The Roots of the George Jackson University
By: Eugene Jamaa Shakur
“Imprisonment is an aspect of class struggle from the
outset. It is the creation of a closed society which attempts to isolate those
individuals who disregard the structures of a hypocritical establishment, as
well as those who attempt to challenge it on a mass basis. Throughout its
history, the United States has used its prisons to suppress any organized
efforts to challenge its legitimacy - from its attempts to break up the early Working
Men’s Benevolent Association, to the banning of the Communist Party during what
I regard as the fascist takeover of this country, to the attempts to destroy
the Black Panther Party."
in my Eye pg. 106 -107}.
In the above
quote, Comrad George Jackson enlightens us to the very function of prisons. He
elucidates that prisons serve a twofold purpose. He state's: “its historical
use has been to "Isolate and suppress" and he didn't stop there. He defined what and who the "Isolation
and Suppression" would be for. He gave a description of the people, he
stated: ..." individuals who disregard the structures of a hypocritical
establishment". He went on to state: “as well as those who attempt to
challenge it on a mass basis". Then
Comrad George enlightened us to the fact that history has demonstrated to us
that the United States has used its prisons to suppress any organized efforts
to challenge its legitimacy"... Whether the challenge be revolutionary or reactionary
(criminal). So, in essence we have
Comrad George stating that there are - for the most part - only two types of
prisoners. You have the Revolutionary (I.e. to include Activists; Militants
etc, etc). And then on the opposite end, the prison consists of your Non -
Revolutionary (I.e. the Reactionary; Criminals etc, etc). One, who consciously
challenged the system (revolutionary) and the other who unconsciously bucked
the system (non - revolutionary).
For both prison loomed as an inevitable destination
(minus death). So we see a prison system filled primarily with these two types
of prisoners. From the state by state relation and connection of the prison system,
on down to the smallest living unit of a prison (the CELL), these prison
systems were fed these two types of people. Like any living system; the life
force starts at the smallest level. The CELL. Life (and death) begins and ends
at the CELLULAR level. And what is a cell? In any entity, a cell is the
"smallest living life force".
Thus, in prison the cell is the “smallest living unit of life force". So
it is, life and death begins/ ends right there in that CELL. Comrad George,
being a student understood the nature of LIFE (political, social and economic). In his last interview Comrad George stated to
Karen Wald: "Well, we're all familiar with the function of the prison as
an institution serving the needs of the totalitarian state. We've got to
destroy that function. The function has to be no longer viable, in the end.
It's one of the strongest institutions supporting the totalitarian state. We
have to destroy its effectiveness, and that's what the prison movement is all
about. What I'm saying is that they put us in concentration camps here the same
as they put people in tiger cages or “strategic hamlets" in Vietnam. The
idea is to isolate, eliminate, and liquidate the dynamic sections of the
overall movement, the protagonist of the movement. What we've got to do is
prove this won't work. We've got organize our resistance once were inside, give
them no peace, turn the prison into just another front of the struggle, tear it
down from the inside, understand"?
In this statement George pointed out how we must not let the prison
system serve its creative function. He stated its function was/is to isolate.
Which was one of the methods the state used against George himself. It's no
wonder why he entitled his book: Soledad Brother.
Sole dad was/ is the name of
the prison in which George was accused of murdering a prison guard. But there
is a deeper significance to the title. Soledad is Spanish for SOLITARY.
Solitary means alone. Solitary is the harshest form of punishment allowed by
law. Solitary confinement is when the prison ISOLATES a prisoner from his/her
fellow prisoners. And as we know, George was isolated much of his time in
prison. George reported that out of the eleven years he spent in prison, seven
and a half (7 and 1/2) were spent in Solitary confinement. So when we read the book we recognize much of
his time was spent in isolation - in a CELL. And it was in this isolated state
that George developed himself.
He turned his tiny cell into a gym; a library; a laboratory, a headquarters for a budding army. George demonstrated how we must resist and rise above our condition. He showed us how not to let the function of prison work on us. Right from his tiny, filthy cell he developed himself from a criminal into a revolutionary. Indeed the state Pen' was turned into Penn State. So we honor our fallen comrad and leader by naming this University after him; and we honor and ally ourselves with him by following up on his excellent example; by attempting to transform ourselves, and assist in transforming others from a Criminal frame of mind into an educational frame of mind and onwards into a Revolutionary Mindset. We say Long Live the Spirit of George Jackson!!! By saying this, we acknowledge that we will work this out by supporting the George Jackson University.