Convicted serial killer Charles Manson, whose deranged followers killed a pregnant movie actress and then stuck a fork into her stomach, was recently in the news when it was discovered that he had a cell phone that had been smuggled to him in prison. Far less attention was given to Georgia inmates who used contraband cell phones to organize and stage a “strike” in several prisons. This uprising struck a chord with members of the “progressive” community, including former Obama official and communist Van Jones.
The “strike” mainly consisted of criminals refusing to leave their cells and do prison labor. They wanted better health care, more educational opportunities, and better pay. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution warned that the next prison strike could turn violent and take lives.
The “statement of solidarity” declared that “mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow,” adding, “Like the old Jim Crow, this system serves to perpetuate institutionalized racism, economic inequality, and political disenfranchisement.” In other words, the criminals who prey on society are now the victims.
This Marxist clap-trap actually takes the form of a book, The New Jim Crow, by the aforementioned Michelle Alexander, a former ACLU official who won a 2005 “Soros Justice Fellowship,” named for the billionaire supporter of Marxist causes in the U.S. and abroad. One of these causes is that criminals deserve to be treated more leniently and that even convicted felons ought to have the right to vote. Soros has provided the bulk of the money behind a well-organized “criminals lobby” in the U.S. that is working to make “prisoners’ rights” into the next big cause of the liberal-left. The prison “strike” in Georgia is evidence that the campaign has entered a new and dangerous phase.
The acknowledgements section of the Alexander book gives special thanks to the Open Society Institute, funded by Soros.
The leading name on the “Statement of Solidarity” with the prisoners in Georgia is a controversial organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which usually defends accused Islamic terrorists. It is an off-shoot of the National Lawyers Guild, which was once officially designated a communist front and still remains the American affiliate of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the old Soviet front.
To show their solidarity with the Marxist terror networks that bombed police stations and killed police officers in the 1970s and 1980s, the CCR’s board and staff recently took out a full-page ad in a “commemorative solidarity booklet” distributed at a memorial service for the dead Communist terrorist Marilyn Buck. It described her as a “fierce warrior, human rights defender and fighter for justice.”
A member of the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army, which carried out a robbery of a Brinks truck in 1981 that killed two policemen and a security guard, Buck had been serving a prison term in California for her involvement in a long list of terrorist crimes. These included the Brinks heist and helping convicted killer Joanne Chesimard escape from prison. Chesimard fled to Cuba, where she is now living under the protection of the Castro brothers. She killed a New Jersey State Trooper and the FBI is offering $1 million for information leading to her apprehension.
When I inquired of the CCR, which also counts George Soros among its largest donors, why they had hailed Buck in such flattering terms, a press representative by the name of Alison Roh Park said, “We recognized her as a human rights leader,” adding, “There are hundreds of thousands of people who did celebrate her life.”
If this is true, then we have a much bigger internal security problem that anyone realizes. It means that, in addition to Islamic terrorists, revolutionary Marxism and its adherents still pose a threat. Significantly, Weather Underground leaders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn also paid tribute to Buck in the “commemorative solidarity booklet.” Several members of the Weather Underground and two Puerto Rican terrorists were at the service in person, paying tribute to their “comrade” and “sister.”
In addition to its praise for Buck, the CCR said that it “wishes to honor the courage and struggle of political prisoners everywhere.” These “political prisoners” are supposed to include David Gilbert of the Weather Underground, still in prison for his involvement in the Brinks robbery and still completely committed to communism. His comrade, the Moscow-trained Kathy Boudin, got out of prison for the same crime on parole in 2003, after such luminaries as Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn vouched for her character and good works in prison. Their child, Chesa Boudin, was raised by Ayers and Dohrn and went to work for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
Interestingly, praise for Buck was featured during the memorial service in the form of a recording of Chesimard that was broadcast and said to have been made in Havana. Chesimard said Buck had played a role in her “liberation” from prison. This means, of course, that supporters of Buck—and the organizers of this memorial service—know Chesimard’s whereabouts, or at least how to get in touch with her. Perhaps they should be reminded by the authorities that harboring a fugitive is against the law (18 U.S.C. § 1071.)
Interestingly, Buck and Chesimard shared the same attorney, Soffiyah Elijah of Harvard Law School, whose bio discloses that she has traveled to Cuba regularly for “the past 13 years.” Elijah used her influence with federal authorities to get Buck out of federal prison for a couple weeks before her death in August, reportedly from a health problem.
At the memorial service, Elijah joked about Buck complaining about her driving during her brief time out of prison. This was supposed to be funny, since Buck was reportedly the getaway driver in the 1981 assault that killed the police officers and security guard. The families of the victims of Buck and her comrades are not laughing.
The CCR’s involvement in all of this puts the prisoners “strike” in Georgia in perspective. These are not innocent people in prison whose appeals are not being heard and are being denied legal representation. Rather, they are convicted criminals being pampered in prison but exploited by lawyers and the far-left. In the Marxist lexicon, prisoners are another “oppressed class” of people in need of “liberation.” This is why they see a bank robber and killer like Buck as some kind of freedom fighter.
Apologists for the inmates have blamed the securing of the cell phones by the prisoners on prison guards, who supposedly sold them for money, but an inquiry might determine there is another source—prison lawyers and/or visitors. “Revolt on the Inside, Revolt on the Outside” is now the cry of radical outside agitators.
Not surprisingly, the spokesperson for the Georgia criminals was Elaine Brown, former chair of the violent Black Panther Party, a group that labeled police officers as “pigs.” The criminal “demands” of the Georgia inmates were echoed by such outlets as The Final Call, the newspaper of the Nation of Islam, and Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!” radio/TV show. Goodman is the recipient of a journalism award named after left-wing journalist and identified Soviet agent I.F. Stone.
Supporters of the prisoners complained that the “strike” was mostly ignored by the major media. This is true. The story does deserve attention, if only to highlight how Soros money is now being used for another nefarious purpose—to glorify and spread unrest in prisons. But that is not, of course, how the media will eventually cover the story. A taste of what is to come can be seen in the report that Elaine Brown’s book about her Black Panther days, A Taste of Power, is now being made into a six-part series by the cable channel HBO. We can expect HBO to highlight how the Panthers served hot breakfasts to hungry kids and not how they waged a war on the police.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column originally appeared on the Accuracy in Media website.