Defending the San Francisco Eight and the Liberty City Seven is defending the democratic rights of the African community in general.
SAN FRANCISCO, California — Prosecutors in the San Francisco Eight (SF8) case announced that they would be dropping conspiracy charges against five of the eight former Black Panther Party members.
Six of the eight men — Richard Brown, Richard O'Neal, Ray Boudreaux, Hank Jones, Francisco Torres and Harold Taylor — were arrested on January 23, 2007 and hit with charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco cop. The other two, Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim, had already been held as political prisoners for more than 30 years in New York state prisons when they received these charges.
Some of the men had originally been charged in 1975 but were released because it was exposed that the State had fabricated the case against them by torturing the men until it got false statements out of them.
The recent arrests are part of the U.S. government’s attempt to paint a black face on “terrorism” because it recognized the need to contain the African working class — the most consistently revolutionary sector of society within U.S. borders — in the face of the mounting struggles by oppressed peoples around the world to end U.S. and European imperialism’s parasitic grip on their resources.
It is undeniable that the case of the San Francisco Eight has been impacted by the U.S. government’s recent loss in the case of the Liberty City Seven — seven impoverished young Africans manipulated, entrapped and locked up in Miami, Florida by the FBI on fabricated terrorism charges in June 2006. A jury outright acquitted one of the seven and could not convict the rest of the young Africans that former U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzalez claimed were “homegrown terrorists… as dangerous as al-Qaeda.”
The strength that would have emboldened the U.S. government’s case against the SF8 with a conviction of the LC7 has instead become weakness. The government’s attempt to give a black face to terrorism has been beaten back.
However, the fight is not over. While the charges of conspiracy have been dropped against five of the SF8 (making it necessary to dismiss the case against Richard O’Neal who only faced that charge), the State intends to continue with the ridiculous case. It even contends that while the three year statute of limitation for the conspiracy charges have expired, that expiration doesn’t apply to Herman Bell, Jalil Muntaqim and Francisco Torres because they were imprisoned and taken out of the state of California as prisoners.
It will take African masses and other freedom-loving people mobilizing in defense of the San Francisco Eight and the Liberty City Seven — who the State intends to retry — to not only free these African men, but to defend the national democratic rights of the African community.
Uhuru News is the online voice of the International African Revolution. It is dedicated to giving voice to the struggles of the African working class from around the world through its programming in an effort to unite and inform the struggles of African people and forward the International African Revolution.