Robert Seth Hayes is a Black Panther Party/Black Liberation Army prisoner of war, who has been held behind bars for more than a quarter century. The following is a message he has written about who he is and where he’s at.
(For more information about Seth you can check out the Robert “Seth” Hayes page on Kersplebedeb and also on Sumoud.)
Statement from Robert Seth Hayes
December 11, 2005
Revolutionary greetings, comrades, loved ones and supporters of freedom worldwide. I am Robert Seth Hayes, an African-American freedom fighter. An incarcerated political prisoner and a prisoner of war for over 32 years.
My career as a freedom fighter began with my moral upbringing. This came from diligent elders who taught by example and both guided and shaped my reasoning as I grew. As a result of this I am the reasoning person before you who is both a strong advocate for freedom and a lover of the environment.
My education blossomed through the Vietnam war and the politics unleashed from it. As a foot soldier in the United States Army, I returned home with complex understandings. I had served honorably in Vietnam, yet I felt the war was wrong. I participated in the war, yet now I condemned it. What caused these feelings of rejection at such a stage in my life? Like so many others, I found myself struggling with past traditions and indoctrination. I was determined to gain answers.
I started by talking with others known to me since childhood. Family and friends were helpful, but only to a small degree. Everyone was genuinely glad I'd returned home safe but felt I needed only to merge back into mainstream society to regain wholeness. I often heard the comment "you could be a police officer with your military training." However, what they fail to reason out was that they were telling me, "you could be a police officer having been trained to kill so well." An offer I flatly refused as inhumane and inoperable in my thinking.
In my travels, I came upon members of the Black Panther Party. Here was a group of men and women, dedicated to community empowerment without apologies to anyone. Dedicated people who shunned oppression. Fighters for change who were determined to scale back aggressive and oppressive tactics seen throughout their lifetimes. Disciplined members who worked towards scientific solutions to major problems. In short, fighters willing to take on corporate ownership of government in order to help empower the working class and help usher in a more humane society. Members who resoundingly rejected the aggressive and murderous class of individuals we saw forming and directing society.
Such was my beginning in the fight for justice, freedom, unity, peace and love within the borders of America.
Since my incarceration, I've learned much and deeply appreciate the many comrades and friends I've come to know over the years. People like Teddy Jah Heath, (now deceased) who was a staunch freedom fighter whose vision, like my own was worth fighting for till life ended. Cardell Blood Sheard, a teacher and worker, who helped reshape political participation and awareness inside many New York State prisons. Where he walked, others learned. Eddie Ellis, Dhoruba Ben Wahid. Sistah Safiya Buhkari, and Sistah Safiya Bandele. Educators, contributors, pathfinders and loved ones. The list is endless and each day others are added to it. If I have earned any recognition over the years, it is because of them and folks like Tom K., Lise K. and Tynan J.. Queen Mother Moore and Winne Mandela. Many are the heroes and heroines that have shifted the balance of knowledge towards the hands of humanity. Susan Tipograph, Meg and Matt of R-N-B.
Onward and onward the names are increased, and suffice it to be said that there remains endless room for others.
I act to tell you of my beginnings and fruitfulness since then. To declare out loud that I am me because of their and my undying support and contributions. In words uttered before: "If in the event I am not soon released, I will maintain a commitment to struggle till liberation or death comes to embrace me. For this struggle, I do commit, to free the land and its inhabitants."
Ours is both an arduous and humane struggle. Let's pull together, and build to win.
A Luta Continua' (The Struggle Continues)....
Robert Seth Hayes BPP/BLA PP/POW 2005
Robert “Seth” Hayes #79A2280
Wende Corr. Facility
P.O. Box 1187
(3622 Wende Road)
Alden, New York
Categories: black-liberation-movement, prison, united-states