By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Jul 5, 2007 10:38 PM
Whenever Assata Shakur is mentioned in the capitalist media, sensational and deceptive words are used to describe her. But to workers and oppressed people of the world, she is known as “fighter,” “liberator” and “hero.”
This year, events will be held in four cities, and possibly many more, to commemorate the 60th birthday of one of the world’s strongest fighters for truth, justice, Black liberation and socialism. July 16 will be the day when the supporters of this revolutionary will show the world that they stand with her against those who seek to lock her away once again.
As a young Black woman attending City College in New York City, Assata Shakur joined the Black Panther Party. Eventually, as the Black Panther Party was broken up by the harsh tactics of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program, she joined the Black Liberation Army. The BLA was committed to armed struggle against the capitalist class, in defense of the Black nation and its right to be free.
Assata Shakur was accused of killing two police officers. Supporters have outlined how she received a blatantly unfair trial. The defense was not permitted to question perspective jurors. When it became clear that expert medical testimony was proving that she could not have pulled the trigger to kill the officer after she herself was shot, the funds were cut off for medical expert witnesses.
“Witnesses” presented by the prosecution eventually recanted their testimony. In this “land of justice,” Assata Shakur was convicted. She found herself in solitary confinement at a maximum-security prison. But amazingly, she was able to escape from prison and arrive safely in Cuba, a liberated territory.
Assata Shakur now lives in Cuba, knowing full well that if she returned to the U.S. she would face a life in prison.
The rulers of the U.S. want to do whatever they can to get her back in their clutches. In the more than 20 years since her escape they have not ceased to try and recapture her. They’ve offered $1 million to whoever would return her to the U.S.
But on the island of Cuba, where workers and oppressed people have seized power, she is defended against those who would return her to a prison cell.
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