The Complete Communiqués of the George Jackson Brigade
1. Olympia Bombing
[June 1, 1975. Printed in Sunfighter, v.3, n.2, July-August ’75.]
“Settle your quarrels, come
together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is
already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations
more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what
must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution. Pass on the
torch. Join us, give up your life for the people.”
- George Jackson
There has been an ongoing debate
recently over national and local law enforcement policies. On the issue of the
criminal sentencing process, for example, there appears to be a conflict of
opinion between conservative law and order advocate Bayley (the recently promoted
county prosecutor) and liberal judge Horowitz. Bayley adopts a get tough attitude
toward crime, the old lock ‘em up syndrome which has proven so ineffective
in the past. Horowitz, on the other hand, says warehousing criminals is not
only ineffective, it is cruel, and suggests “treatment” of the offender.
Neither Bayley or Horowitz deals with the type of hypocrisy that allows Nixon
and gang to escape justice while the poor and confused are made example of by
Crime is not some sort of a disease that suddenly possesses an individual and causes them to act criminally, and which requires treatment in order for the offender to be rehabilitated. Nor is crime a problem resolvable by increasing the sentences of the offender. Every day prisoners are released from prison. Give them longer sentences and people would still be leaving the prisons every day; the only difference would be in the degree of anger felt by the released prisoner. The anger gets taken out on the community. The problem has not been solved, simply prolonged and aggravated, like the way Ford deals with the economy.
Crime is the natural response for those caught between poverty and the Amerikan culture of greed, aggression, sexism, and racism. The increasing level of crime is a measure of the sickness of our society; treating or punishing individuals will have little effect on the rate of crime. Sexual aggression against women, for example, has its roots in the sexist attitudes of men. Rape is the logical extension of the sickness of viewing women as objects to be used or abused like any other possession. Gary Addison Taylor says he hates women. This is not surprising as sexism is rooted in hate. The difference between Gary Addison Taylor and the average sexist male is simply a matter of degree.
What is going to stop crime is when people get together and drive our criminal ruling class and its fascist government up against the wall. Crime will be eliminated when people create a society based on human need rather than greed; a society in which our children are taught that the object in life is something other than making a buck or being sexy. The Amerikan people support the most notorious criminals in existence; U.S. imperialism. Our high standard of living comes from the outright plunder of the “free” world, especially Third World countries. We share the loot stolen from the mouths of hungry children in Africa, Korea, and even here in Amerika, and then wonder why our society is so violent. If people want a better society, they can start by becoming active feminists, anti-racists, and anti-imperialists. The ruling class is white, male and imperialist.
Notwithstanding the rhetoric of the great debaters, the state’s actual response to crime is to respond with terrorism. Just as the recapture of the Mayaguez was an international act of terrorism, so too is the shooting of unarmed blacks such as Joe Hebert. The national and state governments are so unstable that the only way in which they can maintain “order” is through the selective use of terrorism. Those who maintain rule through the use of terror are fascists. Revolutionary counter-terror is the appropriate response to fascist lawlessness.
Maintaining order is not only a problem of the urban and rural governments, it is a growing problem inside the nation’s prisons as well. In an attempt to maintain order within the nation’s prisons the government has implemented the practice of behavior modification techniques on prisoners who resist the command to be silent in the face of slavery and mind torture. The effect of behavior modification is to grant freedom to those who are dishonest and deceitful enough to mouth the master’s line, and to punish with long term confinement those who are politically or legally active in trying to create a better society.
The “treatment concept” is a euphemism for psychofascism. It consists of electro-shock, psychosurgery, massive druggings, averse conditioning, sensory deprivation, and more. Such practices have found their way into the nation’s schools, especially in high poverty areas. In fact, it was to stop such abuses that the Symbionese Liberation Army executed school superintendent Marcus Foster.
In order to effectively apply the treatment concept, the Adult Corrections Division needs the power to move prisoners from prison to prison (or hospital). The prisoners at Walla Walla realize this fact, and in an attempt to transfer prisoners, they made the following demands central to their struggle: Demand IV (k) “That no member of the population shall ever be transferred to another mental or psychiatric facility out of state unless personally requested by the prisoner in writing.” Demand IV (l) goes on to say “That no member of the population shall ever be transferred to another penal facility in any location unless personally requested by the prisoner in writing.” These demands were so important to the prisoners that they followed them up with the only threat of violence in the entire list of demands. VI (m) “That if the foregoing insistence indicated in items (k) and (l) are not honored, the Resident Government Council shall see to the destruction of the Washington State Penitentiary.” Prisoners also demanded the removal of the chief doctor, the head nurse, and the associate superintendent of custody. When negotiations failed, prisoners seized 8 wing and the hospital and used hostages in an attempt to push their demands forward.
Today is exactly six months from the final deadline prisoners set for the implementation of their demands. Not a single demand has been met. Today’s bombing of the offices of the Washington State Department of Corrections is a measure of our determination to see the implementation of the just demands of the Walla Walla prisoners. We of the George Jackson Brigade hearby demand: (A) That the state give prisoners the power to decide for themselves whether or not they want to be transferred; (B) Stop the use and threatened use of psychofascist techniques on the minds of prisoners and school children; (C) The removal of three administrators, Dr. August Hovnanian, hospital surgeon, James Harvey, associate superintendent for custody, and Mrs. Eva Nelson, chief nurse. And (D) That the prison administration follow the Resident Government Council’s constitution and otherwise follow the law (the R.G.C. must be permitted to exist).
2. COMMUNIQUE FROM THE GEORGE JACKSON BRIGADE:
Thursday September 18, 1975
At 9:15 this evening we placed a
call to the Safeway store at 15th and E. John and clearly told the employee
who answered that “high explosives were planted in the store and would
go off in 15 minutes-- Evacuate the store!” Simultaneously we called the
newsrooms of KING-TV and articulated the same message.
At 9:30 P.M. the bomb exploded inside Safeway. There had been no effort to heed our warning and no evacuation even in process. Our warning procedure was based on our own experiences and similar experiences of guerilllas in other parts of the country where injuries have also occurred. We clearly realize that our attacks must be discriminate and both serve and educate the everyday person. We also realize that as the contradictions heighten it becomes harder and harder to be a passive and innocent bystander in a war zone.
Our attack on the Capitol Hill Safeway had two purposes: First and foremost it was an act of love and solidarity toward the courageous comrade who risked his life in the furtherance of his political convictions. Second, the bombing was in retaliation for the capture of four members of the Symbionese Liberation Army.
We will not belabor the ways in which Safeway criminally exploits farmworkers and its clerks, rips off the public through price fixing, and sells food poisoned by preservatives. Safeway is not only an agribusiness, but its tentacles reach out through the entire world and suck the spirit and blood of poor and oppressed peoples. These crimes are all well documented and have been the subject of numerous educationals, marches, demonstrations, boycotts, strikes, and even anti-trust suits.
Four days ago Po died while arming a bomb he had just planted behind this same Safeway. He died because his oppression, today not just someday, was so real that he found it necessary to risk his death in order to free himself.
We grieve over the murder of this comrade; just as we grieved over the murders and capture of George and Jonathan Jackson, the SLA, three dead weatherpeople, and countless fallen warriors. But grief is not enough. We must transform grief into righteous anger and our anger into directed action.
It is clearly within the power of the left to force Safeway out of the Capitol Hill Community. All that is required is the will to do so. Using a coordination of both peaceful and violent tactics, people educate and build toward a winning strategy. Progressive forces would have to reach out beyond themselves; talking to people at bus stops, going door to door asking people about their daily lives and their problems. A program should be developed and implemented around their grievances. People should be educated about Safeway and the need for selected violence.
It is time that people start thinking in terms of gaining control over their communities. A victorious struggle against Safeway--even if it takes reducing those two stores to burned-out ruins--would be a major step in the direction toward people’s power.
Safeway Off Capitol Hill!
The George Jackson Brigade
3. We Cry and We Fight
We have a right to cry for our dead,
for every life is unnamably precious
and the death of even one woman or one man
who loved the human race
is an intolerable loss.
Only the frozen robot rulers of
have no tears for human suffering.
Only the fascists watch gleefully when people die.
For us, the life of each comrade
and is always remembered.
Someone somewhere thinks today of
every fallen comrades
of each of the thousands killed in 1927 at Shanghai,
of the vanguard at Moncada,
of the vietnamese sapper blown up inside Bien Hon.
Someone somwhere cries today for
every fallen comrade:
for Che and Tania
for Malcom, George and Jonathan,
Fred Hamilton, Sam Nelville,
Diana, Ted and Terry
Sandra Pratt, Zayd Gahur, Tymon Hyera
The memory of our immortal sisters
helps us to find our tears and rage.
Today our weeping and our anger are for Fahiza, Cinque, Mizmoon,
[Calla], Willie and Gelina, gone into History with the others.
Our grief is real, and it makes
us stronger and more human.
Our rage is real and it makes us righteous and powerful.
We cry, but keep on moving, building, loving!
We cry in the night and go see Ruchell in the morning!
We cry one day and defy the grand jury the next!
In the dark of the night we put our arms arounds our friends to comfort them,
and in the dark of night we spraypaint with them!
We turn our grief for the dead into love for the living
and write a letter to Assata! (346 W.20th st. N.Y.)
We cry for our comrades, and we step into theirs places!
WE CRY AND WE FIGHT!4. NEW YEAR 1976
At 12 midnight December 31, 1975, we exploded two bombs at Safeway’s
main office for the Seattle area in Bellevue, Wa. Simultaneously, in support
of the City Light workers and their long and courageous strike, we bombed the
main transformer supplying power to the very rich Laurelhurst Neighborhood.
CITY LIGHT. LAURELHURST.
We of the George Jackson Brigade are not City Light workers, but we do live and work in Seattle and City Light is our enemy too. For the past two years we have watched City Light workers stand up and fight for their rights. This has been in the face of a massive campaign by the ruling class to force poor and working people to shoulder the burden of this economic crisis. So we have chosen to bring in the New Year with respect and solidarity for the brave example the City Light workers have set by sabotaging the power source for Laurelhurst.
We urge the City Light workers to rely on the people; to tap, expand and direct the widespread support you have as a means to win your strike and to further the complex process of revolution and liberation for all oppressed people. And we urge all workers, poor, oppressed and progressive people in Seattle [to] openly and materially demonstrate their support for City Light workers.
SAFEWAY OFFICES AND DEPOT, BELLEVUE.
“They call us bandits, yet every time most Black (and poor and working) people pick up our paychecks we are being robbed. Every time we walk into a store in our neighborhood we are being held up. And every time we pay our rent, the landlord sticks a gun in our ribs.”
- Assata Shakur, Black Liberation Army Sister
Safeway is one of the largest corporations in the world. It is the world’s largest food chain and a powerful agribusiness and imperialist. Safeway has effectively monopolized all facets of the food processing, distribution, and retailing industry on the west coast. As a large international landowner, it is the recipient of large federal subsidies and [has] actively forced the small farmer from his land and liv[e]lihood. As a large grower, Safeway has consistently and violently oppressed the farmworkers and fought their struggle for a union. Safeway makes its superprofits by charging poor and working people outrageously inflated prices for nutritionally deficient and chemically poisoned food.
So it is not surprising that Safeway has been the target of massive resistance by the people including pickets, boycotts, educationals, demonstrations and anti-trust suits. And it is not surprising that Safeway has been the target of bombings and armed actions up and down the west coast throughout 1975.
Early this summer, at the 15th and John Safeway in Seattle a plainclothes mercenary shot an “alleged” shoplifter. In September our comrade Po in an independent action, died while arming a bomb behind that store. A few days later, and only a few hours after the capture of the SLA, we exploded a bomb inside that store in an attempt to complete the job Po began. Safeway disregarded our warning, and people inside the store shopping were injured.
This action was wrong because we brought violence and terror into a poor neighborhood; a neighborhood already racked with the violence of hunger and the terror of the police.
We have tried to make this New Year’s attack a reflection of the lessons we learned this past year. We are not terrorists. Safeway and City Lights are our own class enemies and the class enemies of all who have felt hunger in their bellies or who have been cold in the winter because they couldn’t pay their electric bill. We have no qualms about bringing discriminate violence to the rich.
“For us there is always armed struggle. There are two kinds of armed
struggle; the armed struggle in which the people fight empty handed, unarmed,
while the imperialists or colonialists are armed and kill our people; and the
armed struggle in which we prove we are not crazy by taking up arms to fight
back against the criminal arms of the imperialists.”
-Amilcar Cabral, Guinea Bissau
LOVE AND STRUGGLE
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
THE GEORGE JACKSON BRIGADE
WOMEN’S DAY COMMUNIQUE
GEORGE JACKSON BRIGADE
On March 10th, members of the George
Jackson Brigade rescued our comrade John W. Sherman from police custody. John
had been captured during our unsuccessful attempt to expropriate $43,000.00
from the Tukwila branch of the Pacific National Bank of Washington. A brutal
attack by Tukwila police and King County sheriffs left our comrade Bruce Seidel
dead, Sherman shot in the jaw, and Sherman and comrade Ed Mead in custody. All
other participating units of the Brigade escaped after firing on police from
the rear in an attempt to assist our three comrades trapped in the bank.
There can be no revolution without money – for weapons, explosives, survival, organizing, printing, etc. The people are poor. We will make the ruling class pay for its own destruction by expropriating our funds from them and their banks.
We have so far identified the following tactical criticisms of the Tukwila action: 1) We were unprepared for the level of violence that the pigs were willing to bring down on us and the innocent people in the bank. We should have had better combat training. 2) We waited too long to open fire on the pigs. We should have fired without hesitation on the first pig to arrive. Failure to do this allowed the police to murder our comrade while he was trying to surrender, and endangered everyone in the bank. 3) A silent alarm was tripped when we removed all of the money from a teller’s drawer. When the phone began to ring to authenticate the alarm, our comrades should have split immediately with whatever they had in their hands. Instead, they stayed to clean out the safe. 4) Our comrades across the street should have had more firepower than they did. We had an enormous tactical advantage which we were unable to exploit because it took so long to bring the superior firepower that we did have into action. 5) Our getaway route was excellent. Comrades were able to remain in the area, firing on the pigs until the three comrades inside the bank were taken into custody, and still get away clean. Over all, this action failed because we were not prepared to meet police terrorism with a sufficient level of revolutionary violence.
In the course of the escape raid it became necessary to shoot the police officer guarding Sherman. We did not shoot officer Johnson in retaliation for Bruce’s murder. In fact, it was our intention to avoid shooting him. He was shot because he failed to cooperate as fully as possible with the comrade who was assigned to him. One of the many lessons we learned from Tukwila is that we cannot afford to give the police any slack when confronting them. While we don’t particularly want to shoot police, we don’t particularly care either. We will shoot without hesitation any police officer who endangers us. Also, we fully intend to get justice for Bruce’s murder, but we refer to retaliate against the murder[er]s themselves: officers Abbott and Matthews.
Bruce saw himself as an inevitable product of the mass movement. Years of struggle for progressive change taught him that poor and working people will not listen to communists who are unwilling and unprepared to back their demands with revolutionary violence. Bruce understood the need for a movement with real (not symbolic) teeth, and he set about changing this understanding into a reality. His contribution to this process is beyond measure. Had he survived beyond his mid-twenties, he would have changed far more than the shape of Northwest politics.
Bruce recognized and implemented the need to expropriate banks as a means of furthering specific political goals. He also understood the possible risk of capture or death involved in such an undertaking. Unlike so many of his racist counterparts, Bruce did not believe the lives of U.S. communists to be somehow more precious than those of comrades throughout the world who are fighting and dying in the international class war against imperialism.
The death of our comrade weighs like a mountain on our shoulders. We loved Bruce in life and we love him in death. His passing leaves us with more than grief and sorrow; it has kindled a rage that will not be abated until his killers and the class they serve are destroyed along with the misery and suffering they bring to all humanity.
We are learning to avoid the self-appointed “left”; to go directly to the people and to rely on them for our strength. The people in our community have made enormous sacrifices and have given us shelter and sustenance and safety from the pigs. Because of this, the escape raid is a complete success. The victory belongs to the people.
We’re also learning to rely on ourselves. Using urban guerrilla ingenuity, members of the George Jackson Brigade removed the torsion arch bars from comrade Sherman’s mouth.
Our comrade is free, the pigs have been badly beaten and they’re throwing a temper tantrum. They are using their Grand Jury to try to terrorize the people by issuing subpoenas to numerous progressive people and hauling them before their star chamber. Now they have started taking hostages from among progressive above ground fighters. But they will soon learn that the people don’t terrorize so easily. And they would do well to remember that what goes around – comes around.
We send our greetings and love to our comrade Ed Mead still in custody and to all freedom fighters above ground, underground and locked down. Take heart Ed, we miss you and we will continue fighting. Later.
We urge all progressive people in Seattle to organize and fight the Grand Jury. Struggle for correct politics. Don’t talk to the FBI. Don’t testify. Don’t collaborate. Support the hostages.
6. CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL
CELEBRATE THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN STRUGGLE
Love and Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
In order to authenticate this communique, we are sending a bullet recently fired from a gun used across the street from the bank to the Post-Intellingencer (Seattle). We are also sending one of the torsion arch bars from comrade Sherman’s mouth to KZAM, a Bellevue radio station.
We’re not all white and we’re
not all men
said a white male member
of our collective
to a liberal masked media man
Why struggle with
arms, tools, commie Q’s?
dykes niggers cons
when you could slip away with
left support action
or vague mass movement construction
I can love
O can slip into class, bitch privilege
love don’t mean unity with another
privilege doesn’t change alienation
both mean slipping into darkness
alienation is masses of couples buying
coca cola and grapes at safeway
and owning own stereos t.v.’s and cribs
Just like slumlords pimps I.T.T.
We will dis organize
learn struggle and skills
move ment action new ways
Not the vague vanguard
We are a collection
of oppressed people turning
inside out with action
this united few breaks
race class sex
workers and lumpen
all going together
combatting dull sameness
and the established rule of
straight white cocks
I cannot be one
acting alone with my
little toe outside the line
its both feet
ain’t no turning back now
no more mass meetings stale mating action
Loving learning laboring
with a few comrades
oh won’t you harbor me?
joining you sistah brother
is freedom, Sue, Assata
George, Jill, Martin
new family being sane
small, not like Charlie’s
We are cozy cuddly
armed and dangerous
and we will
raze the fucking prisons
to the ground
Love and Struggle, GJB
7. Mayday Communique
[Our original copy is a teletype from the Seattle offices of the FBI to headquarters in DC dated May 13, 1977. We’ve changed it from all caps to normal capitalization and have italicized titles of periodicals.]
Today the George Jackson Brigade bombed two Bellevue branches of Ra[i]nier National Bank in support of the prisoners’ struggle at Walla Walla state prison. We chose Ra[i]nier National Bank as a target because of its links to the Seattle Times, a bourgeois daily newspaper. The Seattle Times has led the propaganda campaign in Seattle against the prisoners.
The past year had seen the strengthening of prisoner struggles throughout the state of Washington. There have been hunger strikes, work strikes, demonstrations and uprisings at Purdy, McNeil Island, and Walla Walla. For more than six months the prisoners at Walla Walla have been in the forefront of these struggless.
In October and in December, 1976, prisoners in the segregation units (the Hole), staged a hunger strike to protest guards tampering with their food and the overall brutality of the hole. In January, the Walla Walla brothers issued demands from the hole which included: shutting down the infamous behavior modification programs; firing three brutal employees of the mental health unit (Psychiatric torture unit); collectivization of the therapy programs; and due process in the hole. Throughout this period the Resident Government Council (RGC) tried to negotiate with the prison administration around grievances. The prison administration and the state government steadfastly ignored these efforts.
And things continued to get worse in the hole.
On April 5, a cigarette lighter bomb blew up in the hand of a particularly hated Walla Walla segregation guard. This happened while he was escorting a prisoner from the prison to Walla Walla county courthouse. (Although police there immediately claimed “good leads” and a “suspect” inside the prison, they haven’t so far charged anybody. Perhaps they are waiting for the right scapegoat.)
Using this incident as an excuse, the prison administration, led by B.J. Rhay, immediately launched an attack on all prisoner resistance and organization. Starting with the hole, they have systematically ransacked and looted all cells and meeting areas.
On April 10, while the administration was still busy with the hole, prisoners in the general population responded to this attack with a well planned and executed raid on the prison store. About 300 prisoners participated in this raid using fires as diversions.
Immediately following the raid, all maximum security prisoners went to their cells and locked up, starting a strike. A few days later, prisoner representatives issued a list of 14 “grievances” and a demand to meet with DSHS official and outside observers. This list included protests against racial discrimination, the lack of meaningful work inside the prison, and poor medical treatment.
By April 27, a “Blue Ribbon Commission” appointed by Governor D.L. Ray had met twice with the RGC over these grievances. This commission was led by Harlan McNutt, a person the prisoners had specifically asked not to see. (His appointment was billed in the Seattle press as an “act of defiance” by the Governor.)
On May 7, as a result of these meetings, McNutt ordered the following “changes” at Walla Walla:
–Transfer of “mental patients” to Eastern State Hospital
–Accelerate work release opportunities
–Improve Dental Care; hire a second dentist for 1000 men
–Regular sanitary inspections
–Be easier on visitor searches (but allow orifice searches for “reasonable cause”)
–Transfer Associate Warden Paul Harvey (supposedly “coincidental;” at the same time, he denied the existence of racial discrimination.)
These “changes” are
absurd. They actually consist of three attacks and four empty promises:
–The involuntary transfer of “mental patients” to Eastern State is a fascist attack on prisoner resistance. Involuntary transfer of any kind allows the administration to ship out “trouble-makers” and break up prisoner organization. In December, 1974, Walla Walla prisoners seized parts of the prison and took hostages after negotiations failed to resolve their demands against behavior modification and involuntary transfer. Twenty years ago, Eastern State Hospital was notorious as a torture factory used to break prisoner resistance. They shall not get away with it again.
–Denying the existence of racial discrimination at Walla Walla authorizes the blatant racism that is the daily practice of the administration and guards there.
–Harvey is being foisted off on Shelton where he can do his dirty work on younger, less experienced prisoners.
–As for sanitary inspections, better dental care, better visiting conditions, etc., we’ve heard it all before. We’ll believe it when we see it.
The Seattle Times
The press plays a particularly important role in prisoner struggles. Prisoners are isolated from society and have no printing presses or money or outside organization to tell their story to the people. If people knew what really goes on in prison and understood what their true effects on society are they would shut them down tomorrow and send the parasites who run them to work.
(Real work, useful work, hard labor, maybe?) The role of the press is to keep us from knowing by telling us only what the rulers of the prisons want us to know. Period. When the level of struggle inside the prison forces them to admit that struggle is going on, they make it appear to be spontaneous, isolated incidents. Clearly, the present strike at Walla Walla is part of ongoing and progressive mass struggle there.
All of this is true of all of the bourgeois press in Seattle. The Seattle Times however, has led the propaganda campaign. The Times is not, as its bosses and editorial writers would have us believe, an independent and objective observer and reporter of fact. It is a weapon used by the ruling class to lie to us.
Throughout the struggle the Times has consistently printed and supported whatever the prison bosses had to say about what was going on. It had printed long diatribes by paranoid guards who are fearful of retaliation for their crimes. It has told us that prisoners have no real grievances; that the problem is really just “overcrowding”; and that prisoners are just animals anyway, duped into struggle by a few troublemakers. By not printing the RGC grievances, the Times has refused to even pretend to be objective.
The Seattle Times is tied with a thousand threads to the big capitalists who run this country. They are owned, like most bourgeois newspapers in this country, by one huge conglomerate; in this case Knight-Ridder Newspapers, Inc. William Pennington, President of the Times is a director of Ra[i]nier National Bank (RNB) and other large corporations. Through these companies, he is tied to Sea-First, SafeCo, Boeing, Weyerhauser, Paccar, etc. etc. The owners and bosses of these companies are the real criminal - the real enemies of society. Capitalism and capitalists cause crime and prison. We attacked RNB because we are determined to seek out and attack this real enemy, behind all his fronts and flunkies.
We demand that the Seattle Times print the entire text of the RGC grievances and any RGC responses to the latest “changes.” We demand that the Seattle Times print the text of this communique and any future communique the GJB issues. We also demand that the Seattle Times interview prisoners in struggle in the hole at Walla Walla and print those interviews.
We have no illusions that the Times will, because of this action, agree to any of these demands. But we will continue to attack the Times and its bosses until they do give in. However long that may take.
At the same time, we understand that, flunkies though they are, DSHS, the Department of Adult Corrections, the Governor, reactionary Warden B.J. Rhay, and the guards and staff at Walla Walla are the general staff and front line troops of the ruling class. They direct and carry out the bourgeoisie’s attempts to crush prisoner resistance. They are responsible for their own actions and will someday meet the peoples’ justice.
“There are two things to remember about revolution: we are going to get our asses kicked, and we are going to win.” So the GJB is back. We got our asses kicked real bad at Tukwila a year ago, and we’ve spent this last year licking our wounds and learning our trade. We’ve accumulated a lot of equipment and an enormous amount of experience. We’ve done 6 teller robberies in Oregon banks for more than $25,000. Without firing a shot. In the course of this, we’ve learned a lot about the police, the front line troops of capitalism.
Although we are armed and will defend ourselves if attacked, we are not crazy. We do not, as the FBI has claimed, “Believe in shooting it out with an army of police”. We understand that we are vastly outgunned and out numbered and, if we are trapped, we will make a positive effort to surrender. But we have corrected the error that we criticized at Tukwila. We have a higher level of combat training and will never again be caught unprepared by the violence of an individual police officer. If captured, we will continue to fight wherever we end up.
Overall, we live pretty much like everybody else. We have landlord hassles, the car needs repair, the wiring in our home is bad. We are stunned (like everybody else) by the prices when we buy groceries.
For several months now we have been concentrating on political study and struggle to clarify what we think about revolution in this country. As individuals we have many disagreements. We will have more to say in the future about political struggle within the Brigade. We need criticism and analysis of our words and our actions.
We believe that capitalism is the source of all oppression at this time, and that revolution requires that it be overthrown by force of arms by the masses of poor and working people in this country. We believe that the struggle against racism, national oppression and sexism in all its forms are part of the struggle against capitalism. We are firmly united on these points.
“... if people on the outside
do not understand the necessity of defending them (prisoners) through force
of arms, then it is because these people on the outside do not yet realize that
they are in an immediate danger of being thrown into concentration camps themselves,
tortured, or shot down in the streets for expressing their beliefs.”
- Communique 10, SLA
Remember the Compton Massacre! (May 17, 1974)
In the Spirit of Mayday!
Love and Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
May 12, 1977
8. THE GEORGE JACKSON
SUMMER SOLSTICE COMMUNIQUE
Yesterday the George Jackson Brigade
expropriated about $4200 from the Factoria branch of the Rainier National Bank.
A month ago, May 21, 1977, we expropriated about $1300 from the Newport Hills state liquor store.
Armed expropriation is a vital part of our work. Apart from the everyday cost of living (which is as a terrible burden for us as for everyone else); weapons, ammunition, explosives, medical supplies, vehicles, etc. cost an enormous amount of money. We will continue to take this money from the ruling class and its state. Most people understand that banks and the state are the real robbers of all society; and that the profit motive is the biggest robbery in history.
But we will under no circumstances steal so much as a penny from small businesses or from the working people. When we robbed the liquor store, for example, it was necessary to take the manager’s entire purse because the liquor store money was in it. The day after the robbery we returned the manager’s purse with all of her own personal money (about $45).
We are not prepared at this time to present a detailed analysis of the politics of armed robbery, but we feel it is necessary to claim these robberies to counter the attempt of the police to hide these actions from the people.
Both the King County Police and the FBI know that we did both these robberies. Exactly why they have chosen to hide this fact is a mystery to us, but we can see at least two possible advantages to them in their silence:
1. They would like very much to convince people that serious and successful revolutionary armed struggle is impossible and does not exist in this country, let alone in the Northwest.
2. One of the principal functions of the police is to repress progressive struggles and the left – sometimes openly, sometimes secretly by infiltration and harassment. Their strategy at this time is to do it secretly. If they tell people about our actions, they will also alert them to be more vigilant against these tactics.
Although any bank, ruling class corporation or state agency is fair game for revolutionary expropriation, we chose RNB this time because the Seattle Times (RNB’s crime partner) still refuses to print any communication from the Walla Walla prisoners. In particular they have ignored the prisoners’ strike that continued in the hole after the lock-up ended. The strike is part of the continuing struggle against the brutal conditions in the hole.
EXPROPRIATE THE EXPROPRIATORS
Love and Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
June 21, 1977
9. CAPITALISM IS ORGANIZED CRIME
THE GEORGE JACKSON BRIGADE
“…any serious organizing of people must carry with it, from the start, a potential threat of revolutionary violence – after all ‘the stakes are high’.”
- George Jackson
Today we bombed the main substation for the state capitol complex in Olympia. The purpose of this action is to support the struggle of prisoners in the hole at the Walla Walla state prison. These men are still on strike as a focus of their militant fight against illegal confinement, barbarism and torture.
The ISU (Intensive Security Unit – the hole) prisoners have issued the following ten “Immediate demands”. In solidarity with their strike, we demand the same changes – now!
1. Abolish the use of contracts and release all prisoners being held on contract violations.
2. Stop arbitrary punishments and conduct hearing committees in accordance to WAC rules.
3. Release all prisoners on Ad Seg status unless the warden can show a clear and present danger to prison security and order.
4. Remove all prisoners from “A” tier who have served more than 10 consecutive days on isolation status.
5. Give ISU prisoners the same visitation rights accorded the prisoners on the main-line.
6. Full use of ISU yard, not the cage, and provision of adequate recreational equipment on each tier. Exercise periods should be substantially longer than one hour.
7. Full access to personal property in the general population such as cassette recorders, TVs, packages from home, books, hobby materials, art supplies, etc.
8. Complete commissary rights for prisoners on ad seg status unless the warden makes a written finding that a specific item is an actual danger to order.
9. Direct access to the prison law library for prisoners in the ISU who have active litigation pending in the courts.
10. Clean up and paint the ISU;
provide adequate clothing; and stop the constant harassment of prisoners.
These demands require no special
“blue ribbon commissions”; no new legislation, and no budget increases.
They demand only that the prison administration obey its own laws and adopt
minimum standards of human decency. We will continue to provide armed support
for this just struggle until all of these demands are fully met.
The main response of the prison bureaucrats and their guards to this struggle has been to deepen and intensify the repression and brutality; and to provoke the prisoners to violence wither deliberate insults, constant harassment, and assaults. When these men rise up in self defense, the administrators are fully prepared to slaughter them as a final solution to resistance.
Public attention must be focused on Walla Walla; the actual conditions of torture and humiliation must be widely publicized. Armed work is only one of many forms of support necessary to the struggle of the Walla Walla prisoners. We urge people to seek out the truth about the Walla Walla struggle and to actively fight for the lives and safety of these prisoners. In particular, it is the absolute duty of progressive people on the left to join this fight.
Also, we give notice to the ruling class and its state that we hold them responsible as individuals for the safety of our comrade Ed Mead, and his comrades in ISU.
The struggle of ALL prisoners against their oppression in this country is a struggle for justice. It is a struggle that demands that society live up to its obligation to provide full productive life for all citizens – an obligation that capitalism can not meet.
Capitalism causes crime. Overwhelmingly, the victims of crime are poor and Third World people. Street crime is caused and perpetuated by joblessness and underemployment; by a ruling class that uses people for its own profit and discards them when it has no more profitable use for them. The capitalist prison and its bureaucracy is a loathsome parasite on society. Its sole purpose is to administer the warehousing and repression of human beings for whom capitalism has no use and no solution.
We congratulate the Walla Walla prisoners for winning their long struggle to get rid of bloody B. J. Rhay. But the new warden, Douglas Vinzant, is hardly an improvement. Although he is pretending to be a good guy, both he and his boss Harlan McNutt continue to ignore the hole and claim it isn’t a problem. Be careful of these hoodlums comrades; no matter what they say, it is impossible to serve both the capitalists’ prisons and the prisoners.
“There will be a special
page in the book of
life for the women and men who have
crawled back from the grave.
This page will tell of utter defeat,
ruin, passivity and subjection
in one breath; and in the next
overwhelming victory and fulfillment
So take care of yourself and hold on.”
- George Jackson
SUPPORT THE STRUGGLE OF THE ISU
Love and Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
July 4, 1977
10. Self-Criticism and Other Thoughts
“Tell no lies, claim no easy
- Amilcar Cabral, Guinea Bissau
On July 4, 1977, we attempted to destroy the main substation supplying power to the state capitol complex in Olympia. Our reasons for this action are set forth in the [preceding] communique attached to this letter.
The bomb did not explode. Although there is always a chance for mechanical failure in any pipe bomb, we are virtually certain that this was not the case here. This was probably our most carefully built bomb. After the failure at Bellevue, we spent hours on this bomb checking and rechecking every piece of wire, every circuit, every connection, every possibility for failure. We are convinced that the police disarmed it before it was to detonate.
We had three main reasons for choosing this particular target:
1. We wanted to cause sufficient material damage to begin to make it unprofitable for the ruling class and its state to continue their barbarous treatment of the men in the hole at Walla Walla. Even though we obviously cost the police some sleep and labor time, the action was clearly a failure in this regard.
2. We wanted to breakthrough the bourgeois media blackout and reach the ordinary people in this state with the truth about what’s going on at Walla Walla. It’s too early to tell what effect, if any, this action will have on the blackout.
3. We wanted to localize the effects of this action to state owned and operated buildings only. So far as we can tell, this substation supplies power exclusively to the state complex. This is supported by the statements of three Seattle TV stations.
We made every effort to insure the safety of innocent people in the area of the target. The substation itself is located on the every edge of a residential district. The entire backside of it is deserted tress and brush. Across the street is the blocklong Washington State Patrol Capitol Security Offices which we determined to be empty at the time. There are two houses and one small apartment building in the immediate area. The nearest house is significantly farther from the target than the nearest house at Laurelhurst. The Laurelhurst explosion caused no damage to nearby dwellings other than window breakage from the concussion. Also, we took care to direct the explosion into the transformer and away from the houses. We gave the police detailed instructions on the location of the substation and exactly which houses needed to be evacuated and which streets should be blocked to insure everyone’s utmost safety. All of this is as it should be.
We also gave the police a full thirty minutes warning to be sure they had ample time to disarm the bomb. This represents one of the many contradictions in any bombing. One way to resolve this is to booby trap the bomb with mercury switches or trip wires or the like so that it will explode if tampered with. In the past, we have not booby trapped our bombs for fear that some crazy or “heroic” police officer would try to disarm it anyway and blow himself (we don’t know of any women bomb squad members) up. We have instead used false booby trap warnings to keep them away. With the mechanical failure of one of our bombs in the Bellevue RNB however, they learned that it was not in fact eguipped with a tamperproof switch as we had told them. We discussed this and decided that for this bomb we continue to use a false booby trap warning on the assumption that no one would be crazy enough to try to disarm a bomb that could be booby trapped, even with the Bellevue experience. We were wrong. Now we are faced with the dilemma of either being willing to see some police officer killed trying to disarm a bomb that is truly booby trapped, or being willing to watch them disarm our bombs with impunity.
We welcome all constructive criticism and ideas about this and the other contradictions that surround bombing as a revolutionary tactic.
Love and Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
July 4, 1977
11. Open Letter to the John Brown Book Club
(The use of “JBBC” throughout this letter refers to those of you who, during 1975, held the Weather/Prairie Fire political line, did distribution of Weather literature, and participated in Prairie Fire study groups. You later helped form and are now involved in the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee and the John Brown Book Club. We’re not publishing this letter yet because it is a direct criticism of you. We sincerely hope you will find time to publicly respond to it. Because we think the issues involved her are of vital concern, and therefore the business of the entire community, the letter will be released publicly in one month.)
The GJB is encouraged to read that
JBBC has taken some responsibility for itself through the “initial sketch”
as printed in “The Split.” We are encouraged because we had been
forced to give up all hope that such a change was possible. This loss of hope
was based, as you may well know, on several shit experiences with JBBC people.
We are encouraged but not dazzled.
We understand clearer now some of the reasons for your “reactionary responses” to the GJB. Your actions falling so far behind your words was largely based on national orders. But, they were your words and actions; coming from your mouths. In having never publicly criticized yourselves until the “trusted leaders” did another subtle example of not taking responsibility for your politics? We strongly believe that your criticisms much go much deeper. We also feel that you should address some specifics in your future self-criticisms. These specifics are written vaguely for security reasons, but you know as well as we do that these events did occur, and that the true facts of them (if we could spell it out) are much worse than the vagueness written here implies.
1. You outright refused support and therefore failed to put your theory into practice in an extremely serious and real situation around Third World struggles in this country. In fact, you went so far as to destroy the equipment that was needed for this support.
2. You not only passively accepted the “slow sell-out of revolutionary armed struggle”, you actively organized against the GJB, and along with other reactionary groups, publicly “disassociated” yourselves.
3. You attempted to blackmail a progressive aboveground group by refusing to distribute their publications unless they ceased all coverage of the GJB. We also know of instances where you attempted bribery as a form of political struggle.
4. You played a leading role in expelling people from the 1976 Grand Jury Defence Committee by imposing a gag rule because some folks had publicly stated support for the GJB. This is not an isolated instance. It has been your practice for time to bureaucratically purge dissenters in the name of political struggle from groups where you play a leadership role.
Any time a bureaucratic “style
of work” is used it automatically alienates women, Third World people,
prisoners, and other sufferers of special oppression. Historically, bureaucracy
has been the weapon of male supremacy and class society. Red tape and volumes
of high falutin’ words help keep the oppressors in control. Organization
from above will never succeed in producing freedom for anyone. By squeezing
the validity out of Third World and women’s liberation movements, you
have played into the white male ruling class game by helping to create greater
divisions and real lack of trust. In view of these repeated kinds of fuck-overs
and sell-outs, your rectification cannot come overnight.
We find it not only distrusting but opportunist for you suddenly to embrace our dead as your “revolutionary comrades.” We don’t know about Po because he was not a member of the GJB, but Bruce had many criticisms of you which you refused to acknowledge and thus never attempted to struggle with him about. In fact, you shined him on and even trashed him. You did nothing supportive or in any way positive that we know about at the time of either Bruce’s or Po’s death; except to attend a public memorial for PO. Your reaction was to close your mouths and turn your backs – the common reaction of sell-outs and/or cowards. The passage of time and the cloak of mysticism and romanticism should never be allowed to change dead freedom fighters into glorified martyrs as delayed announcement of these men as comrades implies. We righteously believe that much deeper and stronger, more sincere and honest self-criticisms are necessary before JBBC can call either fallen freedom fighter a real comrade.
You have finally recognized the "development of the GJB"; but your assumption that we have been destroyed by the state is, at best, a sad example of unquestioning belief in the state's propaganda. When, in fact, it should have been very clear to you that all kinds of police were continually looking for us in Oregon. Also obvious is that our locked down brother, Ed Mead, has not been destroyed.
As you well know, Comrade Ed has many times been wrongly attacked personally and politically by you. Perhaps a move toward rectifying these attacks would be a show of real change in your practice around prison struggles. In the past year, there have been organized struggles in all Washington joints; the strongest at Walla Walla (primarily around behaviour modification torture and general conditions). Ed is one of the Walla Walla Brothers now actively engaged in struggle against an all out attack by the state. You could be helping to build active/public support for this life and death struggle.
We will soon issue a more lengthy political statement. The following is a draft of the section on the Weather Underground. We think you should consider these more general political criticisms of your ideology.
When we first came together, we were heavily influenced by the Weather Underground Organization and its politics. Practice with local Weather support people, however, soon exposed to us their cowardice and hypocrisy. Both Bruce and Ed have written denunciations of Weather and we fully support these documents. But we feel that no mere practical criticism can succeed in revolutionizing that organization, and that the entire thrust of Weather politics is wrong and opportunist.
Weather played an important role and progressive role in its beginning because they took up the question of armed struggle in the United States at a time when most "revolutionaries" seemed to think that it was something that happened somewhere (anywhere) else. We feel as much comradeship and respect for honest rank and file Weather people as we do contempt for its opportunist leadership - leadership that brought us, for example, dope dealing and turning oneself in to the police as revolutionary tactics.
We do not believe that this opportunism is an accident - it flows directly from their view that revolution itself is something that happens elsewhere and that the only role for the North American people is to be a rooting section and fifth column in national liberation struggles against U.S. imperialism. Weather's view that people in this country are too fucked up; too fucked over; too backward; too whatever to make revolution is nothing more than an excuse for ignoring Weather's own class background. Both these views clearly underlie Prairie Fire and everything else Weather has written, including stuff from the so-called "revolutionary committee". The majority of Weather leadership comes from the upper classes and they refuse or fear to give up their privileges. They use their politics to liquidate class struggle and allow themselves to refuse to change.
We don't think the latest spectacle WUO has provided for, "The Split", means very much. We think the only way the "revolutionary committee" can live up to its name is to repudiate Prairie Fire politics and turn their energy to building revolution in this country. Instead the main issue in the split is, so far as we can tell, that the revolutionary committee claims to be "more Prairie Fire than thou".
We would also like to say something about the Brigade's role in this relationship between us and JBBC. It was by no means exemplary. Sometime before the January 1976 Laurelhurst action, the GJB ceased all attempts to relate to JBBC. Prior to this, individual Brigade members made numerous approaches to JBBC people. These approaches were always for the purpose of asking for support of one kind or another: resources, money, use of their equipment, contacts, advice, etc. When these requests were refused (as they always were), our consistent response was angry outbursts calculated to force/shame JBBC into acknowledging what we saw to be their revolutionary duty. We made little or no attempt to engage them in honest, principled political struggle; instead, our practice was characterized by the kind of liberalism and opportunism that grows from seeing immediate tactical needs as ends in themselves. We saw their refusals as proof of their deep-seated and unchanging opportunism and thought that forthright political struggle would be a waste of time. This kind of sectarian cynicism usually goes hand in hand with a "more revolutionary than thou" arrogance, and both are all too common in groups doing armed work. We continue to be determined to root out these errors in the Brigade; this letter should be seen in this light.
Our criticisms have not been liberal, they have been harsh. Our words should not be interpreted as divisive; our intention is that your responses to these honest criticisms will move forward your rectification. We are encouraged because your statement is one step in material proof of real change. We are encouraged to see you begin this hard struggle. We are eager to hear more. We are also anxious to see a closer link between your words and your actions.
In The Spirit Of Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
September 1, 1977
12. BUST THE BOSSES
George Jackson Brigade Communique
Tonight we bombed the S.L. Savidge
new car dealership in support of the four month long strike by the Automotive
Machinists Union, Lodge 289. Sheet metal, Teamsters and Automotive Painters
unions have also been on strike against the dealers for several months. We chose
S.L. Savidge in particular because he was identified by striking workers as
one of the leaders of the car dealers’ attempts to break the union.
Also, on October 6, we attempted to test an incendiary bomb at Westlund Buick as punishment for Westlund’s role as president of the 52 member King County Automobile Dealers’ Association. The device failed to detonate. (To verify that we placed the device: the timer was a white plastic, 60 minute kitchen timer with red numbers; and the gallon bottle of gasoline and sulfuric acid was wrapped with cheesecloth containing a potassium chlorate solution.)
It is clear that the bosses only want more profit for themselves at the expense of their workers. In this particular strike, the bosses are clearly trying to break the union in an attempt to get more profit for themselves. The best strategy against this union busting attempt is to cost the bosses more than they gain by employing scabs
We therefore encourage all people to support this workers’ struggle. There are many ways to express support, some are more comfortable than others. Choose one of the following and act.
1. Don’t cross a picket line
for any reason! Take your business elsewhere or wait until the strike is settled.
2. Tie up the dealers’ phones! Call in as a concerned person and complain, or call from a phone booth and leave the line hanging.
3. Put sugar in the gas tanks of dealers’ new cars, or potatoes in the tailpipes! This will destroy the engine.
4. Break the dealers’ windows! Use bricks, slingshots, small arms, etc. Slash their tires too!
5. Lock the bosses out! Put super glue in any and all locks of buildings or cars. (This is easy and it works great!)
We are not members of any of the
striking unions, but we have talked (anonymously) with striking workers all
over town. We are claiming these actions so that the workers will not be blamed
AN ATTACK AGAINST ONE OF US
IS AN ATTACK AGAINST ALL OF US!
THE BOSSES NEED US,
BUT WE DON’T NEED THE BOSSES!
Love and Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
October 12, 1977
13. October 16, 1977
Automotive Machinists Union
We were responsible for the fire
bombing last night at BBC Dodge in Burien. We were also responsible for the
pipe bombing of S.L. Savidge earlier this week, and the attempted fire bombing
at Westlund Buick on October 6.
In last night’s action we used three gallon juice bottles containing a gasoline sulphuric acid solution. The bottles were wrapped with cheesecloth saturated with potassium chlorate and sugar as an igniter. A small pipe bomb was taped to the bottles to break them. Each of the bombs were detonated by a Westclox Travelalarm; two of the clocks were still in the red plastic cases they came in, one of them was taped in a piece of styrofoam. At least two of the timers were recovered by the King County Police.
We gained entry to the storage lot by cutting a chain link fence on the North side of the lot, about 20 feet east of a cluster of blackberry bushes. One bomb was placed on the hood of a sedan parked against the chain link fence; and the third was on the hood of a station wagon parked toward the center of the lot next to a large recreational vehicle.
We are certain that there is enough specific information in this letter to completely clear the union and its membership of any complicity in these actions. This letter itself is being typed on a typewriter used extensively by the Brigade, and the FBI has samples of this type, including bank robbery notes. To eliminate all question, we are including two copies of the right thumbprint of John Sherman, a known member of the Brigade. One thumbprint is at the bottom of this letter, and the other is on the enclosed xerox copy of this letter. You should give this letter to the police and keep the xerox for your own protection.
Also attached is a copy of our October 12 communique which sets forth our reasons for these actions.
We wish you complete sucess in your efforts to hold the line against ever increasing and ever sleazier attacks by the bosses.
Love and Struggle,
George Jackson Brigade
Cc: BBC Dodge
John Reed, Special Agent in charge, FBI, Seattle
King County Automobile Dealers Association
KOMO TV News
John W. Sherman’s
14. YOU CAN KILL
A REVOLUTIONARY, BUT YOU CAN’T KILL THE REVOLUTION!
George Jackson Brigade Communique
On the night of November 1st, we bombed the Phil Smart Mercedes Benz dealer in Bellevue in retaliation for the murders of our German comrades of the Red Army Faction. This punitive action is in solidarity with the thousands of freedom fighters throughout Europe and around the world who have taken up the counter attack against the real terrorists: the international imperialist ruling class and all its instruments of terror.
This action is dedicated to:
Ulrike Meinhof, a political prisoner who was raped and strangled in her maximum security isolation cell in Stammheim, the special fortress prison in Stuttgart, Germany on May 9, 1976. The official coroner’s verdict was suicide.
Andreas Baader and Jan Carl Raspe, political prisoners who were shot in the back of the neck in their separate isolation cells in the same prison on October 13, 1977. The official coroner’s verdict was suicide.
Gudrun Ensslin, a political prisoner who was hanged from an electric extension cord in her isolation cell on the same day that Baader and Raspe were shot, in the same fortress prison. The official coroner’s verdict was suicide.
We send a special message of support
and revolutionary greetings to Irmgard Moller. She is a political prisoner at
the same prison in Stuttgart, Germany. The state failed in its attempt to stab
her to death with a bread knife. However, her statement, made from her hospital
bed [saying] that she did not try to kill herself, means that her life is still
in danger. The ruling class freely uses murder and torture to silence people
who expose their terrorism.
All four murdered freedom fighters, as well as Moller, were captured urban guerrillas, members of the Red Army Faction (referred to by the ruling class media as the “Baader-Meinhof gang”). They were tried and convicted under “exceptional” laws – laws designed to give the German ruling class a freer hand in crushing popular dissent. These people were subjected to increasing physical and mental torture, sensory deprivation and isolation from each other, their friends and their lawyers. The German government’s excuse for the torture was the charge that these guerrillas were directing armed activity in Germany from inside the prison.
The German ruling class has a bloody history of disposing of their political enemies. In the early days of Hitler Germany, the Nazis began this murderous practice by herding their enemies into concentration camps, shooting them, and labeling it “an escape attempt”. (Just like the murder of George Jackson at San Quentin.) Because the internationalist capitalist class wants us to forget its experiment with fascism, they now murder enemies through “suicides”, instead of staged “escape attempts”.
We chose Mercedes-Benz as a target because it is a German luxury car which is a favorite item of conspicuous consumption for ruling class bosses, and because of its association with Hans Martin Schleyer, late captain of German industry and unpunished Nazi war criminal.
Schleyer was president of Daimler Benz, the manufacturers of Mercedes Benz. He was also head of the Union of German Employer’s Association (a combination national chamber of commerce and manufacturor’s Association.). He was also an economic advisor and close personal crony of the boss of the West German government. During World War II, he was a high ranking Nazi SS officer in charge of war industries in Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia. He was the perfect representative of “democratic” German capitalism.
Schleyer was taken hostage by the Red Army Faction to win freedom for eleven of their captured comrades, including Ensslin, Baader and Raspe, who were murdered two weeks ago. Schleyer was executed in retaliation for those murders.
LOVE AND RAGE – FIRE AND
REMEMBER THE STAMMHEIM MASSACRE
Love and Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
15. AN OPEN LETTER TO BO (Rita D. Brown)
From the rest of the Brigade
“It could have been me, but
instead it was you.
So I’ll keep doing the work you were doing as if I were two.
I’ll be a student of life, a singer of songs,
A farmer of food and a righter of wrongs.
It could have been me, but instead it was you.
And it may be my dear sisters and brothers before we are through.
But if you can fight for freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom,
If you can fight for freedom, I can too.”
- Holly Near
It was your hair, comrade. Somebody around that fucking bank spotted you with that hair like Carol Newland, and the Feds came and staked out that bank waiting for you to come back. And you did, and now they’ve got you. Zip, just like that another one of our strongest fighters is locked up. They must have tried to follow you home from your walk on the beach with the dog, and you spotted them and doubled back away from the house insuring your capture and our safety.
We heard about it on the scanner when 2 Adam 23 was sent to “meet the FBI agent at 175th and Aurora” and impound our vehicle. Since we had neglected to remove Dillinger’s (our dog – also in the slammer now) rabies tag, we realized that it wouldn’t take the Feds long to trace it back to our house.
That was about 3:30 in the afternoon. Frank was out in the Dodge and wasn’t due to call or be home until about five. The people left in the house spent the next hour and a half trying to determine from the scanner whether you were still being held at 175th and Aurora and could use some help, trying to locate Frank who had the only usable vehicle, and trying to judge how much time they had before the Feds showed up. Just before 5:00 they decided they could wait no longer. They burned some shit, left a cryptic note for Frank, gathered up all the weapons and ammunition and tried to walk away.
They had to turn back after one block because the equipment was too heavy. About this time, Frank got home with the car, so we loaded it up with weapons and ammunition and a bare minimum of clothing and other equipment and left. By the time we got to a safe place and unloaded, it was only about 5:30 or 6:00pm, just four or five hours since you were nailed, so Nora and Frank took the car back to the house to try to get one more carload of equipment out.
They did an area check approach to the house and discovered four or five suspicious cars apparently meeting in the school parking lot that faces Meridian (just where we always figured the police would use as a staging area to raid our house). Nora and Frank drove by these cars twice and were able to confirm that they were Feds by following one of them (a big, dark four door, Inspector Erskine type sedan) as it moved into position behind and to the North of our house. Its license number (IVU 004) was almost the same as the license number of an almost identical Fed car we had spotted downtown some time ago (IVU 001). Nora and Frank left the area just as the raid began.
So now we’re in the process of summing up our mistakes and beginning to rebuild, once again from close to the ground.
We have so far identified the following specific mistakes that led to your capture and the raid on our house:
1. We failed to take your day to day appearance seriously enough and didn’t realize how distinctive your hairstyle was and how closely it resembled a picture we knew the Feds had of you. This mistake cost us you, our greatest loss, both materially and conditionally, in a long time.
2. Although we had sense enough to remove the dog’s license tag anytime anyone went out with him, it never occurred to us to remove his rabies tag. This mistake cost us our base.
3. We overestimated the security of our house and failed to develop clear emergency plans that would have allowed us to evacuate the most valuable equipment, tools, clothes and supplies first. This mistake cost us 90% of our supplies and equipment.
We seem to pay dearly for small
mistakes in this work.
Overall, we made the mistake of too much doing with too little thinking and discussion. Since returning from Oregon, we quadrupled our workload with little or no change in our methods of work. During the last two months we did two bank robberies, four or five bombings, a thirty page political statement, a major criticism of John Brown Book Club, and worked throughout on putting together another bank robbery. We were also working on a couple of other major actions that we can’t talk about for security reasons. We also did four or five full tune ups on our vehicles, built a canopy for our truck and did all the shit work maintenance that takes two or three hours out of every day.
During this period we had almost no division of labor; tasks were completed on a pretty much hit or miss basis of who was free and capable of doing them. By and large, the tasks themselves were identified and defined spontaneously, as they came up, with very little advance planning.
We worked six days a week, a minimum of nine or ten hours a day, and our discussions were always the “minimum”, which usually meant brief reports on today’s tasks and assignment of tomorrow’s. We took no time for serious discussion and analysis of the kind of problem that led to your arrest and the raid on our house.
We will correct these errors. As we rebuild our base, we will incorporate the following changes in our day to day methods of work:
1. We will develop and implement a realistic division of labor based on the number of people we have and logical definitions of areas of responsibility in our work. In this way, we will have clearly defined responsibility for such things as security practice and will be much less likely to make the kind of stupid mistakes that came from relying on spontaneous insight (for example, to remove the dog’s rabies tag).
2. We will unfailingly set aside one day each week solely for meeting. We will use these meetings for political struggle, for discussion and analysis of our strategic development, and for reports, practical criticism, and planning of next weeks tasks.
3. We will immediately develop a set of evacuation plans, establish priorities for the removal of supplies and equipment, and will, from time to time, conduct evacuation drills so that we all understand what is to be taken, and how, for every possible situation.
Throughout the period of rebuilding,
we will continue the process of analyzing and defining the mistakes that led
to this defeat. In this way, we will transform the raid and your capture from
a defeat into a solid foundation for the new base.
Mao Tse Tung says that to be attacked by the enemy is a good thing because it makes clear the distinction between us and the oppressor, and because it illuminates our weaknesses and provides us with knowledge gained from criticism/self-criticism to move forward and grow stronger. He says that we learn a thousand times more from a defeat than we do from a victory. This is true, but only to the extent that we make it true in our practice. And we will make it true because we love you, and we love freedom, and because we are part of the masses of people and a handful of sleazy capitalists and their lackeys are no match for us.
So take care of yourself and hold on. Victory is certain.
“The wheel of law turns without
after winter comes spring…
What could be more natural,
after sorrow comes joy.”
Love and Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
16. To Bo, Wherever
We May Find Her
They snatched you
Leaving that hollow empty gap
My pillow is drying
Spent grief is turning into rage
Eyes, lips, hips, thighs, flower
Arms enfold me
Remembering you on the beach
(Your first boat ride), Halloween painted faces
Laughter, tears and
My lover no longer shoots pool
with a .357
But you still make me feel like dancing
Aches turn to comfort
Bodacious sister woman you are
In my mind as I
Plant bombs, rob banks
Your strength and discipline will
Keep me fighting.
17. FROM THE GEORGE
AN OPEN LETTER TO:
John D. Spellman and Lawrence G.
King County Executive Sheriff-Director, King County
7048 51st Ave. N.E. Dept. of Public Safety
Seattle, WA, 6535
Seaview Ave. NE #709B
Jailers Spellman and Waldt:
Tonight we bombed the transformer
supplying power to Southcenter and the Andover Park Industrial Complex to protest
the criminal and inhuman conditions at the King County Jail. Southcenter/ Andover
Park Industrial Complex was chosen because it is a center of capitalist activity
in King County. Capitalism causes crime with unemployment, poverty and oppression,
and the capitalists are responsible for the conditions in their jails.
The media has been reporting on the dehumanizing and overcrowded in the King County jail for some time now. Even the King County Superior Court judges snivel about the “outdated, overworked, and vastly overcrowded” conditions in a jail designed for a maximum of 550, and now confining over 700 people. The jail also is in gross violation of the Fire Code, refuses to correct these violations, and is a potential death trap for those imprisoned there.
It is clear that King County intends to do nothing about these conditions. A bond issue for possible improvement funds won’t even be considered until a year from now, if at all.
Further exposure of the brutal conditions and practices at the jail are contained in a letter from Mark Cook in the November 14 issue of the Northwest Passage. Mark Cook has been confined in segregation in the King County Jail since March 12, 1976.
“I am kept in segregation, isolated from other ‘mainline’ prisoners because I am a political threat to the ‘order and security of the jail’. Although the keepers admit I have broken no jail rules and regulations, and have caused no disturbance to warrant being kept in disciplinary cells, I have been in such confinement for twenty months……
“I spend twenty-three hours a day in my cell (six feet by seven feet): I am given midnight showers every two or three days: no daylight enters the cell; cell lighting is poor: there is no ventilation: there is no hot water: there is a sink and a toilet: I eat my meals on the floor (there is no table). I have suffered various harassments from jailers and jail authorities (people in the news media who intervened in by behalf didn’t want to believe what was happening). Fellow prisoners in adjoining cells are mostly the uncontrollable psychotics who are locked back here without supervision. They often rage for hours at a time, flood their cells, set their cells on fire. A few have played in and eaten their own feces. Under these and other pressures at times I have reacted futilely, but my awareness off the incompetent and oppressive controls of the state seeps through and I quiet down, struggling inwardly with repressed anger.
“I am an African, descendant of Africans trapped here in North America in the slave colonies. I am of the working class, an upholsterer and common laborer when I have to be. So the contempt and indignities I suffer at the hands of the government, though directed at me in this instance, are a sample of the indignity and contempt the government feels for African and working class people who are ‘politically suspect’.”
Mark Cook is a black, ex-convict
prison organizer who was convicted of participation in Brigade activities on
the testimony of a bribed heroin addict. His trials were and continue to be
marked by government misconduct and deceit. Mark Cook had steadfastly maintained
his innocence throughout. His case is still being appealed.
Ed Mead, an admitted GJB member, is in general population at the state penitentiary at Walla Walla. Rita Brown, an alleged member of the GJB charged with numerous bank robberies, is in general population at the Marion County Jail in Oregon. Mark Cook, who denies complicity with the Brigade and has a history of clearly non-violent political activity, had been held in solitary confinement in the most brutal of dungeons in the King County Jail for over twenty one months. Both Rita and Ed are white. Mark Cook is black. His black skin is the sole “justification” for the arbitrary and degrading treat- [part missing] ruling class generally, and in their prisons and jails in particular.
You should inform your ruling class bosses of the following initial demands:
1. Release Mark Cook into general population with full “privileges” immediately.
2. Publish in the two major Seattle newspapers a detailed report of exactly what fire codes are being violated, and what is being done to correct them and bring the jail up to code.
3. Publish in the two major Seattle newspapers detailed plans for the emergency evacuation and rescue of prisoners in the jail in case of fire.
4. Make an examination by licensed medical personnel from outside the jail available to all of the people in segregation. Have licensed medical personnel from outside the jail do a thorough investigation of the medical conditions in segregation and publish a detailed report of their findings in the two major Seattle newspapers. This group should include people from at least the following medical disciplines: Internal medicine, neurology, opthamology, and psychiatry. This group must also include people from the alternative medical community.
You should inform your capitalist bosses that we hold them responsible for these demands, and that if they are not met within a month’s time, we will continue attacking ruling class institutions, capital equipment, and persons throughout the Pacific Northwest. These attacks will continue until these reasonable demands are met.
We urge all progressive people in Oregon and Washington to join with us in this campaign to bring King County Jail up to minimum standards of human decency Some specific things that people can do include:
1. Call Spellman (344-4040) and Waldt (344-3855) daily and harass them about these demands.
2. Continually call the King County Jail (344-2641) and ask if Mark Cook is in general population yet – and why not.
3. Write to Spellman and Waldt; stop by their homes and discuss these demands with them (see addresses at the top of this letter).
4. Call the Fire Marshall (County – 344-2573; City 625-4077) and demand to know why they’ve allowed the jail to remain in operation when it’s in violation of the Fire Code. Demand that they enforce the Code at the jail. (If our homes were in violation of the Fire Code, we’d be thrown out of them for not correcting violations.)
5. Call the Health Department (County – 344-5210; City 625-2161) and demand that they take action to correct the lack of medical attention for those in segregation.
6. Sabotage Spellman and Waldt’s offices, homes, cars, etc.
7. Call and lodge a citizen’s complaint with the County (344-3452) and City (625-[…] Ombudsman.
8. Sabotage (Superglue for example) any and all ruling class institutions (banks, supermarkets, insurance companies, etc.) and their capital equipment until these demands are met.
These actions are by no means petty. If they are taken up by enough of us, they would mean a hundred times more than any bomb. Mass activity will make the difference.
IS ORGANIZED CRIME
JAIL THE JAILERS
Love and Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
December 23, 1977
“Our Losses Are Heavy But We Are Still Here and We Intend To Keep On Fighting”
“The Brigade is composed of
women and men working together toward revolution. At least 50% of our members
are women; at least half of the women are lesbians; at least half of the leadership
and decision-making comes from women; at least 50% of the planning and participation
in all actions is done by women. We have no ’Mastermind’ and no
single leader. Rather, we operate in a collective and democratic manner, using
and developing the skills and capabilities of all of us. We share skills and
jobs so that all of us are working toward being capable of performing any of
the tasks, mental and manual, that our work requires.”
- George Jackson Brigade Political Statement
The ruling class and its authoritarian,
sexist media can’t understand this. All they know is “command and
obey”, bosses and sheep, masterminds and followers, superstars and groupies.
They desperately want to believe that in capturing our comrade John Sherman
they have destroyed us. But, the power of the people is the force of life and
the revolution is the power of the people.
Our losses are heavy but we are still here and we intend to keep fighting! We send all our love and strength to our locked-down comrades.
On the night of the Tacoma bust, a couple of us went to the safe house to clean up. We didn’t have the key so we got in by breaking the glass in the patio door. We had no idea if the Feds were onto the location so we had to hurry but we got everything that was important: the weapons, the equipment, the important documents. Everything but the cat which we couldn’t find.
The Feds found the house on Thursday. The media has said nothing about it being cleaned-out. They desperately want this to be the end of the Brigade but the GJB won’t die. As long as there are rich and poor, as long as people are starving, rotting in prisons and being shot on the street, as long as we are denied the power to control are own lives, the GJB will live!
There is a lot of anger being felt these days. Other folks have been taking action, like the stuff that happened on International Women’s Day. We have decided that the focus of our work right now will be to encourage that anger, to get more folks in touch with it, and to share in expressing it whenever possible.
We are filled with love and rage, fire and smoke.
Love and Struggle,
The George Jackson Brigade
(the rest of us)
Seattle, Easter Sunday, 1978