Time Essay: WHO (AND WHAT) IS A POLITICAL PRISONER?

FROM Berkeley to Bedford-Stuyvesant, scrawls of aerosol paint on ghetto walls demand: FREE ANGELA DAVIS. FREE THE SOLEDAD BROTHERS. FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS. The phrase "political prisoner" is so laminated into the radical mind that, like "genocide" or "fascist pig," it has become part of an unconscious ritual. George Jackson's death last week at San Quentin raised some fundamental and difficult questions about the meaning of the term and to whom it applies.

Was Jackson in fact a political prisoner? And what about Angela Davis, accused of supplying guns to Jackson's brother...

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