This is an appeal for urgent action, for the month of February 1996, on
behalf of US black anarchist prisoner, Ojore N. Lutalo. Ojore is a member
of the Black Liberation Army, which arose in the early 1970s, from the
ashes of the Black Panther Party, after that group's neutralisation by
the forces of the US state. He is currently serving a 40 year (!)
sentence for armed robbery (in 1977, "expropriating monies from a
capitalist state bank in order to finance our activities"), and for
engaging in a gun battle with a drug dealer (in 1975, "to secure monies
to finance one's activities, and to rid the oppressed communities of drug
dealers"). As a consequence of his engaging in the struggle, Ojore became
disillusioned with Marxism, and became an anarchist.
The prison authorities don't like black anarchists (!). Ojore has never
been a prison rebel, and has never been charged with infraction of any
prison regulation. However, in February 1986, Ojore was taken out of the
general prison population, and placed in the Maximum Control Unit (MCU)
in New Jersey State Prison. The MCU is a sensory deprivation unit, about
the size of an average bathroom. Ojore has to remain in this cage for 46
hours out of every 48. There are virtually no privileges for inmates of
the MCU - limited telephone use, controlled visitation and censored mail.
Any movement outside the cage is conducted in shackles, accompanied by
body searches and watched by guards carrying clubs they call "nigger
beaters". The MCU is reserved for political prisoners and prisoners of
the class war, e.g. revolutionaries, prisoner unionists, jailhouse
lawyers, and especially New Afrikan prisoners of war, like Ojore Lutalo.
The MCU is designed, quite simply, to drive people mad - try to imagine
that total isolation, and understand why the government feels it needs to
isolate people like Ojore not only from society, but from the rest of the
prison population, too. Basically, it is his ideas they see as dangerous
- they do not wish other prisoners to be politicised by contact with him.
Ojore has been in the MCU for ten years, now.
Solidarity with imprisoned comrades is one of the most important
tasks facing us as anarchists today. We cannot claim to be advancing the
cause of working class solidarity if we cannot even look after our own!
If we want to build our movement, we will have to take responsibility for
helping strengthen it. Prison is a place a lot of us could be finding
ourselves, one day... let's reach through the walls and help our comrades
stay strong, build networks of mutual support (we can learn a lot from
their experiences) and ensure that the state fails to isolate
revolutionaries from their wider movement.
The Anarchist Black Cross (an international, class struggle
prisoner support network) and the National Campaign to Stop Control Unit
Prisons (in the USA) is building for a blitz on the relevant authorities
throughout February 1996 (the tenth anniversary of Ojore's placement in
the MCU), to demand that he be returned to the general prison population,
and that the MCU sensory deprivation unit in New Jersey State Prison be
We are asking that people contact
Governor Christie Whitman and Commissioner William Fauver
State House Dept of Corrections
Trenton, New Jersey 08625 CN-863
USA Trenton, New Jersey 08625
phone (609) 292-6000 USA
fax (609) 292-3454 phone (609) 292-9860
fax (609) 777-0445
with this request. Mail (letters or cards), phone calls and faxes should
be sent during the month of February only. Make the point that Ojore was
never charged with any institutional violations and has no history of
being a prison rebel. Demand the release of Ojore from the MCU and the
closure of the unit.
Any questions can be addressed to Bonnie Kerness at the
National Campaign to Stop Control Unit Prisons
972 Broad St
Newark, New Jersey 07102
phone (201) 643-3192
fax (201) 643-8924
Reading Anarchist Black Cross can be contacted at
30 Silver St
Reading, Berkshire RG1 2ST
Thanks for taking the time to read this. We'll close with a few quotes
from Ojore himself,
"...one cannot overthrow or undermine any repressive regime from
the confines of a cage since the front is out there and not within".
"...because I'm a militant I'm being subjected to selective
political persecution by the warders here for merely entertaining such
"Here we remain, yesterday's urban guerillas, abandoned in captivity."
"Any movement that does not support their political internees...
is a sham movement."
Solidarity and best wishes,
Reading ABC 5 February '96
*Please circulate this information as widely as possible*