“Don't you know that slavery was outlawed?" "No," the guard said, "you're wrong. Slavery was outlawed with the exception of prisons. Slavery is legal in prisons." I looked it up and sure enough, she was right. The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution says: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." Well, that explained a lot of things. That explained why jails and prisons all over the country are filled to the brim with Black and Third World people, why so many Black people can't find a job on the streets and are forced to survive the best way they know how. Once you're in prison, there are plenty of jobs, and, if you don't want to work, they beat you up and throw you in a hole. If every state had to pay workers to do the jobs prisoners are forced to do, the salaries would amount to billions... Prisons are a profitable business. They are a way of legally perpetuating slavery. In every state more and more prisons are being built and even more are on the drawing board. Who are they for? They certainly aren't planning to put white people in them. Prisons are part of this government's genocidal war against Black and Third World people. ”—Assata
“Eventually, I realized that I had two choices. I could struggle for stupid stuff—for some trinkets and creature comforts—or I could make a choice to struggle for something that would make a better life for myself, my children and their children. You either work for yourself and your people or you work for your oppressor. Those are the two things that all young people in the United States have to decide, basically, and that they’re not going to participate in their own self-destruction. ”—Assata Shakur
Today Assata Shakur was added to the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list. Making her the first woman to be placed on said list. And I hope she is somewhere in Cuba laughing.
I found it odd in 2005 when the FBI added the first $1,000,000 bounty on her head arbitrarily 32 years after the incident that resulted in the death of the NJ state trooper. And it still seems odd 40 years later that they now want to add her to list of the most wanted people on the planet and add another million to sweeten the pot. Why then and why now? I’m not quite sure.
I also never quite understood why, not too long after the bounty was first placed, her name was suddenly removed (though it had been there with no issue for 17 years) from the community center of our shared alma mater.
What I do understand is how bad this lady is. How many people have you heard of that have escaped from prison and lived to tell to tale? How many people do you know that escaped and were never caught again and forced to return? How pissed off must these cops be that she has gotten over on them so badly? That she is still able to walk free in Cuba and live her life outside of a prison cell?
And a negress, no less! How did a Black woman get over on them so hardcore and for so long?! So much so that all they can do is whine and moan and put her on more “wanted” lists and offer more money for their futile efforts to put her back behind bars for a crime she didn’t commit. Despite all evidence that COINTELPRO was a racist, corrupt, manipulative program that was determined to “neutralize” the Black Panther Party (and by extension, the Black community at large), regardless of legality, we are still chasing after a woman who had the audacity to escape prison when the “legal system” was not designed to work for her.
I hope that her heart is well tonight. I hope she is calm and that this is merely a reminder of how amazing she is. These so-called law enforcers are beside themselves. They got Bin Laden, but can’t get Assata. I hope everyone reading this post, reads her autobiography (a life changing book, btw) in celebration of this day. And I hope she is smiling with the knowledge that she beat them and they can’t touch her.