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Remembering Herman Wallace

Days the Roman Calendar sees as the end of October to the beginning of November were sacred days for the ancient celts. As part of the holiday of Samhainn, celts would celebrate the last harvest and the beginning of the darker season. They would also honor ancestors and other spirits, as Samhainn was a time in which boundaries were less distinct and spirits moved freely between worlds. Some still celebrate and Samhainn is the basis for Hollowmas and Halloween.

Though originally taking place in summer months, an Aztec festival honoring ancestors has survived for thousands of years as the Days of the Dead/ Dias de los Muertos in its partially colonized consolidation into the same days as All Saints and All Souls Day.

The Industrial Workers of the World, a historic and visionary industrial union, have a tradition called, “In November We Remember,” which is about remembering the fallen comrades and social ancestors of the IWW, including Joe Hill, killed Nov. 19, 1915, as well as many others.

Lost celt and long-lapsed wobbly that I am, I am reflecting on ancestors and spirits. My grandparents, my uncle, a friend of my family, two of my teachers. Political acquaintances who died serving the movements. Named and unnamed queer and “gender-non-conforming” people whose bravery has allowed me to live a little louder and dream a little bigger than I otherwise could have lived and dreamed. Thank you.

Through I didn’t know him personally, I am also still thinking of Herman Wallace who just passed in early October. I have long believed that supporting and including people imprisoned for their involvement in liberatory political movements is essential for building any kind of meaningful change.

As was recently brought up by the North American Anarchist Black Cross Medical Justice Committee, “Herman was just one of many, ageing political prisoners (and prisoners of war) in the United States who are currently being denied adequate medical care and the compassionate release for which they qualify . . . “

“Unfortunately, cases like Herman’s are far too common. Albert “Nuh” Washington, Bashir Hameed  and Marilyn Buck are other recent victims of prison medical neglect. Some, such as Merle Africa, have died under suspicious medical circumstances. More will soon follow, if swift action is not taken. “

I am thinking of all of them. Herman Wallace and his tireless supporters have shown us that a political prisoner falsely accused of murder can be released through the court system, at least when they are nearing the end. The partial victory suggests that its possible to  make this happen sooner and faster for others.  I think we have to try to do our parts and show our own social descendants, the youth of tomorrow, that resisting the status quo doesn’t mean living out one’s days alone and neglected.

  • Herman Wallace Finally Free (2:29)by Mumia Abu-Jamal via Prison Radio 10/4/13
  • FAREWELL HERMAN by Albert Woodfox via moorbey
    “Well, the old man has decided to leave us! I am sure it was a very hard choice for him, who will I serve, the ancestors who have called me home, or humanity whom I love so much?”
“Herman Wallace is laid to rest in New Orleans surrounded by family, friends and fellow Black Panther members. 10/12/13 (photo by Giles Clarke).” via Prison Culture

Read this very important statement below for perspective on going forward. . .

North American Anarchist Black Cross Medical Justice Committee statement on the state of health care of Political Prisoners in the U.S.

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