Recently I went to an event honoring Marilyn Buck, 60’s freedom fighter. It was a moving tribute to a womyn who sacrificed her life for people’s liberation and believed in the undying spirit of revolution. She spent much of her life in prison and believed that the cause of the political prisoner was one that was not to be left out of revolutionary struggle. Many people who I come in contact with in the left have voiced the opinion that struggling for the freedom of political prisoners isn’t of importance and for a while I agreed.
The Buck tribute brought new understanding to me. While I still believe that the freedom of political prisoners shouldn’t be the main focus of an organization, I do believe that it must be an integral part of the education and rhetoric. We stand on the shoulders of a generation that dared to challenge the State and the ruling class. We stand on the shoulders of a generation that reimagined what the Left was. We stand on the shoulders of a generation that was brutally punished for their bravery. They were murdered and jailed. The few that escaped the ordeal walk amongst us, often ignored, as outcast. They are lied about by our bourgeois education. They are called lunatics, fanatics, and even enemies of freedom. Their contributions are still being uncovered. Thus it is only right that we honor and remember their fight. That we celebrate their spirit through struggle and remembrance. One of the biggest blows dealt to the left and the struggle has been the erasure of these radical histories and the disconnect of the generations. In rebuilding the left and challenging the culture we must look at our revolutionary elders and remember them. We must remind ourselves that their struggle, is still our struggle.
On Nov 9th the case of Mumia Abu Jamal will be brought back to light as it is decided (again) whether or not her will be executed by the state or given life. Take time out of your day to remind yourself of who he is and his life. Remember what and who we are fighting for.