Russell Maroon Shoatz
Not Only a Man, but a Maroon
By Kilaika Anayejali kwa Baruti
Russell Maroon Shoatz is not only a man, but a Maroon. He is one of the few men amongst us on the planet earth who gives a damn about Afrikan people and our liberation with 100% of his being. This is the very essence of why we write and talk about him. His name must remain on our tongues. Most importantly, we do so because we want him to be free, which would be just and correct. Russell Maroon Shoatz, our Comrade, is a prisoner of war in the United States of America. Russell Maroon Shoatz was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 23, 1943. Shoatz, in the city of his birth, grew to become a community activist. He became a young man always conscious of his conditions; the conditions of the exploited and the oppressed. He was well aware of the horrors he seen most Afrikan people go through in the United States. He knew where such horrors stemmed from. He knew without a doubt why they existed and this forever became his concern. As part of his efforts to eradicate these conditions and create a reality where African people would not be succumbed to terrorism, but rather live a life of fruitfulness and some sense of harmony, he became one of the founding members of the Black Unity Council. He was most known for his work as a member of the Black Liberation Army. Comrade Shoatz, who is now the age of seventy years old, is also known as the Implacable, meaning he could not be appeased, steadfast, uncompromising, ungovernable, determined, and persistent. He is a very persistent man. Our dear comrade was convicted of murder/murder of a police officer in Pennsylvania and sentenced to life in prison. During this time, our African Liberators in large numbers were at war with the United States government above and underground. As a result of the ongoing battle, Russell is now a Prisoner of war. Russell mentions in his writings that the FBI boldly said to the world that the Black Panther Party was the biggest threat to America. We were under attack and it was publically a most vicious one. Many of our comrades along with Russell have sacrificed their lives for ours. Many of them like Russell are still being held as prisoners of war. And there is a very clear distinction between a prisoner and a prisoner of war or as we call a political prisoner, especially a New Afrikan Political Prisoner. Anyone worth remembering is worth not forgetting and we especially cannot forget those who have made contributions to our liberation. To forget them would be like committing outright suicide. I say this for many reasons, but I will only mention one: Our enemies win. How? It is when we no longer fight for the nation of Africa/African people. Russell has been held for over thirty years for his contributions towards the struggle for African Liberation in America. Determined not to be slave, he attempted escapes from maximum security prisons and was successful at his attempts at freedom; this is how he is able to assume the name Maroon. However, those attempts did not secure his freedom. Russell was assumed a threat not only for past escape attempts, but because at the heart of the matter he was and is an African Revolutionary. He had been placed in solitary confinement for over a course of 22 years. Of all those years in this place, which is a 7x12 foot cell for 23-24 hours a day there were never any rewards of ever being admitted to join general population. It was only after years of constant struggle against that very injustice that Russell Maroon Shoatz was released from solitary confinement and moved to general population on February 20, 2014. He fought, fought, and fought. The fact that he was Implacable as an Organizer was more reason to keep him there. To keep him isolated from the people is very necessary on their part. It would not be wise for the pigs to allow revolutionaries to mix and mingle to be in cahoots with those who could possibly have the ability to think and become in mind, in spirit, in heart, and of course in action like Russell, like Mumia, like Khalid, like Marcus Garvey, like Harriet Tubman, like a person who is willing to give all they have towards their development so they can be the most profound human being they can to serve Africa and her people. No! We can’t possibly have that can we? Of course not. So, isolation is the method to stop or suppress that possibility. Not only does it serve that interest but also, it is used as an instrument to break the psyche/mental state to create the weakest amongst us. Make the strong weak as possible. You can do one better by having them just die out, non-existence, no worries, and no problems out of the biggest threats to America! Russell was put in solitary because of his work, also with the Association of Lifers. The organization is committed to abolishing life without parole-sentences. The only time Comrade Russell was not in solitary was over a period of seventeen months, not consecutive. In spite of good behavior or otherwise, they made the cell of solitary confinement Russell’s home. They were so determined. However, this was not Russell’s plan. At 70 years old, as of August 23, 2013 a day before my birthday, Russell never stops fighting in spite of his age. In May of 2013, he filed a lawsuit for cruel and unusual punishment and the fact that he was also deprived of his due process rights. This lawsuit, in spite of the defense arguing the fact that Russell would not be a good fit in General population because of his influence on others or his predictions of Russell’s behavior, Russell won the case and was admitted back to general population. This is a victory for Russell, for the people. This is the same scenario with Mumia. It has proven we must continue to wage war with the state to ensure our people are free in every aspect that freedom is denied, especially our brothers and sisters that walk with a Revolutionary African personality. Russell, I keep reminding you, has never stopped working for the people. You should make it a point if you have not already, to check out some of his writings. It is nothing short of the work that is necessary. It is funny, figuratively speaking; those of us locked up tend to do 5, 10, 15, and even 20 times more in putting forth effort and work than some of us out here. It is clear that they have the time, this could be why, but considering the conditions there is no excuse. We should look towards them for they are great examples of fearlessness and extreme revolutionary tendencies. We all should adopt the very characteristics that Russell has in working for the people adopt the notion of not only being a man or woman, but a Maroon! Make it a duty of yours to write our dear Comrade Russell and other political prisoners. Let me tell you, it does them good to know that you are there and you will not forget them as our enemies would like for you to do. You can write Russell at: Russell Shoats #AF-3855 SCI-Graterford P.O. Box 246 Route 29 Graterford, PA 19426 – 0246!
Kilaika Anayejali Kwa Baruti