Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Friday, September 14, 2007

Beyond Jena

By now, we should be three miles down the road past Jena, with contingency planning as to where do we go from here. The role of the vanguard is frontline strategic planning.

There are two roads ahead from Jena:

Either Mychal Bell will be set free or we will be force to escalate to stage 2- the legal battle ahead and defense fund-raising. Then, on the other hand, we must weigh the punitive consequences upon the State of Louisiana, for the loss of good will and fairness under the law.

The public response to the Jena 6 has been nothing less than overwhelming. The planned September 20 demonstration has magnified the issue: Racism and the misuse and abuse of legal powers for the purpose of malicious prosecution.

Many African-American parents are concerned about how their children will be treated in similar circumstances. Therefore, we have exceeded the bounds of Jena, Louisiana to look at the greater issue of why black boys are punished more frequently and more harshly than their peers, both in school and in the courtroom.

Of all the people who are going to Jena, there is one authentic voice of this movement. Mos Def has it all, including the real history of the struggle. He also has a profound passion in his advocacy that might bring America back to its collective sanity, without compromising the voice of black people everywhere. We must hear more of what Mos Def has to say. In fact, Mos Def would be the man that I would chose to speak about this outcry. He will not hee-haw with words.

Also, what some people may not see will be the thousands upon thousands of people who will be wearing black. They will be wearing black, not only in solidarity with the six African-American youth, but in mourning all of our forefathers who were lynched in American history. Forever lives the memory of Emmit Till, lynched at age 14.

Everybody in Texas will be wearing black. It is the biggest non-kept secret in my home state. We will mourn to loss of every black children lynched by the legal system, including Genarlow Wilson and SheQuanda Cotton. And even better, we will have no need to debate the flak behind the Jena 6 Movement. For the first time in over 40 years, we have a viable movement for social justice.

Here in Texas, the dominoes of injustice are falling. Another man, condemned under the law of parties like Kenneth Foster, Jr., was spared execution by the intervention of the new Dallas black district attorney, Craig Watkins, who has also initiated an innocence project that resulted in the release of over 25 innocent men. Runaway justice runs amok in Texas and Louisiana, and Georgia.

The Jena 6 are about the same age as the young Black Panthers were when they first came together to defend the community against racist attacks. Herman Bell, one of the NY 3 (otherwise known as the Black Liberation Army) went to prison over 30 years ago in the COINTELPRO Wars against the Panthers and remains in prison today, almost forgotten. He, too, is a political prisoner and one of my best friends, the same as the Jena Six are a new breed of political prisoners.

They did what they thought they had to do, in order to preserve their dignity and gain some respect. God forbid, they can receive 20 years or more for a schoolyard fight.

Will we fight for them forever? Then how did we forget about Herman Bell who, after all these years of incarceration, is now going to be tried all over again in a different state, just to prolong his incarceration. Thanks to Mos Def, he reminded me of Bell’s current status.


  1. As always Eddie ... you are keeping us focused on the strategic process towards ultimate success. Stay strong brother!

    peace, Villager

  2. Eddie, slowly but surely we are moving in the right direction. Keep up the good work, Dr. King said that he had been the the mountain top, and had seen the promised land. Thanks for being one of our Joshua's in helping us find our way home.


  3. Eddie: You're right, the victor in chess and other strategic encounters is typically the one who thinks the most moves ahead and plans accordingly.

    Even if all charges are dropped against Mychal, he is only 15% of the defendants who make up the Jena Six.

    Moreover, the Panther Party sometimes got bogged down with "Free Huey" campaigns in which the goal of freeing Huey became seen as central to freeing Black people. As Nelson Mandela showed, sometimes Black people are more powerful and determined precisely because our leaders are unjustly in jail.

    We organize politically around manifest injustices that affect the lives of individuals. We organize politically for the purpose of freeing Black people as a whole from bondage.

  4. Great words Eddie in focusing the issue.

    This Jena 6 thing has to be the spring board for a modern movement.

    We let the ball drop after the Million Man March; we can't let it drop again. The crackas down in Jena have awoken a sleeping Giant, and we can't let him slumber again.

    We must fight for the Jena 6 until they are all completely free of even a felony on their record; and we must move to the fight to end the criminalization of young black people, and to de-construct the prison industrial complex.

  5. "Black Out" Day is still on Sept. 20. We will wear black to support our children in this struggle against racist injustice. Let the earth tremble at Jena's feet.

  6. From Jena to Huntsville - We Ain't Through!

    Come to Huntsville, AL to build beyond Jena!

    The mobilization to Jena, Louisiana was a brilliant display of Black Power in motion. But it’s not enough. There are Jena’s throughout the U.S. that are crushing our people with the U.S. brand of justice every day.

    We have to go beyond Jena and develop the capacity to not only respond to every such case in the U.S., but we must also move beyond responding to the acts against us by white power and come up with the organization and strategy that can advance our interests every day.

    This is why we say, “Come to Huntsville and build beyond Jena.”

    This coming weekend, on September 29 and 30 the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), is holding its annual convention in Huntsville, Alabama under the slogan: “Organization is the key; self-determination is the solution!”

    Visit the InPDUM Convention website: