Freedom Socialist Party: Assata Shakur, Bradley Manning and the Middle East

June-July 2013 – Volume 34, No. 3


FBI steps up vendetta against Assata Shakur

June 2013

Thirty-six years after Assata Shakur’s frame-up conviction for the murder of a state trooper, and 34 years after her escape from prison to Cuba, the FBI has made her the first woman placed on its list of most wanted terrorists. It also doubled the bounty for her capture, to $2 million. It’s a chilling alert that the FBI’s sinister and treacherous role in this country against political rebels is on the increase.

Black revolutionary Assata Shakur, the aunt and godmother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, is not and never was a terrorist. Now 65 and a writer and editor, Shakur is one of the many civil rights radicals of the 1960s and ’70s who led heroic and dangerous battles against racism, police brutality, and poverty — and were mercilessly persecuted by police, railroaded in court, and discredited in the media.

Black militants, including those connected with the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army as Shakur was, were especially targeted by the FBI’s notorious COINTELPRO operation, tormented in prisons, and frequently assassinated.

The FBI’s labeling of Shakur as a terrorist shows that it is once again upping the stakes for dissent. Its menacing campaign must be answered by, among other things, a fearless defense of Assata Shakur.


Honor gay hero Bradley Manning

June 2013

In April, former grand marshals for San Francisco Gay Pride made nominations for marshals for this year’s parade and voted, as usual. A winner was Bradley Manning, the gay soldier who leaked classified documents that proved war crimes by the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan, among many other offenses.

The president of the SF Pride board, Lisa Williams, immediately countermanded the decision. Williams’ career is in managing Democratic Party campaigns, which probably explains why her statement reads as though it was dictated by the prosecutor in Manning’s case.

Most Pride events have transformed into corporate-sponsored extravaganzas that suppress the original radical messages of gay liberation. But the battle for the soul of Pride lives on. San Francisco organizations from ACT UP to the gay-centered American Legion Post 315 protested the disavowal of Manning. A New York City coalition including the Freedom Socialist Party is organizing a Bradley Manning Pride contingent there.

With his court martial set to start on June 3, Manning deserves the support of his LGBT sisters and brothers — and the support of every peacenik and anti-imperialist. To find out about a June 1 rally at Fort Meade and other support events,


Spreading Middle East conflicts: US to blame

June 2013

Not one day passes without new torment in the Middle East. Israel brazenly bombs Syria, assassinates Iranian nuclear scientists, and invites the U.S. to nuke Iran. Civil war continues to rage in Syria, escalating tension and deadly turmoil in Turkey and Lebanon. Millions of war refugees flee for their lives to bordering lands.

More than anything else, the widening and deepening conflicts in the region are a result of the U.S. wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, which have inflamed old tensions, created new ones, and emboldened regional bullies the U.S. considers its allies.

What does Empire America want from the Middle East? Oil, other vital natural resources, and control over a geopolitically strategic location on the world map. More urgently now, it needs the colossal markets that war creates for the arms industries. Capitalism is determined to save itself.

Also determined are the rebels against foreign and domestic despots in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, and Iran. So don’t believe for one minute that when the United States “intervenes” in the Middle East it has anything to do with “helping out.” Listen instead to the grass-roots rebels in Syria who urge us, “Keep the U.S. out of our country!”

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