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Jonathan

Jonathan image
Parent Issue
Month
October
Year
1970
OCR Text

brilliant writer, not because there ís a real movement to shatter the prison system. Even this now-notorious trial has little to do with the three btothers' pos sible liberation. They are in prison foT as long as the Adult Authority cares to keep them; the trial is only about sentencing them to death in addition to everytning else. As for Huey's release, few people should be fooled into a new conndence in the legal system. Huey was released because of enormous public pressure and because the authorities feared an outbreak of Latin American-type kidnappings here. Third, it is insulting to consider these men as "cons" with" "nothins to lose". This cannot explain the role of Jonathan Jackson, the young man with the open future, the good grades. Surely he was not concerned and driven to violence in any ordinary sense. Jonathan Jackson thought the entire plan through while he was enjoying his life. Nor can the "desperate man" theory explain the words and deeds of the other two. Both must have known that the risk of death was more immediate in escape than in prison. Common self-interest cannot explain their willingness to die, nor does it explain their testimony in court: "We are the revolutionaries". Why did they want photos taken, if not to communicate their message and example to others? Why did they swear to God their desire for freedom? Their act was not taken because they had nothing to lose, but because they had everything to win. They believed in iustice, they had a visión, they feit solidanty with other people. They were willing to sacrafice their lives as a contribution to a better world rather than waste their lives in acceptance of the status quo. So we are seeing the arnval of people who somehow live beyond death, who know-as Huey said upon release-"you never eet out of life alive". Eldridge called tnem "kamikazes", the "madmen" who step on to the stage of history when the good and responsible people have failed. When people are prisoners of war, they will act Üke warriors. Why do we think it normal for men to die senselessly in Vietnam but abnormal to die for real values here in America? Why do we accept slave revolts when they appear in history books, but reject them when they happen before our eyes? In whatever way we act we should be grateful to these men for being pioneers who set a Standard for what is possible. Let them be called "adventurer' if necessary. It is the adventurer after all who charts and masters the unknown. Their confrontation with the state is only suicidal for the state. If the rulers do not free our prisoners of war and cease their universal aggression, if they do not make peaceful changes possible, then it is tragically clear that all of America will be taken hostage in the vast jailbreak ahead.