- Paperback: 195 pages
- Publisher: Black Classic Press; New edition edition (Dec 29 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0933121237
- ISBN-13: 978-0933121232
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 19.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #385,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Blood in My Eye Paperback – Dec 29 1996
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About the Author
Blood In My Eye was completed only days before it's author was killed. George Jackson died on August 21, 1971 at the hands of San Quentin prison guards during an alleged escape attempt. At eighteen, George Jackson was convicted of stealing seventy dollars from a gas station and was sentenced from one year to life. He was to spent the rest of his life -- eleven years-- in the California prison system, seven in solidary confinement. In prison he read widely and transformed himself into an activist and political theoretician who defined himself as a revolutionary.
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Nowadays, with Three Srikes and you're Out in CA, this is being repeated no doubt.
My objection to this book (why it's not 5 stars) is that it appears to be a derivative work by somebody who studied the original leftist agitators.
Also, this book is likely to be admired by prison radicals who actually do not mind being labeled evil. By that I mean prison gang diciples. This is the modern 21st century trend--in other words, people who do not care for a reconcilation with their oppressors, but relish the opportunity to make trouble.
George Jackson was, in many ways, the personification of Frantz Fanon's paradigmatic "native intellectual." In Fanon's terms, Jackson's widely read Soledad Brother and Blood In My Eye became "literatures of combat," serving dual capacities as theoretical texts and mobilizing tools. Close analysis of Jackson's knowledge production reveals a general congruence with the third, revolutionary "phase" of Fanon's developmental conception of the revolutionary native intellectual:
"Finally in the third phase, which is called the fighting phase, the native, after having tried to lose himself in the people and with the people, will on the contrary shake the people. Instead of according the people's lethargy an honored place in his esteem, he turns himself into an awakener of the people; hence comes a fighting literature, a revolutionary literature, and a national literature. During this phase a great many men and women who up till then would never have thought of producing a literary work, now that they find themselves in exceptional circumstances-in prison, with the Maquis, or on the eve of their execution-feel the need to speak to their nation, to compose the sentence which expresses the heart of the people, and to become the mouthpiece of a new reality in action."
As Jackson found political agency in abrogating the image of the depersonalized, silent, debased prisoner, he recognized his own incarceration as the logical outcome of a collective plight. The destiny of human expendables, the surplus people left to languish under the advance of white supremacist capital, was death, addiction, unemployment, and mass warehousing. Jackson consistently articulated the tortured severity of his relation to the world in these terms, stating and re-stating the essential dialectic of capital that rendered antagonism, deviance, and disobedience the most generalized mode of existence for people like himself:
"...that's the principal contradiction of monopoly capital's oppressive contract. The system produces outlaws. It also breeds contempt for the oppressed. Accrual of contempt is its fundamental survival technique. This leads to the excesses and destroys any hope of peace eventually being worked out between the two antagonistic classes, the haves and the have-nots. Coexistence is impossible, contempt breeds resistance, and resistance breeds brutality, the whole growing in spirals that must either end in the uneconomic destruction of the oppressed or the termination of oppression."
This epistemology of resistance and antagonism structured Jackson's political praxis. It was precisely his refusal of an idealized, hopeful "peace" (along with a pedagogical willingness to articulate the grounds of his refusal) that may have made his political assassination virtually inevitable. Jackson believed that the structural inevitability of state repression formed a condition of resistance for prisoners and free people alike. Yet, embracing this condition could produce an existential suicide-the necessary condition for declaring war on power.
"This monster-the monster they've engendered in me will return to torment its maker, from the grave, the pit, the profoundest pit. Hurl me into the next existence, the descent into hell won't turn me. I'll crawl back to dog his trail forever. They won't defeat my revenge, never, never. I'm part of a righteous people who anger slowly, but rage undamned. ...I'm going to charge them reparations in blood. ...This is one nigger who is positively displeased. I'll never forgive, I'll never forget, and if I'm guilty of anything at all it's of not leaning on them hard enough. War without terms."
For George Jackson, the historic possibility of forging a utopic "new reality" could only emerge from the corporeal ashes of those who dared challenge the corporate state's programmatic killing of oppressed people in and outside the U.S. It was this imagination of a righteous political death, a glorified descent into hell mandated by a social formation that fed on the bodies of disobedients and disposables, that allowed for the creative rearticulation of the imminent, violent consequence of repression.
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It was a time in history when revolution was sought after by those who were marginalized, and disenfranchised.
Not really agreeing with the tactics, but, understanding the feeling of hopelessness in the main character was