Theory & Philosophy Reading Group XII: George Jackson

Thursday 23 July 2015, 6-7pm: Our most recent reading group was a huge success and we’re super excited to continue our readings highlighting theorists, thinkers, and philosophers who have been imprisoned. These reading groups have been chosen in solidarity with statewide actions against solitary confinement.

For our twelfth reading group, we’ll be reading excerpts from George Jackson’s “Soledad Brother” – a compilation of letters written to his friends, comrades, and supporters.

In 1960, at the age of eighteen, George Jackson was accused of stealing $70 from a gas station in Los Angeles. Though there was evidence of his innocence, his court-appointed lawyer maintained that because Jackson had a record (two previous instances of petty crime), he should plead guilty in exchange for a light sentence in the county jail. He did, and received an indeterminate sentence of one year to life. Jackson spent the next ten years in Soledad Prison, seven and a half of them in solitary confinement. Instead of succumbing to the dehumanization of prison existence, he transformed himself into the leading theoretician of the prison movement and a brilliant writer. Soledad Brother, which contains the letters that he wrote from 1964 to 1970, is his testament. (History is a Weapon)

Readings available for free here. (Read Pages 13-28 and the two letters to Faye on April 4 and 17, 1970, pages 131-151.)

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