The People Got Geronimo Out of Jail--It's Up to the People to Keep Him on the Streets

by Carl Dix

Revolutionary Worker #912, June 22, 1997

Geronimo is back on the streets. Elmer Geronimo ji Jaga Pratt, a former leader of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and for nearly three decades a political prisoner held in America's dungeons for his revolutionary political stance, walked out of jail on June 10, released on bail. This is a tremendous victory for the people.

The authorities have been trying to "neutralize" Geronimo for a long time. They tried to murder him in 1969 during a raid on BPP headquarters in Los Angeles, and then tried to railroad him to prison for the crime of resisting their murderous raid. When that failed, the authorities framed him for a murder that they knew he couldn't have committed. They used a snitch and infiltrator named Julius Butler to aid them in this frame-up. But now, after more than 27 years behind bars, the people have freed Geronimo.

It has been claimed that the reversal of his conviction shows the American system of justice works. This kind of talk turns things upside down. This case shows that the whole criminal justice system in this country is no fucking good. Geronimo was convicted of a crime he didn't commit and held in prison for 27 years. The FBI, the prosecution, the LAPD and others covered up evidence that showed he was an innocent man who was framed up to stop his revolutionary political activity. After 27 long years behind bars, this travesty of justice got dragged so far out into the open that the authorities can no longer deny it and Geronimo finally walks. This ain't a case of the system working; it's a case of Geronimo and those who fought with him against this railroad kicking the system's ass.

This is a serious victory, and one we must celebrate. But we can't go to sleep on it. We can't go to sleep because Geronimo ain't home free yet. The L.A. District Attorney has already filed papers to get a higher court to reinstate the conviction. This could send Geronimo back to jail for life. So this fight ain't over.

And we can't go to sleep because there's a lot more people in jail whose only "crime" was resisting the system's attacks on the people. As Geronimo said when he was released, "There are political prisoners stacked on top of political prisoners in the jails of America." Mumia Abu-Jamal is still on Pennsylvania's death row. Leonard Peltier is still in jail. And these are just two among the many political prisoners who must be freed.

This victory in Geronimo's case came at a great time. The system has unleashed vicious attacks on the people on every front. We need to meet their attacks head on, deal them some defeats and thru the course of resisting these attacks build the kind of movement that can take on and defeat their shit once and for all--a revolutionary movement.

Political prisoners like Geronimo serve as a living link to the high tide of revolutionary struggle from the 1960s. This victory in getting him out of jail is sure to inspire others to get on the revolutionary tip and join the struggle.

Stay on the Case to Keep Geronimo Out of Jail!

The System is Waging War on the People,
the People Must Wage War on the System!

Free All Political Prisoners!

Carl Dix, National Spokesperson, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
(The RW Online does not currently communicate via email.)