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Support Herman Bell’s Attempt at Parole

November 26, 2017

Political prisoner Herman Bell’s next parole attempt will be taking place in February 2018. As you probably all know, it’s been a difficult fall for Herman, as he was assaulted viciously by guards earlier this year. However, his health is recovering and he has been so deeply touched by all of the support that he was showered with from all of you. And of course beating the charges was such an incredible win!Because of the tremendous support Herman received behind the assault, and because activists in New York recently succeeded in having the worst parole commissions removed from the parole board in NY state, and new parole commissioners appointed in their place, many of us feel this 8th time will be his best chance yet of finally getting out of prison, after four-and-a-half decades. We’re all most certainly going to put forward our very best efforts toward this goal.

pdf packet is linked to here containing information re: parole-support letters for Herman. The due date for all letters is December 15, 2017. The address of where to send the letters is in the attachment. All of the information contained in the attached documents can also be found on Herman’s website, on the Parole Efforts tab (freehermanbell.org). We are trying to focus on getting letters from “influential” people, on getting letter from people who have met or corresponded with Herman, and having as many letters as possible on professional letterhead. Also, ideally letters would be mailed rather than emailed.

This is an important initiative; Herman has spent most of his life behind bars, a result of the U.S. government’s war against the Black Liberation Movement. It is time we got him out!

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David Gilbert’s Looking at the U.S. White Working Class Historically

November 26, 2017
David Gilbert's Looking at the U.S. White Working Class HistoricallyLooking at the U.S. White Working Class Historically tackles one of the supreme issues for our movement, the contradiction embodied in the term “white working class.” On the one hand there is the class designation that should imply, along with all other workers of the world, a fundamental role in the overthrow of capitalism. On the other hand, there is the identification of being part of a (“white”) oppressor nation. Gilbert seeks to understand the origins of this contradiction, its historical development, as well as possibilities to weaken and ultimately transform the situation. In other words, how can people organize a break with white supremacy and foster solidarity with the struggles of people of color, both within the United States and around the world?

Gilbert began this project in the early 1980s, while in jail facing charges stemming from his activities in the revolutionary underground. It  started as a pamphlet reflecting on writings about race and class by Ted Allen, W.E.B. DuBois, and J. Sakai.  In the 1990s, Gilbert added a retrospective essay, reviewing lessons from the 1960s and the New Left he had been active in at the time. Over the years, Looking at the White Working Class Historically (as it was known in previous editions) has been widely circulated across multiple waves and generations of activists. As Gilbert writes in the introduction to this 2017 edition, this text remains the most popular of his writings for younger radicals seeking to build movements against racism.

This new edition contains all the material from previous versions (including an essay by J. Sakai), along with a new introduction, Gilbert’s take on the election of Donald Trump, and an extensive new text surveying changes in the global political order since the 1960s. More than ever, Looking at the U.S. White Working Class Historically explores and illuminates perspectives for radical change and resistance to racism in the United States today.

 

What People Are Saying

“This book embodies what I have come to expect from all of David Gilbert’s writings: precision insight tempered with humanity, nuanced historical analysis for the purpose of learning lessons, and an everpresent willingness and even insistence on questioning everything, especially his own work. Gilbert’s honesty in his introduction about what this book lacks strengthens rather than weakens its impact – He does not pretend to have all of the answers, instead insisting the only right answer is a collective one. He invites conversation and critique rather than running from it, highlighted so clearly with a rebuttal by one of the people’s work he delves into. This book, like the politics needed to build a new future, shows struggle as the dynamic living growing creature it is.” —Walidah Imarisha, author of Angels with Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption, and co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

“David Gilbert’s analytical clarity, commitment to universal justice, and unswerving integrity shine through his words.” —Barbara Smith, founding member of the Combahee River Collective, and of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press; Consulting Editor, Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me
Around: Forty Years of Movement Building With Barbara Smith.

When Malcolm X said John Brown was his standard for white activism, he could have easily meant David Gilbert. He is our generation’s John Brown. His support of Black liberation as a method of freeing the world is to be studied, appreciated, and applied.” —Jared A. Ball, author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto, and professor of Media and Africana Studies at Morgan State University

“If we want to organize white people against racism and for racial justice, if you want to build up a broad-based majority for economic, racial, and gender justice, if you are enraged at the devastation of structural inequality in our lives and on our planet, then this book is key.  Class inequality is organized through white supremacy, and the ruling class strategy of divide and rule of pitting working class and poor white people against communities of color, must be understood.  David Gilbert gives us historical analysis to understand this ruling class strategy, and how we can unite white people across class to a collective liberation vision with racial justice at the center.” —Chris Crass, author of Towards the “Other America”: Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter

 

About the Author

David Gilbert, a longtime anti-racist and anti-imperialist, first became active in the Civil Rights movement in 1961. In 1965, he started the Vietnam Committee at Columbia University; in 1967 he co-authored the first Students for a Democratic Society pamphlet naming the system “imperialism”; and he was active in the Columbia strike of 1968. He later joined the Weather Underground and spent a total of 10 years underground.

David has been imprisoned in New York State since October 20th, 1981, when a unit of the Black Liberation Army along with allied white revolutionaries tried to get funds for the struggle by robbing a Brinks truck. This tragically resulted in a shoot-out in which a Brinks guard and two police officers were killed. David is serving a sentence of 75 years (minimum) to life under New York State’s “felony murder” law, whereby all participants in a robbery, even if they are unarmed and non-shooters, are equally responsible for all deaths that occur. While in prison, he’s been a pioneer for peer education on AIDS and has continued to write and advocate against oppression. He’s been involved with the annual Certain Days Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar since 2001 and has written two books from prison that are available from Kersplebedeb: No Surrender and Love and Struggle, as well as the pamphlet Our Commitment is to Our Communities: Mass Incarceration, Political Prisoners and Building a Movement for Community-Based Justice.

You can write to David at:

David Gilbert #83A6158
Wende Correctional Facility,
3040 Wende Road
Alden, New York 14004-1187

 

Looking at the U.S White Working Class Historically can be ordered from leftwingbooks.net here

Or order from AK Press here, or Amazon.com here

The press sheet for this book (pdf) can be downloaded here

Herman Bell’s charges dropped and moved to Shawangunk

October 7, 2017

http://www.freehermanbell.org

Herman Bell now in general population! He was told that the charges will be dropped! From Herman (written earlier) with many thanks for all of our efforts:

September 27, 2017

My dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for the outpouring of cards, letters, healing-love and energy that you sent me in response to the unprovoked brutal assault on me by NYS prison guards at Comstock, NY – a vicious slap aside the head from behind and shoved to the ground. I protected myself as best as I could. I sustained multiple kicks, punches to the face and eyes, repeated head slams into concrete, and 2 cracked ribs. They tried to bury me with raining blows, not knowing that I am a seed. But the burning pepper spray sprayed into my eyes and mouth is what did me in – and yet, here I am.

Now I know why visitors bring flowers and candy to the hospital. I was immediately sent, however, not to a hospital but to the Box for “assault on staff,” so the cards and letters and love you sent me were my flowers and candy. You did great!

I was astonished, not by the outpouring of your support, but by the enormity of it.

People are coming together and are standing up. They are finding that they are not entitled to the rights and freedoms they think they have as americans. Instead of the consideration americans – many of them voters – deserve, they are ignored by authoritarian and elected officials.

They lack healthcare, suffer from unrestrained police violence, mass incarceration, lack a living wage, experience poverty and homelessness, and suffer from a toxic environment. People are standing up against these injustices, insisting that their demands be respected and addressed.

The social injustice, jackboot repression, racist attacks, discrimination, wealth disparities, unemployment, lack of affordable housing (the list doesn’t just end there), creates waves of fierce discontent which ls gaining steady momentum, becoming a full-blown cleansing tsunami, the force of which is irresistible.

And that force is you, the People, coming together and taking a stand. My flowers and candy is your outpouring of support for me, our political prisoners, the mass incarcerated and the voiceless.

To write each of you (I’ve literally received hundreds of letters) a personal “thank you” at this time would be impossible. So, I send this “thank you!” instead.

Thank you! I thank you deeply one and all for the empathy, outrage, love and support you’ve expressed in the face of the assault on me. May our resolve to produce social change remain unshakeable.

Herman Bell
79C0262
​Shawangunk Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 700
Wallkill, New York 12589

Political Prisoner Herman Bell Assaulted

September 11, 2017

Black Panther Party political prisoner Herman Bell was viciously assaulted by guards at Great Meadow Correctional Facility (Comstock) on September 5, 2017.  While being “escorted” by a guard back to his housing unit, a guard struck Herman, age 69, in the face causing his glasses to drop to the floor.  This same guard then repeatedly punched Herman about the face, head and body.  Responding to a commotion, 5-6 other guards arrived and joined in the assault.  One of them was able to knee Herman in the chest causing two cracked ribs.  Another guard took out a bottle of mace and sprayed it all over Herman’s face, eyes and mouth.

Herman was then taken to the prison infirmary.  X-rays have confirmed fractured ribs.  Herman’s left eye is damaged from the mace and blows.  He has bruises to his body and is suffering headaches, a sign of a possible concussion.

Herman Bell has now been charged with “assault on staff”.  Defying common sense, they allege that Herman, for no apparent reason, slapped the guard escorting him.   He did this, they claim, in a location out of the view of all inmates but in the presence of other guards. He is now in the Special Housing Unit (box) at Five Points Correctional Facility where he was transferred after the incident.

Herman Bell has not had a disciplinary violation in over 20 years.  He was scheduled to begin a three day family visit with his wife a few days after the incident, their first such visit in over 2 1/2 years.  In addition he is to appear before the parole board, for the 8th time, in February 2018.

Herman has, however, been the target of guard harassment due to his political background.  Visitors report that guards processing them and in the visiting room comment that they are visiting a “cop killer” or “terrorist”.  Some guards have been seen passing around the book “Badge of the Assassin” written by Herman’s prosecutor.

At this time, we are encouraging everyone to take the time to write to Herman or send him a get-well card, so that the authorities know we are paying attention and are concerned for Herman. Stay tuned for updates as we develop this campaign.

Herman Bell’s new address is:

Herman Bell #79C0262
Five Points Cor. Fac.
P.O. Box 119
Romulus, N.Y. 14541​

Drop Charges Against all #J20 inauguration protestors

August 30, 2017

https://www.change.org/p/us-attorney-for-dc-drop-the-charges-against-j20-protesters-dropj20

On January 20, 2017, tens of thousands of people converged in Washington, D.C. to oppose the inauguration of Donald Trump.A wide variety of demonstrations countered the spectacle of the inauguration, making it clear to the world that many of us reject Trump’s cruel and divisive leadership.

A day of defeat became a moment of resistance, and set the stage for the travel ban protests that followed. While Trump and his army of trolls have encountered few meaningful obstacles in the halls of power, grassroots resistance has persisted.

Unfortunately, with resistance comes repression. After terrorizing protesters (including children, the elderly, and people with disabilities) with pepper spray and ‘stinger’ grenades, DC police cordoned off an entire city block and mass-arrested more than 230 people.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff (under the authority of U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips) later sought an indictment charging more than 200 people with at least eight felonies each—for rioting, inciting a riot, conspiracy to riot, and property destruction—punishable by up to 75 years in prison.

With these unprecedented, excessive charges, the state is cracking down on dissent – allowing Trump to pursue his agenda challenged only by symbolic hand-wringing. This strategy corresponds with a broader wave of repression, from arrests and grand jury investigations of Indigenous water protectors at #StandingRock, to the demonization of #BlackLivesMatter.

Just as our struggles are connected, these arrests represent a threat to all people fighting for true freedom, dignity, and autonomy. 

Join the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Partnership For Civil Justice Fund, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and other civil liberties advocates in standing with the J20 defendants.

Call on the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia to immediately drop all charges.

—————————

Learn more at dropJ20.org

Please follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and share this petition with your friends and family! (and use #dropj20 !)

This petition will be delivered to:

  • US Attorney for the District of Columbia,
    Channing Phillips
  • Chief – USADC Felony Major Crimes Section
    John Gidez
  • Head – DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility
    Robin Ashton

Postcards to support Jaan Laaman, currently held in segregation

July 7, 2017

We have been sharing updates on our editor, anti-imperialist political prisoner Jaan Laaman, who has been held in segregation for over three months.

You can help by contacting the prison administration, and by writing to Jaan to let him know he’s in our thoughts. You can also spread the word to supporters in your community by ordering these beautiful postcards from our friends at Prison Radio:

Postcard to BOP in Support of Jaan Laaman

Solidarity Postcard to Jaan Laaman

 

Kevin Rashid Johnson Snatched from Texas Prison

June 27, 2017

We have received word that Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, prisoner-organizer and revolutionary has been moved from Texas! He was picked up by his Virginia DOC officials (he was on an interstate transfer). Rashid is a very good organizer and he was moved from Red Onion State Prison because of his influence and leadership. It seems now that Texas also could not handle his principled determination.

Supporters learned that he is being held at a reception center in the state of Florida. We will forward additional information as soon as we know it. 

Transfers have been opportunities for prison officials to arrange for violence and abuse. Rashid was beaten and had his locks shaved when he was first brought to Texas, and lost much of his property. We are concerned about prisoners’ rights and basic human dignity and we will take action to make sure this does not happen again!

TAKE ACTION!

Who to call

Mr. Terry Glenn, Interstate Compact Supervisor
Virginia Department of Corrections
P.O. Box 26963
Richmond, VA 23261-6963
Phone: (804) 887-7866
Fax: (804) 674-3595

Call Script

I am calling on behalf of Kevin Johnson, Virginia inmate number 1007485. I am a friend of Mr. Johnson’s, and am highly concerned for his well-being and safety. I understand that he was recently taken by Virginia Department of Corrections from Clements Unit in Amarillo, TX.

Where in Florida is he being taken? Is he being returned to Virginia where his family would be able to visit him?

I demand that Mr. Johnson be moved to Virginia, that ALL of his property, including ALL his legal materials and his typewriter, be given to him upon his new location, and that his transport be safe and humane.

Please let us know immediately if you find out any information on Rashid.
Additional Resources

Rashid’s Website
Facebook Event to Call for Rashid

Rashid is Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter); he is a Virginia prisoner organizer and revolutionary communist. As a result of his organizing he has been repeatedly transferred out of state, under a setup called the “Interstate Compact” which is used to remove rebellious prisoners and exile them to locations where they have no friends, support, etc. For the past four years Rashid has been held in Texas, where he has been beaten, threatened, had his property confiscated, been set up on bogus infractions, and more — nonetheless, he used his time there to forge connections with other prisoners and to write a series of powerful exposés about violence, medical neglect, abuse, and murder in the Texas prison system.

He has also been targeted because of analysis and belief organizing across boundries of race and class. Look carefully at his latest artwork, this is what the state finds dangerous:

Thank you for calling and taking action.

Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight, we win!

Noelle Hanrahan
Director, Prison Radio