Ojore Nuru Lutalo is an anarchist and black liberation soldier who served time for revolutionary clandestine activities.
Lutalo began his work for black liberation in 1970. In 1975 he befriended New Afrikan anarchist Kuwasi Balagoon. His disillusionment with Marxist politics’ debilitating beauracracy and friendship to Balagoon lead him to anarchism.
While never an official member of the Black Liberation Army, he was inspired by them, saying that “I was… influenced and highly motivated by the Black Liberation Army (B.L.A.) here in Amerika. These sisters and brothers were New Afrikans just like me from the streets of the ghettos.”
In December of 1975 Lutalo and BLA member Kojo Bomani Sababu were arrested after they attempted to rob a bank to fund revolutionary projects, which ended in a shoot out with the police. In 1977 he was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the robbery and shoot out.
Life In Prison
On January 19th, 1976 while in prison, his comrade Andaliwa Clark attempted to escape from New Jersey’s infamous Trenton State Prison. Clark shot two security guards in the Management Control Unit (M.C.U.) and was then killed while fleeing.
10 years later in February 1986, Ojore was taken out of the general prison population, and placed in the Maximum Control Unit (MCU) in New Jersey State Prison. There was no provocation that lead to this, in fact Lutalo had gone without any infraction since Clark’s attempted escape.
The MCU is a sensory deprivation unit, about the size of an average bathroom. Ojore had to remain in this cage for 46 hours out of every 48. There are virtually no privileges for inmates of the MCU – limited telephone use, controlled visitation and censored mail. Any movement outside the cage is conducted in shackles, accompanied by body searches and watched by guards carrying clubs they call “nigger beaters”.
The MCU is reserved for political prisoners and prisoners of the class war, e.g. revolutionaries, prisoner unionists, jailhouse lawyers, and especially New Afrikan prisoners of war, like Ojore Lutalo.
The MCU is designed, quite simply, to drive people mad – try to imagine that total isolation, and understand why the government feels it needs to isolate people like Ojore not only from society, but from the rest of the prison population, too. Basically, it is his ideas they see as dangerous
– they do not wish other prisoners to be politicised by contact with him.
Ojore Lutalo was set to max out after 26 years of imprisonment at New Jersey State Prison and had an exit interview and receiving a release date of December 25, 2008. They did two sets of calculations for his work credits/good time, going back to his earlier conviction in 1970’s, which he was paroled from but violated in 1982.
While in prison, Lutalo has faced other forms of harrassment, including false charges waged against him to keep him from getting paroled. Right before Lutalo’s parole hearing on June 16th, 2005 he was charged and found guilty of associating with outside security threat groups and planning attacks on staff. This got him a year in Ad-Seg and a year of good time lost.
In 2005 Lutalo was interviewed for a film entitled In My Own Words where he spoke on everything from his own political beliefs to life in MCU to the difficulty of being a vegetarian prisoner. On August 1st, 2005, Ojore received 3 charges: perpetrating a fraud, operating a business without approval, and soliciting funds and non-cash contributions for taking part in the film. This despite the filmmakers indeed getting approval and at the time of the charges only three videotapes having been sold (with none of the funds going to Lutalo). The third allegation that he solicited funds was also in connection to the money he was receiving for stamps from the Anarchist Subsistence Fund, a decision made entirely by ABCF chapters, not Lutalo.
An Anarchist in Solitary by Solitary Watch
Ojore Lutalo was released from prison on August 26, 2009!