as every human life

-Hugo Pinell (1995)

Here is a link to the Freedom Archives San Quentin 6 collection (note there are 19 non-digitized items as well as those that are already digitized)

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Peter Collins, Rest In Power


Peter Collins

Peter Collins

Peter Collins, our friend, brother and comrade in struggle passed away August 13, 2015 at 2am. He will always be remembered for his endless fight for justice, his sense of humour, his kind heart and his unwavering integrity. His contributions to changing the world we live in will continue to live on through his art, cartoons, audio recordings, short films and his writing. His spirit will live on through our hearts and minds as he deeply touched so many of us.

Over the coming months there will be memorial services held in Ottawa, Kingston, Montreal and Toronto.

Peter Collins

Peter Collins

There is so much to say about the lack of proper care that he received but we will write more about that later.

on the main Kersplebedeb website: