Holiday greetings to our readers and all those held behind prison bars! We greet you as fellow workers, members of the only class capable of putting an end to the exploitation and oppression inherent in the capitalist system. All working-class fighters have to assume they will end up in the defendant’s chair at some point during their struggles.
When Malcolm X, who spent 6 1/2 years in jail in his youth, was asked if he was trying to wake up Blacks to their exploitation, he said no, to “their humanity, to their own worth and to their heritage.”
Eugene V. Debs, rail union leader and lifelong fighter for the working class, ran for president from prison as the Socialist Party candidate in 1920. He was jailed for speaking out against the U.S. capitalist rulers’ war drive during the first imperialist world conflict over markets and territory.
“The jailers want to destroy you. They want to break your physical, moral, and mental integrity,” wrote René González, one of five Cuban revolutionaries who spent over a decade in U.S. prisons on frame-up charges. A mighty international movement assured all five are now back in Cuba continuing to advance the socialist revolution there.
The Militant provides working people — no matter what side of the prison walls we are on, no matter the sex, or color of our skin — the news and political perspective we need to advance the line of march of the working class, to be the makers of history.
Join in spreading the word about the Militant and books by leaders of the Socialist Workers Party and other revolutionary leaders published by Pathfinder Press!
Over the last year we have seen an increase in strikes and other struggles by workers coming together to resist boss and government attacks amid the deepening worldwide capitalist economic and social crisis. This bodes well for building a more powerful working-class movement.
Despite a decline in the numbers during the pandemic in 2020, today there are still more than 1.7 million people in U.S. prisons and jails. This is the highest in the world, perhaps with the exception of China, where accurate figures are hard to verify. African Americans disproportionately find themselves in the clutches of the capitalist “justice” system.
Some 94% of those serving sentences were pressured into taking plea bargains by prosecutors threatening even stiffer sentences. We support the constitutional right to due process, to a jury of your peers, to be considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for anyone and everyone charged with a crime.
The Militant calls for an end to the death penalty and solitary confinement. Those brutal, cruel and inhuman punishments are used not just to send a message to those in prison, but to the entire working class: Stay in your place! This is what is in store for you if you dare to challenge the capitalist class!
We call for freedom for political and class-war prisoners, including Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist framed on murder charges and imprisoned for more than four decades; Ed Poindexter, a former Black Panther, framed up in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1970 and still imprisoned; and Mumia Abu-Jamal, railroaded into jail in Pennsylvania in 1982.
We join the call to free the nearly 8,000 people imprisoned in Myanmar for opposing the military junta that seized power Feb. 1 and the over 900 political prisoners in Belarus who denounced the rigged 2020 elections there.