Death and Life of Hugo Pinell
It was with true sadness that , on August 13th, I received the news that legendary California prison activist Hugo Pinell, was killed in a California prison. This is Jaan Laaman, your political prisoner voice and let me share a few thoughts about the life and death of this extraordinary man.
I never personally knew Hugo Pinell. The simple reason for that is because Hugo Pinell was locked up in California state prisons for 50 years! That is insane. It is hard to wrap you mind around the reality of someone being held captive for 50 years. Even more insane, for most of those years he was held in isolation-segregation cells.
Hugo was just released from segregation and it is being reported that he was killed by two white prisoners. There was a serious uprising or riot that also took place at this time.
Hugo Pinell spent decades teaching, advocating and struggling for Human Rights, justice and dignity for prisoners. He taught and fought for racial and revolutionary unity among all prisoners. Locked up in 1965, like many other prisoners at that time, Hugo became politicized inside the California prison system. In addition to exploring his Nicaraguan heritage, Hugo was influenced by activists like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, as well as his comrades inside, including George Jackson. His leadership in combating the racism and brutality of prison officials made him a prime target for retribution and Hugo soon found himself in the notorious San Quentin Adjustment Center.
While in San Quentin, Hugo and five other politically conscious prisoners were charged with participating in the August 21, 1971 rebellion, which resulted in the assassination of George Jackson by prison guards on that day. Hugo Pinell, Willie Tate, Johnny Spain, David Johnson, Fleeta Drumgo and Luis Talamantez became known as the San Quentin Six. They had a very public 16 month trial. The San Quentin Six became a global symbol of unyielding resistance against the prison system and its violent, racist design. Hugo spent decades in segregation, but continued to work for racial unity and human rights for prisoners.
Personally, I am of course upset that a brother like Hugo was killed, by what I have to assume were some reactionary fascist minded prisoners. But truly what I mainly feel is sadness, profound sadness at this news.
Hugo Pinell is gone. His bid, his sentence is now ended. After 50 years of captivity, that is not a bad thing. Even as an elderly person, in his 70’s, Hugo Pinell died in the struggle. The hands that struck him down, it is reported, were prisoners, but the actual force that killed him was the capitalist police state prison system that holds 2.2 million men, women and children in captivity.
Hugo Pinell, we will remember you brother and your strong life long example of resistance. We will continue this resistance and this struggle for Freedom.
This is Jaan Laaman.” 10372-016 USP Tucson, AZ 85734
REVOLUTIONARY EULOGY by TEXAS CHICANO
POW, POLITICAL PRISONER ALVARO LUNA HERNANDEZ
For COMRADE BROTHER HUGO “YOGI BEAR” PINELL
POWER TO THE PEOPLE! POWER TO OUR FALLEN COMRADE BROTHER HUGO “YOGI BEAR” PINELL! We were saddened with the news that Yogi had been murdered last Wednesday, August 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-SIX and close confidant of Comrade GEORGE JACKSON, also murdered by the State of California on AUGUST 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, 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 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, vicious nature of the State and its stoogies.
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, U.S. Constitution, that must be abolished. 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 tutor 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 this steel –enclosed concrete tombs and concentration camps for the poor.
These state-actor criminals, and other accomplices in crime, that 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 humanity 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, LIFE, TO GO IN VAIN, WE MUST RE-DOUBLE 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 INTER-COMMUNAL 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.
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 OF U.S. FASCISM! ABOLISH ALL PRISONS! BUILD THE UNITED FRONT AGAINST FASCISM! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
HUGO “YOGI BEAR” PINELL, PRESENTE!!!
– By, ALVARO LUNA HERNANDEZ, #255735,
CHICANO POW, POLITICAL PRISONER
IN MEMORY OF GEORGE JACKSON, ALL BLACK AUGUST MARTYRS
AUGUST 21, 19
Alvaro Luna Hernandez
#255735, James V Allred Unit
2101 FM 369 North
Iowa Park TX 76367