Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
The Cointelpro Papers by Ward Churchill & Jim Vander Wall
Publicly and sensationally accused by the FBI of being the “revolutionary mother hen” of a BLA cell conducting a “series of cold-blooded murders of New York City police officers,” Shakur was made the subject of a nationwide manhunt in 1972. On May 2, 1973, she, BLA founder Zayd Malik Shakur (her brother-in-law) and Sundiata Acoli (s/n: Clark Squire) were subjected to one of the random harassment stops of blacks on the New Jersey Turnpike for which the Jersey state troopers are so deservedly notorious. Apparently realizing who it was they’d pulled over, the two troopers — Werner Foerster and James Harper — opened fire, wounding Assata Shakur immediately. In the fight which followed, both Zayd Shakur and trooper Foerster were killed, trooper Harper and Sundiata Acoli wounded. Both surviving BLA members were captured.
Assata was, however, charged with none of the killings which had ostensibly earned her such celebrated status as a “terrorist.” Instead, the government contended she had participated in bank robberies, and the state of New York accused her of involvement in the killing of a heroin dealer in Brooklyn and the failed ambush of two cops in Queens on January 23, 1973. She was acquitted of every single charge in a series of trials lasting into 1977. Meanwhile, she was held without bond, in isolation and in especially miserable local jail facilities. Finally, having exhausted all other possibilities of obtaining a conviction, the authorities took her to trial in New Jersey in the death of trooper Foerster. Despite the fact that Sundiata Acoli had long-since been convicted of having fired the fatal bullets — and medical testimony indicating her wounds had incapacitated her prior to the firefight itself — Assata Shakur was convicted of first degree murder by an all-white jury on March 25, 1977. She was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The travesty imbedded in all this was unmistakable, and Shakur’s circumstances remained the topic of much discussion and debate. This became all the more true on the night of November 2, 1979, when a combat unit of the BLA set the prisoner free from the maximum security building of the Clinton Women’s Prison in New Jersey. It is instructive that this organization of what the police and the FBI were busily portraying as “mad dog killers” appear to have gone considerably out of their way to insure that no one, including the guards, was hurt during the prison break. For her part, Assata Shakur — now hyped by the Bureau as “the nation’s number one terrorist fugitive” despite the state’s failure to link her to any concrete “act of terrorism” — was quietly provided sanctuary in Cuba where she remains today.
Putting aside all the slogans about peace and martyrdom, WHY did a 51-year-old San Gabriel Valley mother and housewife drive downtown last Sunday on a blazing hot afternoon to drench her body in two gallons of gasoline, strike a match and die alone and screaming in a silent Civic Center?
Berkeley Barb (1970)
Two goddesses Pat and Nancy OM and their companion, Larry OM, announced the arrival of OM, Tuesday, on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. Their leader sounded the cry:
“We are the OM United World Brigade come to announce the command of the OM Supreme Lord of the Universe. 6,000 years of guilt-consciousness are to be removed. We have come with our holy bodies to free you from your hang-ups, remove your fears.
“If dicks are lewd, if pussies are obscene, then God is lewd; God is obscene. For it is God who made the dick to fit the pussy; God who has made the pussy to fit the dick. They tell us to cover our bodies, to cover them in fear and loathing. But just as we have removed our clothing in freedom, so too can you remove your clothing of fear and guilt and raise copulation back to the divine level that it had before man’s folly and fear lowered it to the animal.
“They tell us that the sight of the naked body causes sex crimes, that rape, murder, and perversion will result from the sight of our nakedness. But OM tells us that we must restore our lost appreciation for our bodies, our repressed love for ourselves. For nakedness cannot cause crime, cannot cause evil. Nakedness announced to the world can only lead to the Holy Fuck, the reunification with the divine love.
“We do not announce the ‘Sex Orgy.’ We announce the true spirit of the high holy act of fucking. People must be free to fuck without molestation, without fear, without guilt. All prophecies are from OM. All of OM’s prophecies are true.”
The trio of servants of OM walked from Durant to Bancroft on Telegraph causing very little excitement on the Avenue, which evidently found the challenge of nudity easier to take than rocks and tear gas.
The more easily offended Berkeley Police, however, stopped the OM United World Brigade shortly after they hitched a ride at Bancroft. They were taken to jail, charged with failure to identify themselves and licentious and lewd conduct.
“OM lovers are safe from molesters and sex offenders,” said the messenger, “Once they realize this, thousands will heed the call and join the Brigade to shatter the myths of repression sustained for the last 6,000 years.”
Anyone interested in making the first step to heed the call of OM should inquire at 493 62nd St., Oakland, or call 655-6844. Donations for the bail of the arrested Lovers can also be sent to the same address.