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U.S. political prisoner Marilyn Buck freed

Anti-imperialist and anti-racist activist released after decades in prison
By staff |
July 17, 2010
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Marilyn Buck (right) at 1966 anti-war rally in Austin, TX
Marilyn Buck is seen on the right in this Austin, TX police surveillance photo of a 1966 anti-war rally. (Photo from Wikipedia)

Marilyn Buck, a political prisoner in the U.S., was released on July 15, 2010 from the federal prison medical center in Carswell, Texas, according to her support group, Friends of Marilyn Buck. She is paroled to New York. As of the writing of this article, no further details about her release have been made available.

Life-long commitment to anti-racism and anti-imperialism

Marilyn Buck started her commitment to fighting against racism and U.S. imperialism as a student activist in the 1960s, when she was a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of Texas. There she organized against the Vietnam War and against racism, and she was one of the women who helped make women’s liberation a central part of SDS’s politics. In the 1970s Buck worked to support revolutionary anti-imperialist movements around the world, while also actively supporting the Native American and Black liberation movements within the U.S.

Despite great personal suffering, including decades in jail, Buck maintained her commitment to anti-imperialist and anti-racist politics, including supporting those fighting against imperialism and for national liberation.

Decades in prison

Marilyn Buck spent four years in prison in the early 1970s, allegedly for helping Black revolutionaries buy firearms. After she was furloughed from jail, she went underground to resume her political activism against U.S. imperialism and in support of Black liberation. She was captured again in 1985, and has been in prison ever since. At that time she was accused of actions such as helping Black revolutionary Assata Shakur successfully escape from prison in 1979, as well as conspiracy in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Senate building in response to the Reagan administration’s invasion of Grenada, which had a leftist government at the time.

With her capture in 1985, Buck became part of the Resistance Conspiracy trial. This was a prominent trial in the 1980s against seven white anti-racist and anti-imperialist activists who were accused of conspiring “to influence, change and protest policies and practices of the United States Government concerning various international and domestic matters through the use of violent and illegal means.” They were accused of supporting armed Black revolutionaries within the U.S. and accused of a series of bombings of U.S. government and military buildings in protest of U.S. foreign policy in Central America and the Middle East. Buck received an 80-year sentence in the case.

While in prison, Buck became a prolific writer of political articles and poetry. She wrote, “The trials, those years of intense repression and U.S. government denunciations of my humanity had beat me up rather badly. Whatever my voice had been, it was left frayed. I could scarcely speak. For prisoners, writing is a life raft to save one from drowning in a prison swamp. I could not write a diary or a journal; I was a political prisoner. Everything I had was subject to investigation, invasion and confiscation. I was a censored person. In defiance, I turned to poetry, an art of speaking sparely, but flagrantly.”