Free maroon!

Illustration by Visual Artist Zeque Penya

Russell Maroon Shoatz refuses to be gagged!

For Immediate Release

November 18, 2014

Greetings Maroon Supporters,

Thank you for your unwavering commitment to free Black political prisoner and revolutionary Russell Maroon Shoatz.  We appreciate your resilient work to achieve a historic people’s victory with the release of Maroon into general population on Feb. 20, 2014.  He was brought back from a state of living death after 22 consecutive years of solitary confinement.

The control unit was developed specifically to silence and bury prisoners alive with revolutionary politics – like Maroon and hundreds of other U.S. political prisoners.  Maroon refused and still refuses to be gagged. Our work has just begun. 

We will not allow the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC) and the state of Pennsylvania to GAG political prisoners like Maroon and Mumia Abu-Jamal, or our movement with their intimidations, arbitrary regulations, or even their torture. Their disregard for international law and even the U.S. constitution has always been clear, but we consider their newest unconstitutional regulation – the “Silence Mumia Law “ (http://legiscan.com/PA/text/HB2533/2013) which targets the most articulate and outspoken political prisoners – is, for us, a call for increased action and unity.

Furthermore, the PA DOC continues to make it clear that Maroon is Enemy #1. The Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Greene, Louis Folino, has written that he expected and wanted Maroon to die in solitary confinement.  Folino was using Maroon as an example of what happens when people resist, organize, educate, write, and attempt to live freely – from either side of the wall. 

Therefore, Maroon is not safe. 

Since his release into general population, Maroon has remained in a state of limbo, awaiting settlement of his lawsuit against the PA DOC.  To protect himself, he chose to stay silent about his experiences: surviving 30 years of non-stop torture.  Despite his incredible strength and continued survival, those years still hurt and crippled him.  He doesn’t want the PA DOC to throw him back into a solitary control unit for arbitrary, frivolous, or fabricated reasons. But Maroon is aware, as are we, that there can be few if any guarantees that the PA DOC will now behave in an honest or non-prejudicial manner.

Maroon is still a target

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections continues to put Maroon in real danger of getting thrown back into solitary confinement. In the course of recent communications, they have imposed a non-specific and arbitrary regulation forbidding him from associating with any prohibitive groups or organizations.  They refuse to identify which groups or organizations might be covered by this regulation.

Day by day Maroon grows stronger, acclimating to his new life outside of the control unit. As a 70-year-old survivor of state sponsored torture, he is re-learning how to balance himself without chains, walking up and down stairs using muscles that he hasn’t used in years. Even though Maroon prepared himself for this – the beatings, the torture, the physical and psychological effects of the control unit – he underestimated the extent to which long-term torture would cripple his body. The non-stop acts of dehumanization that occur while contained in a tiny cell encourages recidivism by removing one’s ability to function in society – are tough to survive and overcome.

However, they could not, and have not, crippled his mind.  Those of us who continue to gain insight and inspiration from his writings, interviews, and examples have come to know this so well.

Since Maroon’s release into general population, and especially as Maroon’s lawsuit was in its early stages post-release, the International Movement to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz was reticent to speak out and issue new campaign updates. In addition, as we mourned the passing of Maroon’s long-time supporter Fred Ho, we took Maroon’s example and remained quiet during a natural state of transition.

We are now ready to break the silence.

We are excited to announce that the Movement is now driven by the strong support and vision of young and creative new members.  This is not to take away from the work of older members, who still contribute much to the ongoing campaign. Together, we are moving into the next phase of our work: to demand the unconditional release of Russell Maroon Shoatz. This must be a new beginning for Maroon and for the movement to free him. 

We write this Winter 2014 greeting to re-establish contact, and ask all of you to re-commit yourself to intensified work: to once again join this winning campaign and take us all the way to victory and freedom!
 

Maroon Must Come Home!  Maroon Must Be Free!!


THE fight Continues

To support the campaign & help Free Maroon, email us at: freemaroonshoatz@gmail.com

Write to Maroon: Russell Maroon Shoatz/s, # AF 3855, P.O. Box 244, Graterford, PA 19426

Who is Maroon? 

Russell Maroon Shoatz is a senior citizen, grandfather, great-grandfather, human rights advocate, and published author, being targeted and punished for his political beliefs and revolutionary at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Graterford. He was originally imprisoned in January 1972, after years of playing a leading role in the Black freedom movement of his native Philadelphia, PA. As was an endemic pattern during the 1960s & 70s, prominent community organizers doing civil and human rights work were prime targets of the FBI's illegal Counter-Intellience Program (COINTELPRO), with special focus on Dr. Martin Luther Jr., Malcolm X, and the Black Panthers — which Shoatz was a member of at the time. He was held for over 22 years in solitary confinement in cruel, arbitrary & unjust torture. Because of the efforts of the International Movement to Free Maroon, Shoatz was placed into general population in February 2014. He currently suffers from impaired vision and is refused surgery for his cataracts. The fight for this elder's freedom is a continued struggle. Join the growing International Movement to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz! 


I AM MAROON

  is the call to escaping enslavement to the human and ecological destruction caused by capitalism and male dominance.

WE ARE MAROON

   is a solution and a revolutionary matriarchal means of creating a world centered on creation, nurturing, self-reliance, mothering, and indigenous ways of living in harmony with mother earth.

Quilombo, Brazil


MAROON UNCHAINED

A People's Victory!

For immediate release:

February 21, 2014

Maroon has been released from the torture of solitary confinement for the first time in 22 years! #FreeMaroon

The international movement to free political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz from solitary confinement has achieved an historic victory: on Thursday, February 20, 2014, Maroon stepped into general population for the first time in 22 years. There is no doubt; this is a PEOPLE'S VICTORY!

The coordinated efforts of Scientific Soul Sessions (SSS) and the Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz – particularly those organized groups in NYC, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia – showed the true power of the people. When SSS (a multigenerational collective of revolutionaries prefiguring a new society and working directly with the lessons laid out by Maroon) sparked this international movement three years ago, Maroon’s name was hardly known beyond a small circle of dedicated prisoner rights activists. Over the past years – on the political, artistic, and cultural fronts – we have seen the founding of the Campaign, the funding and initial coordination of Maroon’s Legal Team, the publication of Maroon’s collected essays, and the organization of countless events and soul sessions across the US.

These achievements are only the beginning. By answering the calls to action, we created a tidal wave of momentum that must be maintained until it is unstoppable. The power of the people proved to be a far greater force than the system, which would have been happy to see Maroon die without ever again feeling the embrace of his loved ones.

In a matter of weeks, Maroon went from a feces infested dungeon inside the criminally insane Restricted Housing Unit at SCI Graterford with nothing – not even a blanket – to General Population because of the people’s vigilance, voice, and committed support to fight this injustice and stop the torture of Russell Maroon Shoatz. 

This proves our strength to make the seemingly impossible possible. It proves that the pressure to free Maroon from solitary was greater than the state ever anticipated. The next step must be to demand Freedom Now for Russell Maroon Shoatz. We won’t allow less than complete freedom from incarceration for this freedom fighter and inspiring leader. Let us celebrate this victory by demanding FULL freedom for Russell Maroon Shoatz! We must stand firm and be prepared for our next steps and calls to action. Thank you to all for your committed and generous support; our future work together must be stronger still!

FREE MAROON!

Scientific Soul Sessions | @ScientificSoul 

NYC Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz

International Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz


Scroll Below to Learn About Maroon's Unchaining & Revolutionary Maroonage 

Russell Maroon Shoatz, 70 year old grandfather, great-grandfather, human rights advocate, and published author, was just moved out of solitary confinement for the first time in 22 years! He still remains imprisoned in PA. 

Russell Maroon Shoatz, 70 year old grandfather, great-grandfather, human rights advocate, and published author, was just moved out of solitary confinement for the first time in 22 years! He still remains imprisoned in PA. 

Free Russell Maroon Shoatz & All Political Prisoners! 

"All prisons are harsh, demeaning, & brutal institutions. There are no privileges allowed to their captives that can make that reality go away. To lose one's freedom is a fate second only to losing one's life. That's why all contemporary societies use prison as the ultimate punishment - short of death. But history records the stories of multitudes who risked their lives to obtain or regain their freedom."  — Russell Maroon Shoatz 


A MESSAGE FROM MAROON

“This was the third strike – 

now we either go hard, or go home.”

January 22, 2014 

Greetings! A very happy new year to all my supporters and loved ones!

By now you are aware that I am being housed in an underground cell at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Graterford, in a part of the Restricted Housing Unit known as J Block, which is used to house the criminally insane.

 My rapid response team has also got word to you about the conditions in this dungeon: a few days after my arrival I cleaned the human feces off the walls of my cell with my own hands; when it rains, water leaks through a hole in the roof and floods my cell – with heavy rains expected, I am sure this problem will only get worse.

The screaming and banging coming from the surrounding cells of mentally challenged inmates, plus the 24-hour fluorescent lights, make it impossible to concentrate, let alone sleep.

Those of you who have been closely following my situation know that I am being subjected to these conditions DESPITE successfully completing the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC)’s 60-day “step-down” program at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Frackville, which was conducted with the express purpose of releasing me from the hole into the general prison population.

My current circumstances make two things very clear:

First, that the Department of Corrections CANNOT be trusted to play by their own rules; Second, that my isolation in the hole has NOTHING to do with administrative or disciplinary concerns but is instead a punishment for my political beliefs, and the prison administration’s fear that these beliefs will reach other prisoners.  They fear that I will awaken the dead...

 For years, the PA DOC has tried to crush my fighting spirit by keeping me locked up in the hole. This move to SCI Graterford – my third transfer in six months – is just the latest in a series of attempts to test my resolve; it is also, in my opinion, the third strike.

I am here to tell you all that my will is holding strong. I am a political prisoner: imprisoned because I stood up against oppression, and I continue to support all those who stand up against repression everywhere.

My perspective is one thousand years of struggle. My commitment has been – and will always be – the liberation of black people. In that spirit let me say that 2014 is not going to be a year of taking abuse and torture lying down: it is a year in which we either go HARD, or go HOME!

I am calling on you, my supporters, loved ones and friends, to answer that call. This year I am asking you all to do whatever it takes to end the torture of 23-hour isolation and bring an end to this miscarriage of justice.

STRAIGHT AHEAD,          

Russell MAROON Shoatz


January 16, 2014:

70-year-old Russell Maroon Shoatz, held in solitary confinement for a total of 30 years, has – for the third time in less than six months – been moved to a new prison amidst promises of eventual release into general population but actual emergency-level, dungeon-like conditions. Nobel Peace prize recipients Jody Williams (USA) and Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina) have now joined the call for immediate release made by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and two additional Nobel laureates;

Maroon supporters remain vigilant & concerned about the political game-playing behind these delays. 

"Maroon’s new cell at SCI Graterford is under the ground, with human waste on the wall and no blanket in a freezing cell as his greeting upon arrival," reported Ayanna Ra’uf, Maroon’s fiancé and spokesperson, who was able to talk briefly with him on the phone.

Even the most conservative prison guards and officials at SCI Frackville, where Maroon was housed over the past months, were shocked by the sudden move; they had been won over to the justice of his cause by his cooperation and full adherence to prison regulations during a sixty-day step-down program which Maroon completed in late November. Despite consistent promises that the step-down program, if properly completed, would lead to a formal recommendation for release from solitary, once again the actions of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) reveal more continued isolation and roadblocks. 


If you want to add your name to the PETITION to FREE Russell Maroon Shoatz, please send us your name(s) & affiliation(s) at the end of this page. 

January 14: MAROON has been TRANSFERRED AGAIN - from SCI Frackville to SCI Graterford! 

MAROON’S PROCESS OUT OF SOLITARY THWARTED BY PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS!


Please send cards and letters of support to: Russell Maroon Shoats, # AF-3855,

P.O. Box 244, Graterford, PA, 19426.

ACTION ALERT: 

1. CALL, FAX & SEND SEPARATE LETTERS TO SCI Graterford Superintendent Michael Wenerowicz AND SCI Graterford RHU J Block Manager Mr. Terra at (610) 489-4151, 

SEND SEPARATE LETTERS TO SCI Graterford Superintendent Michael Wenerowicz and RHU J Block Manager Mr. Terra at P.O. Box 246, Graterford, PA 19426-0246

FAX: (484) 961-7907, to let them know that: 

  • We are concerned members of the community who are monitoring the situations involving inmate Russell Shoatz and the conditions he is being held under,

  • We are expecting that SCI Graterford will be accepting the information regarding Shoatz’ successful completion of the step-down program at SCI Frackville, and their recommendation that he be released from Restricted Housing into General Population,

  • We hold PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel and PA DOC administrators responsible for failing to fulfill their promises to release Russell Shoatz into General Population,

  • We request that you immediately remove Russell Shoatz out of the J Block cell for the criminally insane because he doesn’t belong nor deserve to be there, the conditions are torturous, and he is not under Disciplinary Custody, AND

  • We also request that SCI Graterford transfer Russell Shoatz into General Population as promised by Secretary Wetzel and PA DOC authorities. 

2. CALL PA DOC SUPERINTENDENT JOHN WETZEL at (717) 728-4109 & SEND LETTERS OF CONCERN with RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED to 1920 Technology Parkway, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050, to let him know that:

  • We are frustrated and angry at the continued delays, and unfulfilled promises, regarding inmate Russell Maroon Shoatz.

  • His consistent good faith efforts to abide by all State Correctional procedures for transfer to general population have successfully earned him the support of prison official and administrators.

  • In light of recent US Department of Justice findings that Pennsylvania State Prisons have used solitary confinement in direct violation of inmates’ constitutional rights, and United Nations guidelines regarding the illegality of using restrictive housing for punitive, long-term purposes, we write with concern that Shoatz’ continued placement in restricted housing constitutes an act of torture: cruel and unusual punishment.

  • As voters and community members, we demand Shoatz’ immediate release into general population, and will continue to closely monitor this situation until Shoatz’ conditions are safe and legal.

3. SEND LETTERS, POSTCARDS, & SHORT, SIMPLE MESSAGES OF SUPPORT & LOVE to: Russell Maroon SHOATS, # AF-3855, P.O. Box 244, Graterford, PA 19426-0246. 

Political support for Maroon is broadening and intensifying, as a recent Holiday Call – signed by the five Nobel laureates and assorted local clergy and lay people – demanded his immediate release from solitary, stating “the time has long since passed” since such a transfer should have taken place.

Signatories to the Call include Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry of House of the Lord Church (New York), founder of the African People’s Christian Organization & founding chair of the National Black United Front; Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, President of the Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of Metropolitan New York, Vice President, Muslim Alliance in North America; Dustin Washington, Director of the Community Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee (PA); Rev. David Billings, life-long civil rights activist & co-founder of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (Mississippi); Rev. Graeme Brown, former President of the Federal Theology Seminary of Southern Africa; Stacia Murphy, former President of the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence; Rev. Daniel Jantos, United Church of Christ (Vermont); Rev. Dr. Clyde Kuemmerle, Ecclesia Ministries of New York; Safiya Bandele, former Director of the CUNY/Medgar Evers Center for Women’s Development; Linda Arinna Weisman, Buddhist minister & author (California); Sister Sheba Haven (California), and many others. 

Painting by Ziedah Diata

AS TORTURE INCREASES, SO DO CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CLERGY, HUMAN RIGHTS LEADERS & FIVE NOBEL PEACE LAUREATES CALL MAROON’S TREATMENT AN UNJUST “VIOLATION” OF UN PRINCIPLES

January 14, 2014: Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections TRANSFERRED MAROON AGAIN - from SCI Frackville to SCI Graterford. Maroon was told he would be released into general population, then was sent to another prison instead! He remains in solitary confinement in arbitrary and unjustifiable torture.

January 16, 2014: 70-year-old Russell Maroon Shoatz, held in solitary confinement for a total of 30 years, has – for the third time in less than six months – been moved to a new prison amidst promises of eventual release into general population but actual emergency-level, dungeon-like conditions. Nobel Peace prize recipients Jody Williams (USA) and Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina) have now joined the call for immediate release made by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and two additional Nobel laureates; Maroon supporters remain vigilant and concerned about the political game-playing behind these delays.

“Maroon’s new cell at SCI Graterford is under the ground, with human waste on the wall and no blanket in a freezing cell as his greeting upon arrival,” reported Ayanna Ra’uf, Maroon’s fiancé and spokesperson, who was able to talk briefly with him on the phone. Even the most conservative prison guards and officials at SCI Frackville, where Maroon was housed over the past months, were shocked by the sudden move; they had been won over to the justice of his cause by his cooperation and full adherence to prison regulations during a sixty-day step-down program which Maroon completed in late November. Despite consistent promises that the step-down program, if properly completed, would lead to a formal recommendation for release from solitary, once again the actions of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) reveal more continued isolation and roadblocks.

“While we are glad that the lawyers for PA DOCS seem amenable to Maroon’s transfer to general population,” noted Ra’uf, “we cannot take anything they say for granted. Yesterday they told members of Maroon’s legal team that all prison officials involved in the decision-making process support Shoatz’ release into general population, and that he could be out of solitary in approximately one month’s time. Given the fact that we have been told this recently at least twice before, it is hard to keep hoping that they will do the right thing.” Litigation against PA DOC challenging Maroon’s continued restricted housing is set to move forward later this month.

The time is now to FLOOD SCI Graterford with letters, postcards and notes SENT TO Maroon HIMSELF, with the simple message – to him and to the authorities – that he is in our thoughts, and that we are watching and closely monitoring this unacceptable turn of events. We must let Maroon and SCI Graterford Superintendent Michael Wenerowicz know that a continuation of business as usual WILL NOT STAND. As we count down thirty days to the latest promise of when Maroon should be moved into general population, we must prepare to let all the authorities in Pennsylvania and the DOC know that no one’s career can be built on the back of Maroon’s continued torture.

THE FALSE PROMISES & LIES MUST END NOW!

MAROON’S TORTURE MUST END NOW!
SOLITARY CONFINEMENT MUST END NOW!! 

MAROON’S PROCESS OUT OF SOLITARY THWARTED BY PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

December 2013: 

It is with some surprise and sadness that we must report that once again the progress of wrongfully incarcerated Russell Maroon Shoatz has been delayed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), thereby continuing his over twenty years of torturous uninterrupted solitary confinement. On Thursday, December 19, 2013, prison officials at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Frackville informed Maroon that the prison would not release him into its general population, claiming that there is another prisoner at SCI Frackville who Maroon has a “separation” from (the two cannot have contact with one another). For this reason, SCI Frackville stated that the prison would not be sending the required documentation for review of his solitary confinement to PA DOC Secretary Wetzel. Instead, Maroon was told that SCI Frackville intended to transfer him to another prison that could then consider him for release into the general population.

After Maroon’s successful completion of a prison-initiated “step down program” designed for the very purpose of ending his long-endured torture, his family, friends, and legal team were cautiously optimistic that the consistently positive reports coming directly from prison authorities would result in his humanitarian release, at least into prison general population. Every twenty days during the sixty-day “step down” initiative, Maroon’s case came under administrative review, and he passed all areas of concern – including the evaluations of some of the most conservative of guards – with flying colors. SCI Frackville’s position is contrary to what Maroon had previously been told: complete the 60-day step-down program successfully, and the formal review of his solitary confinement will occur. Now, prison officials are declaring that it is necessary to transfer Maroon for the third time in less than a year despite his perfect record of compliance.

Maroon has carefully observed, and supporters have followed, the strictest of adherence to Pennsylvania Department of Corrections policies, in a clear decision to abide by the DOC efforts to correct an inhumane injustice which has begun to gain world-wide attention. Maroon continues to act in good faith. This callous, bad-faith reversal on the part of the Program Review Committee puts the case back into the court system and the political sphere – where we must once again raise the stakes in spotlighting this unprecedented and cruel behavior. As we are well aware, the continued solitary confinement of Maroon violates every United Nations and international legal guideline against the treatment of the incarcerated, especially long-held prisoners who are now senior citizens.

 As the world mourns the passing of unrepentant former political prisoner Nelson Mandela, and prepares for the season celebrating peace on earth, good will towards others, this news raises the question of who is truly behind Maroon’s continued torture? Free Maroon Campaign chair Matt Meyer noted, “As someone fortunate enough to have met with President Mandela personally, and in direct contact with South African Archbishop Tutu who remains extremely concerned with the ongoing condition of Russell Maroon Shoatz, it is clear that those in Pennsylvania in positions of power have not taken to heart the most basic human rights issues involved. Mandela always reminded us that the truest test of the legitimacy of a government is how it treats its prisoners. Archbishop Tutu, so well known for his commitment to reconciliation, understands that this set-back, however temporary, reveals that the current government of Pennsylvania has utter disregard for basic decency and the lives of its less well-to-do citizens.”

Maroon asks that all supporters and friends be sure to “stay vigilant.” As we work to protect our incarcerated elder, let us recommit ourselves to creative and powerful work in Maroon’s tradition and upholding his legacy – keeping our focus “straight ahead” towards freedom.




Scientific Soul Sessions believes, on purely humanitarian grounds, that all prisoners who have served lengthy terms without incident and who have reached a certain "elder" status should be released. There is no security or rehabilitative rationale for continued jailing of people in their late sixties and seventies, with deep ties to their communities and decades of good time served behind bars. 

Maroon The Implacable: The 1st published collected writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz. 

We believe in truth and reconciliation, and a process that understands that in order for there to be lasting peace in our twenty-first century societies, we must face the truth about the uprisings of forty years ago. Russell Maroon Shoatz is not in jail because of any criminal activities. He is in jail because he is a revolutionary. 

We believe that all people who believe in peace and nonviolence must work for justice, especially in these most grievous cases of injustice and especially at times when oppressive forces would have us distanced from colleagues and comrades such as Maroon, who are cast as "violent criminals" unworthy of our support. 

Russell Maroon Shoatz's release must become a priority for all human rights activists, peace activists, prodemocracy advocates, environmentalists, anti-imperialists, students, churchgoers, and progressive Parliamentarians. Let us not rest until justice is done. 

50+ years in jail - 50+ years old = OUT! 

To mark Maroon’s 70th birthday on August 23, 2013, three Nobel laureates - Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, President Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor, & Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland - sent a letter to PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel that read, in part: “We affirm, in the strongest possible humanitarian terms, that now is the time for the immediate & unconditional release from solitary confinement & restricted housing of Russell Maroon Shoatz. After decades of solitary confinement – including the past 23 consecutive years – there is no reason for further delay. Continued confinement in 23-hour-a-day isolation is nothing short of torture.”

The NYC campaign meets monthly. To find out when the next meeting is, send us an email.


Revolutionary Maroonage 

Scientific Soul Sessions believes in the idea of maroonage: becoming a maroon in today's society & breaking from the many layers of oppression in the heteropatriarchal capitalist exploitative matrix that we live in. Russell Maroon Shoatz explains the historical maroon struggle in his 1995 essay, "I Am Maroon!":

“Historically, maroon came to be used as a generic term for slaves who became fugitives from their owners in North and South America and the Caribbean Islands… Theirs was a struggle that was no less than heroic! The efforts of these men, women and children cannot be matched in world history. Their struggle was only eclipsed by that of revolutionary Haiti (1791-1804). There, the revolutionary slaves and their maroon allies had a clearer idea of how to consolidate and extend the gains they had won.

The 'fighting maroons' were fugitive slaves of iron will, nurtured in survival tactics; cruel, courageous, resourceful and scornful of danger. Fighting maroons began their struggles from the first years of landing in the Americas. They had established the 'Republic of the Palmares' in northern Brazil as early as 1595. For two hundred or more years, fighting maroons used and perfected guerrilla warfare to defeat the best armies that the European powers could field against them."

I AM MAROON. WE ARE MAROON.

   We are prefiguring a 21st Century revolutionary matriarchal maroon society based on indigenous and ecocentric values, and world views centering womyn and mother earth as primary to our liberation. Just as yesterday’s fighting maroons of the Western Hemisphere escaped slavery, resisted colonialism, and created self-reliant communities, we are seeking to free ourselves from the matrix of global capitalism and all of its toxicity such as imperialism, patriarchy, race-based genocide, ecological devastation, and overconsumption.

   Escaping the matrix entails expanding the commons at the local level by reconfiguring ecological systems of self-reliance, food security, and cultural and artistic production along with a deeper and more holistic, earth focused, and indigenous praxis.

   21st Century maroonage is also a revolutionary state of being that pursues the advancement of our human capabilities to achieve “true” self-determination and to live harmoniously with the natural world and it’s earthly forces. Starting at the self, what we call the cellular level, and moving to systemic oppressions and societal values, as revolutionary maroons we seek to break from the false realities and so-called necessities created by the contradictions and oppressions of global capitalism and patriarchy. 

Maroon reminds us, 

'The maroons’ accomplishments are unequaled in the historic annals of ‘slave’ vs. ‘slaveowners’ whether among the Greeks, Persians, or even the great Spartacus-led rebellion against the Roman Empire. The maroons are alone in defeating their owners militarily before all parties sat down to sign treaties that allowed them to coexist in the same society as free individuals. Haiti, went a step further by totally suppressing or expelling the former slave owners from the society." 

We must use the maroons' legacy to inspire us to achieve higher and keep on keeping on... From inside a torture box, Maroon tells us, 

"Rest easy, fighting maroons. There are many now and to come who will derive inspiration from your valorous examples - inspiration that will 'arm their spirits' to fight the good fight...."

Queen Mother Nanny, Jamaica 


I am Maroon. We are Maroon.