by Alvaro Luna Hernandez
Power to the people! Power to our fallen Comrade Brother Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell! We were saddened by the news that Yogi was murdered last Wednesday, Aug. 12, during an alleged “prison riot” at a Sacramento maximum security prison, after Yogi’s recent release from decades in solitary confinement in the California prison system.
Our prison movement, as well as our outside social movement grieves at the loss of one of its most respected and beloved foot soldiers within the belly of this fascist beast in our mutual struggles against the common enemy of the human species – the systems of colonialism, neo-colonialism, capitalism, imperialism and fascism.
Although I never personally met Comrade Yogi, through his letters, writings and actual deeds as one of the San Quentin 6 and close confidant of Comrade George Jackson, also murdered by the state of California on Aug. 21, 1971, during the takeover and “liberation” of the Adjustment Center’s control unit in San Quentin Prison, I met Yogi in revolutionary spirit as we were then – and are now – continuing to build our national prison movement to educate and re-educate the entire prisoner class that we are all victims of social injustice, of the racist, criminal injustice system, and to expose the true nature of prisons under capitalism.
Commitment to our human transformation through social awareness in struggle for the defense of our human dignity and our human rights to build the unity of prisoners across all racial lines as advocates for national and international revolution will bring down against us the entire totalitarian power and brutalities of the fascist capitalist state, from prison guard beatings to horrible food, parole denial, denial of adequate medical attention, false prison disciplinary and criminal charges, to retaliation for exercise of rights, to decades in isolation in solitary confinement’s torture supermax control unit prisons, to being set up by prison guards for murder either by prison pigs themselves and/or by allowing other racist, violent criminal elements from within to commit these heinous criminal acts, so the prison system can then attempt to wash its bloody hands of its murderous deeds.
The fact that hours after Comrade Yogi’s death, California prison guards and other racist, reactionary elements got on “social media” to rejoice at the murder of Yogi, reveals the vicious nature of the state and its stooges.
These cowardly vipers, rats and snakes came all out of their viper holes to rejoice at the murder of Yogi, showing how these racist, reactionary, fascist and vicious forces, inside and outside of prison walls, recognized Comrade Yogi as a living, historical SYMBOL OF RESISTANCE, and a “threat” to this same capitalist system that breeds crime, poverty, racism, class and racial divisions, mass incarceration of the poor – especially people of color who are disproportionately represented in this “New Jim Crow System,” borrowing Michelle Alexander’s phrase from her book, a genocidal, murderous, plantation slavery system under capitalism, sanctioned by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that must be abolished.
I met Yogi in revolutionary spirit as we were then – and are now – continuing to build our national prison movement to educate and re-educate the entire prisoner class that we are all victims of social injustice, of the racist, criminal injustice system, and to expose the true nature of prisons under capitalism.
Yogi was a “threat” to this criminal system, for he feared not to stand up and fight against the fascist state despite these brutal conditions, as being “BURIED ALIVE,” Yogi’s common expression in his many letters to others. His political revolutionary transformation and development, from a misguided, confused youth who was sent to prison at his early age to his status as a “giant” of our prison movement, under the tutoring of COMRADE GEORGE JACKSON and the BLACK PANTHER PARTY, demonstrating a lifetime commitment to our resistance struggles no matter the odds behind these racist, brutal, fascist walls in these steel-enclosed concrete tombs and concentration camps for the poor.
These state-actor criminals and other accomplices in crime who murdered Comrade Yogi are fools – for they didn’t kill him, for Yogi lives on in our hearts, for they will never, ever be able to kill our revolutionary ideas and our aspirations to free ourselves and the rest of humanity from these chains of bondage and slavery that is this wage-theft socioeconomic system under bourgeoisie capitalism, a paradise for the rich and a living hell for the poor, the workers who must sell their labor power to the slave-masters who not only trample on our social and human dignity but are the same capitalist barbarians who are destroying the environment, our ecological systems, wildlife and MOTHER EARTH for private, corporate profit.
Another foot soldier has already stepped up to fill the void left by the tragic loss of our Comrade Brother Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell. I am honored to be featured in the most recent POW, political prisoner poster put out by the Jericho Movement, next to Comrade Yogi.
To all progressive, social revolutionary forces in the United States and internationally, I say to you, do not allow this loss of life to be in vain. We must redouble our efforts at mass mobilization of the oppressed, inside and outside prison walls, and work diligently to infuse our movements with revolutionary energy and determinism, to hold each other by our hands and our hearts and link all of our intercommunal struggles in our oppressed barrios, favelas, ghettos, communities, in prisons, in our universities and around the world, for our struggle is your struggle.
Let us not forget that the vicious, criminal, fascist murder of Comrade Yogi is the same capitalist prison design of fascist, racist violence against the poor as social control mechanisms to eliminate our foot soldiers and to destroy our “prison movement” and suppress our social justice revolutionary movements, in the belly of the nerve center of fascist imperialism. We are the revolutionary vanguard and we must act like one.
To all progressive, social revolutionary forces in the United States and internationally, I say to you, do not allow this loss of life to be in vain. We must redouble our efforts at mass mobilization of the oppressed, inside and outside prison walls.
This Black August we salute and honor and memorialize all our fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their blood – like Malcolm X, Jonathan, George Jackson, the Attica Brothers, Ruben Salazar, Diaz, Ward, Huey Newton, Marilyn Buck, Sacco and Venzetti, Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell and many, many more servants of the people. We will never forget you!
Seize the time! Death to U.S. fascism! Abolish all prisons! Build the united front against fascism! Power to the people!
Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell, presente!
Send our brother some love and light: Alvaro Luna Hernandez, 255735, James V. Allred Unit, 2101 FM 369 North, Iowa Park TX 76367. Visit his website: http://www.freealvaro.net/.
About Alvaro Luna Hernandez
Alvaro Luna Hernandez is a long time Chicano and civil rights leader. While in prison during his youth for a murder he did not commit, Alvaro made his time serve him by educating himself in radical ideology, which helped him to make sense of his circumstances, and the law.
Mumia Abu-Jamal highlights Alvaro in “Jailhouse Lawyers” (City Lights Press 2009) for his legal work on behalf of fellow prisoners. In prison, he has organized hunger strikes, work stoppages and yard take-overs, as well as federal civil rights suits against the Texas Department of Corrections to improve prison conditions.
He was one of the plaintiffs and the major force behind the landmark Ruiz v. Estelle case, in which the court gave a scathing denunciation of prison conditions in Texas.
Alvaro has been locked in solitary confinement for the last 12 years. Of his own struggle, he says: “I believe firmly in the power of the people. If I am to be free, it’s because the people fight to see that happen.”
- From solitary confinement to the streets: California prison reform too late for some(theguardian.com)
- ASCA: Over 80,000 US prisoners in solitary confinement(jurist.org)
- Limits to use of solitary confinement must be catalyst for sweeping change in prisons, says Amnesty International(yubanet.com)