Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin was a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committe in Tennessee during the civil rights struggle of the '60s. He joined the Black Panthers when they merged with the SNCC. The American government tried to destroy the Panthers, by fair means or foul. Lorenzo was called before a grand jury to testify on spurious gun-running charges against him and other activists. He learned that the police and local KKK intended to shoot him if he didn't testify. He left Hamilton County, Tennessee where the trial was being held. The police and the FBI were given 'shoot to kill' orders, but he hijacked a plane to Cuba. The Cubans deported him to Czechoslovakia for political reasons. In Czechoslovakia, American agents tracked him down and brought him back to the US. He was tried before an all-white jury and given two life sentences.
In jail he kept up his fight against the system, becoming a 'jailhouse lawyer'. He also became an anarchist. He served time at the infamous Marion Prison. The publicity he got as an activist and a 'Marion Brother' started a campaign which won him his freedom in 1983.
In 1979 he started writing a series of articles trying to make anarchism relevant to a new audience, particularly black people who were often left out of the American anarchist movement as out of so much else. He said that the 'official' anarchist movement was too white, and too middle class (something that could be said about the Left and the anarchists here). These articles were edited and collected, under the title 'Anarchism and the Black Revolution'.
Lorenzo is in Australia to talk about activism in the '60s, his imprisonment and that of other Black activists, racism, police brutality and murder, and the need for a movement to fight against them.
Monday July 7, the Migrant Resource Centre, Boundary St West End.LISMORE: Monday July 14, the Fountain Room, Lismore City Hall, Ballina Road.
Wednesday July 9, the Opal Centre, 466 Ann St City.
Friday July 18, the Redfern Settlement, 17 Edward St Chippendale. Saturday July 19, the Neighbourhood Centre, 1 Bedford St Newtown.MELBOURNE: Thursday July 31, Mechanics' Institute Hall, Sydney Rd Brunswick.
He's been brought out to Australia by the local anarchist group Angry People.
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