#5 “Natural History of Morals”
Wednesday, July 31st 2013, 7PM
1302 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221
#4 “Epigrams and Interludes”
Wednesday, July 17th 2013, 7PM
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(picnic table near Driggs Avenue & Russell Street)
#3 “What is Religious”
Wednesday, July 10th 2013, 7PM
206 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222
(in case of nice weather, we will move to nearby McGolrick Park)
#2 “The Free Spirit”
Wednesday, July 3rd 2013, 7PM
entrance at North 12th Street & Driggs Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
#1 “On the Prejudices of Philosophers”
Wednesday, June 19th 2013, 7PM
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(entrance at 9th Street & Prospect Park West)
Our friend and comrade Jerry Koch has been in prison since Tuesday May 21st, as part of an indefinite detention for refusing to cooperate with a federal grand jury. It’s important to remind ourselves and others of this as often as possible, and that its seriousness continue to influence our lives and organizing.
Prior to going into prison, Jerry picked out three books that are important to him, which he hopes people might read and enjoy while he is incarcerated. They are Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future (1886); a collection of Franz Kafka’s short stories (written 1904-1924); and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (1924). These books are for sale as a fundraiser through Jerry’s support committee site (links below). They are encouraging people to read these books and write Jerry to tell him what you think of them.
With this in mind, we will gather tomorrow at 7pm at Prospect Park to discuss the first part of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, “On the Prejudices of Philosophers”, which is about 23 pages. We invite any and all to join us to discuss Jerry’s and our situation, Nietzsche, and whatever else. We will give ourselves some time Wednesday to write notes to Jerry, to share some thoughts with him, and ask him what the fuck is up with Nietzsche, anyway? Jerry’s preferred Walter Kauffman translation is available for download here: http://en.bookfi.org/book/1062499 Please bring some food and drink to share, fruits, vegetables, breads and cheeses, wines and juices, chocolates, sweets, whatever.
Similar to the books Jerry picked, he also selected a number of films to be watched and screened while he’s in prison, and again, to then write him about (receiving letters is important to Jerry and all prisoners, to remind them that we’re thinking of them, that we miss them, that we hate the world that’s done this to them, and that we are actively trying to destroy it). The films Jerry picked are The Fall (Peter Whitehead, 1969); The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970); Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988); King of New York (Abel Ferrara, 1990); La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995); L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson, 1997); Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Guy Ritchie, 1998); Brick (Rian Johnson, 2005); The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006); Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Tom Tykwer, 2006); The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, 2006); and Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes, 2011). If you organize any public screenings or discussions of any these films or books, let us know!
Last Wednesday some of us went up to the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community & Student Center to share some information about Jerry, and connect with comrades in the Hands Off Assata Committee. Since 1984, Assata Shakur has been living in exile in Cuba, where she was granted political asylum, following her November 1979 escape from New Jersey’s Clinton Correctional Facility for Women. In 2005 Shakur was classified in the United States as a domestic terrorist, and the FBI put a $1 million bounty was put on her head. On May 2nd of this year, that number was increased to $2 million when the New Jersey State Police pledged an additional million, and she was added to the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists, the first woman to be put on the list.
Assata (1947-) is a revolutionary from right here in New York City, where she was a member of the Black Panther Party’s Harlem branch, and was later a part of the Black Liberation Army. As we deal with the contemporary political repression faced by Jerry, Jeremy Hammond (also held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center), and other comrades, we think it is important learn more about, and support, longer-term political prisoners, and those who remain in exile and underground. To continue a bit of the history we started to write about last week:
Silvia Baraldini (1947-) was a member of the Committee to Free the Panther 21. She was later arrested in 1983, in part for her role in Assata’s November 1979 escape from prison, as well as herself receiving a three year sentence for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigating the May 19th Communist Organization, and other revolutionary groups. She was locked-up until 1999, when she was transferred to her native Italy, where she was later freed, and where she remains today.
Sundiata Acoli (1937-) was arrested along with Assata for the May 1973 incident that left their friend Zayd Shakur and a New Jersey State Trooper dead. Acoli was also a member of the Harlem Black Panther Party, and as part of the New York Panther 21 was arrested for conspiracy in April 1969, and held for two years before being acquitted in 1971. Following his release following that trial, but facing continued government repression, he went underground and joined the Black Liberation Army. He has been locked up since that 1973 arrest, and is now held at Maryland’s Federal Correctional Institute, Cumberland.
Kamau Sadiki (1952-) is also a revolutionary from here in New York, a former member of the Black Panther Party’s Jamaica, Queens branch, and later part of the Black Liberation Army. While on trial with Assata in December 1973 for a September 1972 bank robbery in the Bronx (for which they were both acquitted), they were placed in a holding cell for continually disrupting the court proceedings, and while there conceived a daughter, Kakuya, born while Assata was being held at Rikers Island. Sadiki was later arrested in Brooklyn in 2002 for the November 1971 murder of an Atlanta police officer. He is currently in Georgia’s Augusta State Medical Prison.
Sekou Odinga (1944-) is another revolutionary from New York City, a former member of Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity, and was later section leader of the Black Panther Party in the Bronx, which shared an office with the Harlem branch. He was wanted as one of the New York Panther 21, but successfully fled the country in 1970 to join Eldridge Cleaver (1935-1998) in exile in Algeria, in the hopes of forming an international section of the Black Panther Party. He would return to the United States, underground, and join the Black Liberation Army. He was arrested in 1981, and charged with helping Assata escape from prison in November 1979. He is currently held at New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility.
Mutulu Shakur (1950-) was a member of the Revolutionary Action Movement, and later the Black Liberation Army. He was arrested in 1986, in part for his role in assisting Assata’s escape from prison. Mutulu is the stepfather of rapper Tupac Shakur (1971-1996). He is currently held in California’s United States Penitentiary – Victorville.
Marilyn Buck (1947-2010), a former member of Students for a Democratic Society and later Third World Newsreel, was a political prisoner from 1985-2010, and was also convicted for assisting in Assata’s escape from prison. She was released from prison in 2010 due to illness, and died at home in Brooklyn on August 3rd, 2010.
Assata Shakur: http://www.assatashakur.org/
Assata Teach-in: http://assatateachin.com/
Sundiata Acoli: http://www.sundiataacoli.org/
Free Kamau: http://freekamau.com/
Sekou Odinga: http://www.sekouodinga.com/
Mutulu Shakur: http://mutulushakur.com/
Marilyn Buck: http://www.marilynbuck.com/
Our comrades Combustion Books have also recently launched a book club for anarchist prisoners and their supporters, Inside/Out. Their June 2013 selection is Paulo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (2009). From Combustion:
We are pleased to announce our newest anarchist prisoner support program, inside/out. Every month, a collective member of Combustion Books will choose a different radical fiction book (from any publisher). Inside (prisoner) book club members will receive a free copy of the book. Outside (supporting) book club members can get the book any way they would like. We encourage people to buy the book from us or to donate $3-5 to us to alleviate the costs of sending free books to prisoners.
Supporting book club members can email us their letters and responses to the book, which we will print and pass along to all the prisoner book club members. Prisoner book club members can send us letters, which we will scan and pass along to all supporting book club members. Responses are due the first of the next month.
We are running this project for two reasons. First, we simply want to give books to prisoners. Second, we hope to give those who would support anarchist prisoners a point of common interest. One of the larger hurdles that would-be supporters face is an uncertainty as to what to discuss with strangers in prison; we aim to to give them something to correspond about.