Friday, August 20, 2010


Radical Women and Freedom Socialist Party Statement

In commemoration of revolutionary feminist political prisoner

Marilyn Buck (1947-2010)

August 19, 2010

The world has lost another heroic freedom fighter. Marilyn Buck died on August 3, at the age of 62, just two weeks after being paroled from a prison medical center in Texas. Ms. Buck spent the last quarter-century of her life imprisoned because she was dedicated to fighting injustice.

All her life she fought against capitalism and imperialism. She was a staunch advocate of Black, Native American, Puerto Rican and women's liberation, and social and economic justice for all the afflicted.

From a very young age Buck protested against the Vietnam War; she was a member of Students for a Democratic Society, pressing it to take women's freedom seriously. She actively supported the Black Liberation Army, aiding in the escape of Black Panther leader Assata Shakur.

Because of her militant activism, Buck became a target of COINTELPRO, the infamous FBI program that conducted a secret war against domestic political dissent in the 60s and 70s. Prosecutors later charged her and others with involvement in an armored car robbery, and in a series of non-injury bombings at military and political sites, in protest of U.S. foreign policy in the Mid East and Central America. She pleaded guilty only to conspiracy and destruction of government property. Her sentences amounted to 80 years in federal prison.

Buck continued her organizing work and journalism while she was in jail. She denounced any and all crimes of the U.S. government. She helped her comrades in prison, especially Black and Latina inmates, combat the "U.S. prison plantation system," as she accurately dubbed it.

She was also an artist who wrote magnificent and moving poetry. "I was a political prisoner ... a censored person," she wrote. "I turned to poetry, an art of speaking sparely, but flagrantly." Buck won the poetry prize from the PEN Prison Writing program in 2001. She published a collection of poems titled, Rescue the Word, and translated from Spanish the book, State of Exile, by Cristina Peri Rossi.

The U.S. criminal justice system locked up Marilyn Buck because she was an anti-capitalist radical activist. It killed her through grossly inadequate medical care for her uterine cancer. Through it all, she saw her role as an imprisoned leftist clearly and selflessly:

"Being a political prisoner is not my only work. We still have world views based on long years of experience. . . political subjects and comrades in an ongoing political struggle against imperialism, oppression, and exploitation. . . In many struggles many militants have been exiled yet they have still been considered part of their struggles, not merely objects. We here could be considered internally exiled. Don't lock us into roles as objects or symbols."

Today Radical Women, the Freedom Socialist Party and countless other activists can honor Marilyn Buck by continuing our work in the movements to free political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Lynne Stewart, the Cuban Five, Leonard Peltier, and many more. And we can steadfastly organize against racism and sexism, for a society that seeks to fulfill the potential of all freedom-loving people.

Marilyn Buck, we salute you.

Issued by:

Radical Women, U.S.
625 Larkin Street, #202
San Francisco, CA 94109

Freedom Socialist Party, U.S.
4710 University Ave. NE #100
Seattle, WA 98105

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