Thursday, 22 October 2015

Brother Hugo Pinell: The tragic loss of a true servant

From: SF Bay View

October 22, 2015
by Taharka Omowale
When I received the sad and shocking news about our loss of Brother Hugo Pinell, aka Yogi Bear and Dahariki, I must say it felt like a big blow to my gut. In losing our Brother Hugo Pinell, I lost not only a brother, but a comrade, hero, motivator and educator.

“Hugo ‘Yogi Beat’ Pinell” – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo TX 79107
Brother Yogi was the name that Brother Hugo called himself most, so I’ll more often use that name throughout this essay.
Brother Yogi, along with another veteran warrior in the Black Liberation Struggle, Brother Ruchell Cinque Magee, are perhaps two of the longest held political prisoners in the U.S. Brother Yogi had been locked down inside the dungeons for 50 years – with 46 years being in the hole.
Under international law, this is ruled “torture.” Despite the decades of torture and being denied parole numerous times, Brother Yogi still kept it moving with his spirit intact. Up to his death, Brother Yogi hadn’t had a disciplinary write-up for 30-plus years, yet he was kept in the hole.
What the racist legal system in California did to this upright and principled revolutionary servant was not only unjust – and criminal – but also barbaric.
Brother Yogi, I believe, was kept on lockdown all these years not only because he refused to be broken, but also I believe the state had and has an underlying fear of the truth surfacing about the actual events that occurred at San Quentin Prison on Aug. 21, 1971.
It’s quite strange that Brother Yogi was murdered right after being transferred to the mainline. I strongly feel that our Brother Yogi may have been set up where he was put in a position to be attacked by the racist Aryan Brotherhood, who are notorious in California state prisons.
The prison administration had continually done Brother Yogi an injustice by putting the “gang affiliation” label on him. Brother Yogi had continually made it clear that he was in no way affiliated with any gang. Brother Yogi and his dedicated comrades – W.L. Nolen, William Christmas, Willie Sundiata Tate, George Jackson etc. – held Brother Malcolm X up as their “patron saint.”

In losing our Brother Hugo Pinell, I lost not only a brother, but a comrade, hero, motivator and educator.

Throughout my 11 years corresponding with Brother Yogi, it was an inspiring as well as a learning experience for me. Brother Yogi gave me a reliable history lesson on struggle and his political development and how good brothers like W.L. Nolen and William Christmas both played a major role in the development of his and other brothers’ consciousness.
Brother Yogi told me that they first went through two steps: 1) the Black Consciousness Program, and 2) the Black Revolutionary Program. He never sent a letter to me where he didn’t give props to Brother Malcolm X, and he gave much props to Brothers W.L. Nolen, William Christmas, Khatari Goulden and George Jackson.
However, we couldn’t discuss Brother George Jackson in our letters to each other while Brother Yogi was held captive at Pelican Bay, which is called “Skeleton Bay” because of the uninhabitable conditions inmates have to live under. My letters were always confiscated whenever I mentioned Brother George Jackson or “Black August,” because the prison officials at Pelican Bay would affiliate Brother George Jackson and Black August with some terrorist gang affiliation.

Brother Yogi gave me a reliable history lesson on struggle and his political development and how good brothers like W.L. Nolen and William Christmas both played a major role in the development of his and other brothers’ consciousness.

It seems as though when people of Afrikan descent organize to better their deplorable conditions, then they’re mislabeled as gang members etc. Brother Yogi was a staunch revolutionary – plain and simple.
He was also known to be a brother who not only preached the true principles of communalism, but Brother Yogi practiced it, which is a rarity these days.
Brother Yogi loved and appreciated the soulful sounds of legendary R&B artists, especially Brother Sam Cooke. Brother Yogi loved to sing Brother Cooke’s powerful song, “A Change Is Gonna Come.” That song was one of Brother Yogi’s favorites. He would always reassure me that “a change is gonna come,” although it may not happen in our lifetime.
Brother Yogi stated that it’s very crucial to transform into a new, wholesome, beautiful man or woman in order to create a more harmonious and balanced world. He stressed this all the way to the end.
This bold and principled revolutionary will be sorely missed. However, Brother Yogi would want for us to push ahead in the struggle. That way we’ll be paying our beautiful brother a great honor.

Brother Yogi stated that it’s very crucial to transform into a new, wholesome, beautiful man or woman in order to create a more harmonious and balanced world. He stressed this all the way to the end.

Farewell, Big Brotha, and know that your spirit and legacy will be ever with us all who truly value liberation, “Kwa-heri” (“Goodbye” in Swahili)!
Taharka M.C. Omowale is a well known advocate for political prisoners.

Monday, 12 October 2015

To a Treasure

For Yogi:

To a treasure. A gift, and a blessing. It was/is an honor, my brother and friend, to have learned from you, because of you...

You and your lessons will be remembered always. And, like you, will forever inspire resistance. Determination. The longing to be free. And the courage to fight for it.

All of our love... Zah

This was sent in by Zaharibu Dorrough on Sept. 22nd, 2015, also on behalf of his cellmate Jabari Scott and the rest of the  NCTT-Cor-SHU team Kambui Robinson and Heshima Denham.

You can reach Zah via:

Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, D83611
CSP-Cor 4B-1R-41
P.O. Box 3481
Corcoran, CA 93212

Long live Hugo, my brother for life

Long live Hugo, my brother for life

By Loticol Chastang
In: SF Bay View, Sept. 30th, 2015

I know a lot about Hugo and respect Hugo and all the Big Six. I’m housed in Sacramento State Prison on New Folsom’s C-yard and was really hurt when Hugo died.

When I’m hurt and mad, I do dumb things that used to get me in all kinds of trouble. I learned how to take my anger and turn it into poems.

I shared this poem with brothers who knew Hugo, and they asked me to send it to the Bay View.

Black August 12, 2015

August 12, 2015, a strong warrior felled

Warrior cries all day long

Hugo battled like a beast and paved the way for me

Hugo, you made this world safe

You will always be a true Afrikan warrior to me

Long live Hugo – tears running down my heart

I said “Long live Hugo” with my fist raised high

It’s time to battle

It’s time to yell that soldier cry: One, two, three, let’s go!

It’s time to ride and turn that wild beast loose

Hugo, you will never be forgotten

Them tears are stamped on my heart

Long live Hugo!

You will always be my brother for life.

Send our brother some love and light: Loticol Chastang, F-41212, CSP Sac, C2-115, P.O. Box 290066, Represa CA 95671.

On the day of Yogi’s death

On the day of Yogi’s death

by Michael Allen
In: SF Bay View, Sept. 30th, 2015

I really appreciate all the articles on the good brother Yogi Bear, RIP on Aug. 12, 2015. The day of his death, I told the oppressor I was suicidal and swallowed pills to overdose.

They did nothing – just left me in the cell to die. So I started a fire in my cell to get me help. They came, extinguished the fire, then pepper sprayed me.

After I got out of medical, I was put on suicide watch on B-yard [where Yogi was assassinated]. When we got there, it looked like a ghost town. There were cases of soup, jars of coffee and clothes just lying out on the yard and sally port.

Thank you, Bay View, for being our voice against those who try to keep us voiceless.

Send our brother some love and light: Michael Allen, T-55834, CSP Sac, A6-115L, P.O. Box 290066, Represa CA 95671.

In Memory of Hugo (Yogi) Pinell, a Universal Urban Guerilla

In memory of Hugo (Yogi) Pinell, a universal urban guerilla

by Khalfani Malik Khaldun
From: SF Bay View, Sept. 30th, 2015

“And we made them leaders guiding men by our command, and we sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practice regular charity, and they constantly served us and only us.” – Anbiyaa 21:73

“Hugo ‘Yogi Bear’ Pinell” – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo TX 79107
All power to the people.

Today I sit in my caged existence away from the outside world and still connected to the revolutionary community. Recently a New Afrikan brother and comrade wrote me with news: Hugo Pinell was executed on the prison yard at Folsom. This was heartbreaking news and it sent me into a rage.

I was introduced to our brother Yogi over 15 years ago when he exchanged correspondence about the struggle and survival on the inside. He gave me a political overview of his contribution to our movement, inside and outside of these plantations.

Hugo Pinell, like George Jackson, was and shall ever be an example for New Afrikan manhood. He expressed his solidarity with our prison activism and our collective responsibility to create change. Hugo Pinell equally supported my fight for freedom from a charge I spent 20 years in solitary confinement over. A prison guard was stabbed to death and after a trial and being found guilty, I was sentenced to 60 years.

Hugo Pinell, like George Jackson, was and shall ever be an example for New Afrikan manhood.

Hugo spent over four decades in solitary confinement. Those repressive conditions didn’t break him, and for years he represented a symbol of revolutionary love and strength. He was a teacher, big brother and fighter in the cause of our people.

His legacy must be held up and celebrated in the same likeness as we honor George Jackson. This brother will be missed by many – let us rejoice in what he was to us – and his life and his memory shall live in our nation in his death.

To hear that at 71 years old he was stabbed and killed by an affiliated white supremacist after being released from solitary confinement (hell) affected me terribly, and his executioners should never know again what it feels like to rest at night. I pray to Allah that he torment their very existence. For Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was and will forever be a chosen son of the freedom struggle for a liberated New Afrikan nation in Amerikkka.

His legacy must be held up and celebrated in the same likeness as we honor George Jackson.

Hugo inspired me to keep on standing for a self-determined free liberated zone for our people. I will not let my big brother down. Long live Hugo Yogi Pinell! A luta continua.

I am sharing a poem for our brother going home.

I’m Free

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
I’m following the path God laid for me
I took his hand when I heard him call
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day
To laugh to love to work to pray
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I’ve found that peace at close of day.

If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Ah yes, these things I too will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow
My life’s been full, I’ve savored much
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief
Lift up your hearts and share with me
God wanted me now; he set me free.

Power to the people!

Your brother and comrade,

Brother Khalfani Malik Khaldun

Send our brother some love and light: Khalfani Malik Khaldun (L. McQuay), 874304, P-203, P.O. Box 1111, Carlisle, IN 47838.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Revolutionary eulogy by Texas Chicano POW-political prisoner Alvaro Luna Hernandez for Comrade Brother Hugo ‘Yogi Bear’ Pinell

September 17, 2015

by Alvaro Luna Hernandez
Published in: SF Bay View, 9-17-2015
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.

Alvaro Luna Hernandez

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.
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.
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:

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.”

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Jaan Laaman on the life and death 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

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.

4struggle | August 24, 2015