Excerpt from “Death to the Fascist Insect”
The Symbionese Liberation Army
Edited by John Brian King
IN THE BELLY OF THE FASCIST BEAST
APRIL 3, 1974
[transcript of audio tape]
[a Polaroid photograph of Patricia Hearst posing as “Tania” with a gun in front of the SLA flag is enclosed with the tape]
the voice of Patricia Hearst (Tania)
To those who would bear the hopes and future of our people, let the voice of their guns express the words of freedom.
I would like to begin this statement by informing the public that I wrote what I am about to say. It’s what I feel. I have never been forced to say anything on any tape. Nor have I been brainwashed, drugged, tortured, hypnotized, or in any way confused. As George Jackson wrote, “It’s me, the way I want it, the way I see it.”
Mom, Dad, I would like to comment on your efforts to supposedly secure my safety. The People in Need giveaway was a sham. You attempted to deceive the people, the SLA, and me in statements about your concern for myself and the people. You were playing games, stalling for time, time which the FBI was using in their attempts to assassinate me and the SLA elements which guarded me. You continued to report that you did everything in your power to pave the way for negotiations for my release. I hate to believe that you could have been so unimaginative as not to have even considered getting Little and Remiro released on bail.
While it was repeatedly stated that my conditions would at all times correspond with those of the captured soldiers, when your own lawyer went to inspect the hole at San Quentin, he approved the deplorable conditions there, another move which potentially jeopardized my safety. My mother’s acceptance of the appointment to a second term as a UC regent, as you well knew, would have caused my immediate execution had the SLA been less than together about their political goals. Your actions have taught me a great lesson, and in a strange kind of way, I’m grateful to you.
Steven, I know that you are beginning to realize that there is no such thing as neutrality in time of war. There can be no compromise, as your experience with the FBI must have shown you. You have been harassed by the FBI because of your supposed connections with so-called radicals, and some people have even gone so far as to suggest that I arranged my own arrest. We both know what really came down that Monday night, but you don’t know what’s happened since then. I’ve changed, grown. I’ve become conscious and can never go back to the life we led before. What I’m saying may seem cold to you and to my old friends, but love doesn’t mean the same thing to me anymore. My love has expanded as a result of my experiences to embrace all people. It’s grown into an unselfish love for my comrades here, in prison, and on the streets. A love that comes from the knowledge that “no one is free until we are all free.” While I wish that you could be a comrade, I don’t expect it. All I expect is that you try to understand the changes I’ve gone through.
I have been given the choice of one, being released in a safe area, or two, joining the forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army and fighting for my freedom and the freedom of all oppressed people. I have chosen to stay and fight. One thing which I have learned is that the corporate ruling class will do anything in their power in order to maintain their position of control over the masses, even if this means the sacrifice of one of their own. It should be obvious that people who don’t even care about their own children couldn’t possibly care about anyone else’s children. The things which are precious to these people are their money and power, and they will never willingly surrender either. People should not have to humiliate themselves by standing in lines in order to be fed, nor should they have to live in fear for their lives and the lives of their children, as Tyrone Guyton’s mother will sadly attest to.
Dad, you said that you were concerned with my life, and you also said that you were concerned with the life and interests of all oppressed people in this country, but you are a liar in both areas and, as a member of the ruling class, I know for sure that yours and Mom’s interests are never the interests of the people. Dad, you said that you would see about getting more job opportunities for the people, but why haven’t you warned the people what’s going to happen to them, that actually the few jobs they still have will be taken away?
You, a corporate liar, of course will say that you don’t know what I’m talking about, but I ask you then to prove it, tell the poor and oppressed people of this nation what the corporate state is about to do, warn black and poor people that they are about to be murdered down to the last man, woman, and child. If you’re so interested in the people, why don’t you tell them what the energy crisis really is. Tell them how it’s nothing more than a manufactured strategy, a way of hiding industry’s real intentions. Tell the people that the energy crisis is nothing more than a means to get public approval for a massive program to build nuclear power plants all over the nation.
Tell the people that the entire corporate state is, with the aid of this massive power supply, about to totally automate the entire industrial state, to the point that in the next five years all that will be needed will be a small class of button pushers. Tell the people, Dad, that all of the lower class and at least half of the middle class will be unemployed in the next three years, and that the removal of expendable excess, the removal of unneeded people, has already started. I want you to tell the people the truth. Tell them how the law-and-order programs are just a means to remove so-called violent, meaning aware, individuals from the community in order to facilitate the controlled removal of unneeded labor forces from this country, in the same way that Hitler controlled the removal of the Jews from Germany.
I should have known that if you and the rest of the corporate state were willing to do this to millions of people to maintain power and to serve your needs, you would also kill me if necessary to serve those same needs. How long will it take before white people in this country understand that whatever happens to a black child happens sooner or later to a white child? How long will it be before we all understand that we must fight for our freedom?
I have been given the name Tania after a comrade who fought alongside Che in Bolivia for the people of Bolivia. I embrace the name with the determination to continue fighting with her spirit. There is no victory in half-assed attempts at revolution. I know Tania dedicated her life to the people, fighting with total dedication and an intense desire to learn, which I will continue in the oppressed American people’s revolution. All colors of string in the web of humanity yearn for freedom!
Osceola and Bo, even though we’ve never met, I feel like I know you. Timing brought me to you and I’m fighting with your freedom and the freedom of all prisoners in mind. In the strenuous jogs that life takes, you are pillars of strength to me. If I’m feeling down, I think of you, of where you are and why you are there, and my determination grows stronger. It’s good to see that your spirits are so high in spite of the terrible conditions. Even though you aren’t here, you are with other strong comrades, and the three of us are learning together, I in an environment of love and you in one of hate, in the belly of the fascist beast. We have grown closer to the people and become stronger through our experiences. I have learned how vicious the pig really is, and our comrades are teaching me to attack with even greater viciousness, in the knowledge that the people will win. I send greetings, to Death Row Jeff, Al Taylor, and Raymond Scott [prisoners]. Your concern for my safety is matched by my concern for yours. We share a common goal as revolutionaries knowing that comrade George lives.
It is in the spirit of Tania that I say, “Patria o muerte, venceremos.”
Death to the Fascist Insect is a compilation of the writings and transcribed recordings of the Symbionese Liberation Army (1973–75), a radical left-wing group based in the Bay Area of California. This publication chronicles the militant, if half-baked, political theories that inspired the SLA, as well as the ways that the SLA used violence and manipulation of the media to further the group’s goal of provoking armed revolution from the underground.
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