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Woodstock Nation Notes

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It has taken a 17 year-old warrior with guns to bring justice into an American courtroom at last. Jonathan Jackson, lawyer for hispeople put repression on trial with his opening remarks to the Court. This is u, gentlemen. I've got an automatic weapon. Everybody freeze. And before this frozen scène, as frozen as any historie tableau, James McClain placed his hand on his gun and offered his testimony: Take these handcuffs off me. I've been in San Quentin for years and I want to be a free man, so help me God." And then: "We are the rey olution... Free the Soledad Brothers by 12:30 tomorrow." And so began a new stage of combat ar inst oppression. These were the first jrisoners-of-war to attempt liberating tnemselves and others with guns in hand, consciously deciding that death-instruggle is better than life-in-solitary. That they feil minutes later, killed by maniacs who would rather unleash a slaughter than allow their system to be defïed, makes little difference. They strode beyond the world as we knew it. Huey says, beyond the experience of Watts, oí Detroit, beyond even the most romantic fantasies of young whites. In death they redefïned life. Where they feil, we begin. The reactionaries are covering the truth of this event quicker than they covered the corpses. The Warden calis these men hoodlums and crimináis. In the words of the yellow press, their lives were a "synthesis of numan violence, seemingly ordained to conclude in an incident of fatal violence." McClain, after all, had a pñor record of assaulting policemen. Jonathan Jackson, the ' good student" with no criminal record, is passed off as a case of extreme family loyalty. (He is the brother of George Jackson, one of the Soledad 3.- Ed.) Even opinión in "enhghtened" and "radical" circles has been slow to grasp the positive significance of this event. Many people unconsciously echo the theory of a Cal researcher, put forward just this week, that young blacks are psychologically bent on suicidal confrontation. Writers Uke Julius Lester mourn that Panther-style rhetoric fires the fuel of anger to self-destructive extremes. Some ask, why should they be so desperate and irrational when the release of Huey Newton has just proven that the system can be budged? Even if the desperation is understandable, others ask, why did they adopt such an insane plan? First, what about their escape plan? Was it so irrational? Suppose they had driven to the San Francisco airport, demanded a flight to Cuba or Algeria, and taken their hostages with them, promising their safe return when the plane landed and the Soledad Brothers were freed? Impossible? Not in the context of recent skyjackings and kidnappings. In fact the only apparent reason they were killed was because individual guaras did not follow their superiors' orders to avoid a shoot-out. If the pólice could control themselves a bit more, if they had followed the desires of the now-dead judge, we might have witnessed a successful jailbreak-Kidnap-skyjack-prisoner exchange. Second, whatever the exact plans were, in fact, any such escape plan is quite rational when compared to the possibilities of an unknown prisoner "excaping" through the legal system. The pnsoners live under the arbitrary and sadistic rule of the Adult Authority, a body which is virtually beyond pressure. The case of the Soledad Brothers only shows the surface of prison oppression to the public; and, quite frankly, it has attracted a margin of interest because George Jackson just happens to be a continued on page 35 Red Star Sister Celia Sánchez Moa Sinclair Expresses Revolutionary Solidarity with Black Panther Party Minister of Delense Huey P. Newton upon his being cut loóse aíter his ilegal imprisonment fr three years.