Angela Davis

Chris Bailey chrisbailey at
Thu Oct 26 17:40:18 MDT 1995

The message beneath the dotted line was written before I read your
recent reply. I very much appreciate your serious and extensive
attempt to get to the truth, but I still decided to send the original
message since it is aimed at Scott not you. Why didn't he correct your
original message? Why does he still insist it is correct when you
agree it was overhasty? His reaction convinces me more than ever that
the US CP has much to hide on this question.

I spent yesterday hunting through left book shops in London trying to
find material on the trial. All I could get was Angela Davis's
autobiography and George Jackson's _Soledad Brother_ so I cannot
supply anything you do not already have. But I do recall well what
happened here in Britain. The British CP ran a prominent "Free Angela
Davis" campaign. It was based on the premise that Davis was a)
innocent and b) framed because she was a member of the Communist
Party. The campaign *never included Ruchell Magee at any time*. When I
used to ask why not I would be told by CP members that a) Magee was a
non-political criminal and b) that the August 7 action was
indefensible (and approximated to your "sad mess" description).

Having read _Soledad Brother_ and having seen newsreel interviews with
Georgia I was totally disgusted with the CP campaign. The campaign was
denounced by a number of far left organisations in Britain and I think
I read of reported opposition from the "black movement" in the US
mostly but not solely from that source. I certainly recall reading a
number of reports of Magee's own denunciation of Davis. I agree
totally with you that my designation of Magee as a non-political
criminal case was wrong. I think that both of our mistakes only show
how the world wide campaign of the CP succeeded in burying the truth.
It is time to set the records straight.

Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey:

>but I do feel the
>original description by Elaine Jude Leyda of the events leading to
>Davis' trial are inaccurate. Certainly, they conform to the picture
>that the US Communist party wanted to project on behalf of Davis, but
>I do not think they conform to the facts.

Scott Marshall:

>Elaine is right and you are way off the mark. You are inventing splits and
>fights that never took place.

Elaine's account:

> One of the prisoners' brothers made an attempt to rescue
> 3 of the Soledad bros. by entering a courtroom where they were, and
> kidnapping the judge and two others. The judge's head was blown off, and
> the whole thing was a sad mess.

George Jackson:

"Tall, evil, graceful, brighteyed, black man-child - Jonathan Peter
Jackson- who died on August 7, 1970, courage in one hand, assault
rifle in the other; my brother, comrade, friend - the *true
revolutionary*, the black communist guerilla in the highest state of
development, he died on the trigger, scourge of the unrightous,
soldier of the people; to this terrible man-child and his wonderful
mother Georgia Bea, to Angela Y. Davis, my tender experience, I
dedicate this collection of letters; to the destruction of their
enemies I dedicate my life." (Dedication notice of _Soledad Brothers_)

Chris Bailey:

On July 19, 1971 the cases of Angela Davis and Ruchell Magee were
split to separate courts. The same day the joint committee for their
defence issued a statement. It included a denunciation of "dubious
'left friends'" who "have attempted to drive a wedge between Angela
and Ruchell".

It finished with an unequivocal declaration of support for the August
7, 1970 action:

"The first anniversary of the insurrection which was seized upon to
frame Angela and Ruchell is soon approaching. Committees in California
and throughout the country are commemorating August 7 through various
activities, ranging from rallies and teach-ins to memorial services.
In Pasadena, California, a park is being dedicated to the memory of
Jonathan Jackson. It is through these kind of activities that people
will come to understand the conditions against which Ruchell and our
slain brothers were fighting on August 7, 1970." (Reproduced in Angela
Davis's Autobiography)

When did the August 7 action become "a sad mess", Scott? Was it after
the "dubious 'left friends'" from the US Communist party took over
Angela Davis's defence campaign and dumped Ruchell Magee?

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