The Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee condemns the repeated attacks on Assata Shakur by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and law enforcement authorities in New Jersey. On May 2, the FBI and state of New Jersey announced the doubling of the reward for the capture of former New York City Black Panther Party member, Assata Shakur, to $ 2 million. The FBI has also added the revolutionary-in-exile to the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists.” Assata Shakur is in exile in Cuba because of a false conviction of the murder of a New Jersey State trooper on May 2nd 1973.
She is one of the many victims of the Black Liberation Movement and national liberation movements in the 1960s and 1970s who was being savagely repressed through maneuvers such as these under the FBI’s COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program). This program sought to destroy the Black Liberation Movement, the Puerto Rican independence movement and other revolutionary movements at the time through methods that ranged from blackmail to outright assassination.
As a CUNY student who attended Borough of Manhattan Community College and City College, Assata participated in the struggle to expand Black and Puerto Rican access to the CUNY system. CUNY became the gate of revolutionary struggle in which Assata would become a servant of the people. When she graduated she became a member of the Black Panther Party. She realized that as a student it was her obligation to immerse herself in the struggle for the betterment of her community.
The Black Panthers became a threat to the ruling class and the capitalist-imperialist patriarchal empire because they represented the class interests of Blacks in America. The question that must be raised is why at this moment is Assata being criminalized further by being labeled a “terrorist”?
The US imperialist empire is facing small degrees of resistance from oppressed peoples in many sections of US society. With the police killings of black people occurring every 36 hours there has been resistance. Youth in Flatbush, Brooklyn have rebelled over the execution of Kimani ‘KiKi’ Grey. Trayvon Martin’s execution triggered small forms of rebellion in New York City. Prisoners inside US jails and prisons, such as Guantanamo, have put up resistance in the form of hunger strikes, rebellions over better treatment, even organizing revolutionary groups, which show promise.
Many students in New York City and Chicago have fought against high school closures and see that the current system is not a viable option for them. Sectors of the working class in the US, which work in retail and fast food, have engaged in spontaneous workers actions. Labeling Assata a “terrorist” and upping the bounty on her is a blatant attack on revolutionaries and the oppressed, who face repression from the state.
By targeting Assasta Shakur and labeling her a terrorist, the state is trying to delegitimize these forms of struggle and use her as an example of what happens when one rebels. In the age of so-called “post-racial” US under Obama this is a method of trying to win the loyalty of oppressed-nationality people to the empire by criminalizing revolutionary resistance. RSCC stands firmly against the criminalization of Assata and all those who fight for revolutionary transformation!
Hands off Assata!
Dare to struggle, dare to win!