[sixties-l] Fwd: Remember Jonathan Jackson

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Tue Aug 29 2000 - 19:47:46 CUT

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    >August 11, 2000
    >Ignore Gore, Bush -- Remember Jackson
    >By Jonathan D Farley <farley@atlas.math.vanderbilt.edu>
    >It's not news. It's probably not even remembered anymore,
    >except by the principal actors and their families. But at
    >the time, August 7, 1970, it caught people's attention like
    >the sound of a shotgun blast in a crowded courtroom.
    >The place: Marin County, California. The Halls of Justice.
    >The person: A 17 year-old whose desire for Life was greater
    >than his desire to continue living, armed with weapons of
    >war and with even more foreboding weapons of truth: the
    >ten-point program of the Black Panther Party. His name:
    >Jonathan Jackson.
    >In 1970, America was at war. Not only in Vietnam, but in
    >the streets of America -- Watts, Rochester, Detroit. And
    >while the embers had cooled from the fires that raged after
    >the Dreamer's death, the conditions that King had preached
    >against -- economic and social inequality -- still persisted.
    >The Black Panther Party's program was the beginning of a
    >solution: free health clinics, free grocery give-aways,
    >free breakfasts for children, independent black schools,
    >and community control of police, in part through the
    >mobilization of legal, armed patrols to curb incidents
    >of brutality, like the episodes we just witnessed in
    >Montgomery, Alabama, and in Philadelphia. (Not to
    >mention the Republican Convention.)
    >While many blacks, and most whites, feared the militancy
    >of the Panthers, mostly due to the spreading of negative
    >propaganda by government agents, 43% of blacks under 21
    >had "great respect" for the Party. It would take a miracle
    >of Biblical proportions for Gore- Lieberman to get such
    >The reason was that the Party didn't merely talk about
    >solving problems: they found answers. Their only obstacle
    >was FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who wrongly branded the
    >Panthers "the greatest threat to the internal security of
    >the country," and mounted a vicious campaign to disable
    >their leadership. One of these leaders was Jonathan's
    >brother, George, a Black Panther sentenced for one year-
    >to-life, ostensibly for stealing $70. He, along with other
    >politically active prisoners, was being railroaded to the
    >gas chamber by the authorities.
    >Jonathan Jackson decided that the roll-call of black
    >martyrs, from Medgar to Malcolm to Martin, to the Black
    >Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Bunchy Carter, would stop
    >here. He walked into the Marin County courthouse with a .38
    >pistol and a carbine rifle, saying, "All right, gentlemen...
    >I'm taking over now," and demanded the release of Black
    >Panther political prisoners.
    >The State's response was as vicious and violent as
    >the Soviet response to the uprisings in Hungary and
    >Czechoslovakia. Jonathan Jackson was shot dead. Angela
    >Davis, falsely linked to the incident by the authorities,
    >went into hiding.
    >George Jackson, who was himself to die in a barrage of
    >police gunfire a year later, wrote: "Terrible Jonathans
    >teethed on the barrel of the political tool, hardened
    >against the concrete of the most uncivilized jungles of the
    >planet -- Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco --
    >tested in a dozen fires.... They will be the first to fall.
    >We gather up their bodies, clean them, kiss them and smile.
    >Their funerals should be gala affairs... We should be sad
    >only that it's taken us so many generations to produce
    >It may seem strange, even wrong, to pay homage to someone
    >who abandoned non-violence in order to save others' lives.
    >But is it really? This summer we honored thousands of black
    >veterans who, on the battlefields of Europe and Asia, used
    >violence to advance other men's aims. We honor Martin, but
    >also Colin Powell, whose Gulf War campaign left 200,000
    >dead. We should not balk or feel ashamed to remember the
    >sacrifice of a man-child, a revolutionary, who saw that we
    >have "to make people organize and resist the ruin of their
    >lives," that "the time for talking has ended, the time for
    >acting has begun." A boy who would certainly have become one
    >of the black leaders whose absence we lament today, had he
    >lived. We can praise his passion and his principles, even
    >if we disagree with his tactics.
    >We should be sad only that it's taken us such a short time
    >to forget him.
    >Dr. Jonathan David Farley, 30, is a graduate of Harvard and
    >Oxford and a mathematics professor at Vanderbilt University.
    >He lectures across the country on "How to Get Straight A's"
    >and the Black Panthers.
    >Copyright (c) 2000 Jonathan D. Farley. All Rights Reserved.

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