Prison resistance and black self-defence

July 13, 2017 — News

Written by Institute of Race Relations

Read new and re-released material from Race & Class on black prison resistance, the role of the Black Panthers, and the influence of US rebellions on the struggle in the UK. 

rc-july-2017As the USA witnesses a resurgence of ‘law and order’ rhetoric, Toussaint Losier, assistant professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, publishes this month in Race & Class a double-length article based on his original research into the rebellions, which predated Attica, in New York City jails in 1970. These revolts in five facilities, against overcrowding, inhumane conditions and the practice of preventive detention – against political dissidents and those too poor to afford bail were influenced by the politics of the Black Panther Party and Young Lords Party. These radical prison movements drew on discourses of human rights, multiracial unity, national liberation and joined calls for broader social transformation, click here.

To coincide with the publication of this new research, Race & Class makes available a series of pieces on resistance to black incarceration in the USA and UK.

  • To read interviews carried out in 1992 with key members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense – Geronimo ji-jaga Pratt (now deceased) and Mumia Abu-Jamal – click here.
  • To read reflections on the lineage of radical black politics forged in the harsh conditions of the prison industrial complex from former prisoner Stephen Jones, who was politicised from age 13 during many stints in Californian jails – click here.
  • To read the manifesto from Attica during the famous 1971 riot when prisoners seized control of the facility – click here.
  • To read how US Black Power influenced the 1976 Spaghetti House Siege in the UK and later the prison resistance of Shujaa Moshesh, one of the gunmen, click here.

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The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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