This Statement was written by the People of Color Commission of the Socialist Party USA 2/22/2017
The People of Color Commission of the Socialist Party USA believes that now is the time to be very clear and intentional about our stance on mass incarceration, detentions and deportations in this country. We know that the commodification of human beings by the prison-industrial complex is one of the ways capitalism manifests in state violence. As people who are dedicated to ending all forms of state violence, the People of Color Commission stands in support of the work of all of the coalitions around the country who are engaging in the necessary work of prison abolition and agitating for the removal of the slavery clause in the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution. We understand that removing this clause is the only way to truly outlaw the enslavement of people, who are disproportionately poor people of color, in this country. Our Commission supports the actions planned across the nation for Black August, and we add our voices to the call to destroy the prison-industrial complex in the United States and to end US imperialism outside of our borders. Black August was begun to honor the lives and sacrifices of the San Quentin Six: George Jackson, Jonathan Jackson, Khatari Gaulden, William Christmas, James McClain, and Ruchell Magee, the only member of the San Quentin Six to survive the San Quentin Uprising in August of 1971. After the rebellion, brothers held in lockdown honored the fallen comrades. These brothers wore black armbands, studied revolutionary works, fasted, and abstained from radio, television, alcohol, drugs and the prison canteen for the month of August. They focused on physical training, political education, self-sacrifice, and other forms of resistance. Today, Black August is a time for Black people to reflect on the history of resistance throughout the African Diaspora, and to engage in moving the work forward. It is a remembrance of freedom fighters and is worthwhile for anyone engaged in the work of Black liberation to study. For Black August 2017, coalitions around the United States will be engaging in various forms of political education and actions designed to mobilize around the removal of the slavery clause from the Thirteenth Amendment, and will be intensifying the demand for prison abolition in this country. The People of Color Commission is representative of the people most harmed by the prison-industrial complex in all of its functions.
The People of Color Commission of the Socialist Party USA stands in support of the work that is being planned and done to end the mass incarceration, detention and deportation of our people. We call on socialists in our Party and elsewhere to learn about Black August and to get involved with the activities planned for August 2017 wherever and however possible. This is a historic opportunity to unite with the coalitions involved in the New Abolitionist Movement, and the People of Color Commission believes that this work is in keeping with our Party’s principles.
If comrades wish to have additional information about the planned marches and about Black August, they can follow Millions for Prisoners Facebook page, Jail House Lawyers Speak, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Critical Resistance’s information on Black August, and http://www.iamweubuntu.com.
Forward in struggle,
The People of Color Commission of the Socialist Party USA