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Tributes to political prisoner Tom Manning

August 25, 2019

Via Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar

Ray Luc Levasseur

Jaan Laaman

Bill Dunne

Oso Blanco

Kojo Bomani

Certain Days collective

Statement on passing of Tom Manning

By Ray Luc Levasseur

Tom Manning’s death on July 30 has me in the grip of an emotional riptide. I feel like part of me died with him.

Tom was imprisoned at USP-Hazelton, WV at the time of his death. The ostensible cause of death, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, was a heart attack.

I received Tom‘s last letter on July 15. He wrote that he was in dire circumstances, his medical needs treated with deliberate indifference, delays in receiving necessary medication, his body weak from lack of oxygen. Supporters scrambled to get a lawyer in to see him, but death arrived first.

Tom battled the Bureau of Prisons criminal negligence of his medical needs for the past 10 years, beginning when he almost died from an untreated knee infection while at USP-Coleman, FL. As a result of that infection, most of his knee was surgically removed and he was wheelchair bound for the rest of his days.

But he was not through fighting.

When he arrived at FMC-Butner, NC for further medical treatment he was kept in solitary confinement under abysmal conditions for 3 years. Much-needed knee and shoulder surgeries were repeatedly delayed until pressure from Tom‘s supporters forced the BOP to act. But the surgeries came too late, and combined with the lack of necessary rehab insured that Tom remained in a wheelchair.

Tom always had the warrior spirit, right to his last breath. Many more like him, and the ruling class would tremble. The ache in my heart over his passing will be forever.

In remembrance, I offer words I wrote in 2014 for Tom‘s book “For Love and Liberty,” a collection of his paintings:

“When Tom Manning and I first met 40 years ago, we were 27 years old and veterans of mule jobs, the Viet Nam war, and fighting our way through American prisons. We also harbored an intense hatred of oppression and a burning desire to organize resistance.

As members of a community action group called SCAR, we worked its ‘survival programs’ including a community bail fund, prison visitation program, and a radical bookstore. The Red Star North bookstore drew the venom of police – surveillance, harassment, raid and assault.

Tom and I disappeared underground in the midst of this and COINTELPRO revelations. We remained underground for near 10 years, much of it on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. We were tagged as ‘terrorist’ and ‘extremely dangerous’ because as ‘members of a revolutionary group’ we used explosives against targets of empire: predators of apartheid South Africa, Puerto Rico’s colonialism, and the slaughter in Central America.

We considered our work anti-terrorist. It was a time, you see, when activists were killed, imprisoned, tortured and exiled. ‘Winter in America’ as Gil Scott-Heron put it, and raging hell in El Salvador. It was a time when the U.S. sub-contracted its terrorism and if you were on the wrong end of it – you died.

Sometimes when we met underground I noticed Tom sketched on scraps of paper. I was impressed with how well he drew. I said to him – man, you got talent, why not do landscapes, portraits, big pictures! His response – no time for that, for our priority was taking down this wretched system that disrespects and destroys life.

The government’s mandate is that Tom die in prison, as our comrade Richard Williams did in 2005 after a long period of medical neglect and solitary confinement.

Tom has risen beyond the gulag’s attempt to strip his humanity. You can feel the dignity and spirit of resistance in his paintings. He is one of those carrying heavy burdens, be they the ‘sans-culottes’ of the world, a Haitian health care provider, or a victim of police bullets.

Political prisoners do not exist in a vacuum. They emerge from political and social conflicts. The ruling class and media attempt to criminalize, demonize and marginalize these prisoners, because recognition of political prisoners is de facto admission that serious conflicts exist and remain unresolved.

In 2006 an exhibit of Tom Manning’s paintings – ‘Can’t Jail the Spirit’ – opened at the University of Southern Maine. Police organizations throughout the Northeast conducted an intense ‘shut it down’ campaign. The police were particularly disturbed with the characterization of Tom as a ‘political prisoner’ and his painting of Assata Shakur on display. When the police got to the university’s corporate funders, the USM president capitulated and the exhibit was ordered shut down. The exhibit’s supporters then carried Tom‘s paintings through the city streets and rallied at Congress Square.

‘There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard,’ reads Psalm 19:3 and the gravestone of Black freedom fighters Jonathan and George Jackson. Voice, through its many forms, articulates vision. Call it subversive art, liberating art, art that challenges the one-dimensional. Tom‘s art is a voice among the dispossessed that transcends concrete and razor wire with an affirmation of life.

The paintings of Tom Manning and American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier; the creative work of Puerto Rican Independista Oscar Lopez Rivera; the poetry of anti-imperialist Marilyn Buck, which lives on; and the Earth defender poems of Marius Mason; the spoken word of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Mutulu Shakur. They are the voices of our political prisoners, principled and honorable men and women who communicate from isolation and suffering.

We must not let their voices be suppressed. They need to be heard and celebrated by freedom loving people everywhere.”

I extend deep gratitude to all those who provided some measure of support and solidarity to Tom during his 34 years in prison.

With Tom‘s passing, Jaan Laaman remains the sole United Freedom Front prisoner. It’s time to bring Jaan home.

FREE ALL OUR POLITICAL PRISONERS

Ray Luc Levasseur

Black August

August 1, 2019

 

Tom Manning – Words of Remembrance

By Jaan Laaman
Class war prisoner, Freedom fighter, Man of the People, long held political prisoner, Thomas William Manning, died on July 30, of a heart issue at the federal penitentiary in Hazelton, Kentucky.
Tom—Tommy to his many comrades, family, friends, people that knew him, was a life long Revolutionary Freedom Fighter. From the early 70s, Tom was a public activist and organizer and later, a quite successful armed militant in the anti-imperialist underground. Captured in 1985, he and some of his comrades became known as the “Ohio 7/UFF“ (United Freedom Front) defendants.
After many trials Tom was hit with 58 plus 80 year sentences. He was then thrown into some of the worst, harshest prisons in the United States. Being in captivity did not stop Tom from continuing to work and struggle for justice, freedom, Human Rights and the socialist and environmentally sustainable future so many people and our planet so need. Tom struggled against abuses inside prisons and continued to work for the independence struggles in Puerto Rico and Ireland, the Palestinian struggle and the then still ongoing anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. In fact Tom was very likely one of the two last anti-apartheid activists still in captivity anywhere in the world. Tom of course always continued to support the struggles of poor and working people in this country, the struggles of Black people, Native rights and land struggles, against police abuses and murders of civilians, people of color in particular.
Tom was an artist, and accomplished painter. His artwork truly captures some of Tom’s essence: his portrayal of the dignity of working people, children, women, the strength and determination of the revolutionary fighters and leaders, and more. A beautiful book of some of Tom’s art was published in 2014 — “For Love and Liberty.”
Now Tom is gone. Our comrade, my comrade, who suffered years of medical neglect and medical abuse in the federal prison system, your struggle and suffering is now over brother. But your example, your words, deeds, even your art, lives on. You truly were a “Boston Irish rebel,“ a life long Man of and for the People, a warrior, a person of compassion motivated by hope for the future and love for the common people, a Revolutionary Freedom Fighter.
We miss you and love you comrade… and we will carry on the struggle!
Jaan Laaman
Ohio 7/Anti-imperialist political prisoner
(Black) August 2, 2019
Write:
Jaan Laaman #10372-016
USP McCreary
PO Box 3000
Pine Knot, KY 42635
(When writing Jaan, remember you cannot send greeting cards, paper and envelopes must be white and no address labels can be used on the envelope).

Tom Manning, Soldier of the struggle

By Bill Dunne

“Tom Manning, Soldier of the Struggle, Comrade, Friend, Brother, Artist, Human, Mighty tree in the forest who has fallen. The sound reverberates through everyone who aspires to positive practice in service to the struggle he shared.

I knew Tom more through his exemplary practice across decades and his comrades’ experience of him then by having had the opportunity to hang out and roll out some practice with him. Except one time: a twelve and a half hour bus ride from the Federal Transit Center at Oklahoma City to the U. S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas.

We sat next to each other during the entire trip. Notwithstanding the agents of repression, the chains, and the bars separating us from freedom just a window away, we freed ourselves by making revolution all the way. He was farther along in his understanding of what that meant in theory and practice and showed himself to be all of the above in elucidating that praxis.

I will not forget that trip. Some of Tom Manning will always ride with me as I try to make progress in the struggle. He will help paint the most equitable social reality in which all people will have the greatest possible freedom to develop their full human potential that is our destination.

Tom Manning Presente!

The future holds promise!

Bill Dunne
FCC Victorville FCI-1
9 August 2019
Nagasaki Day

The future holds promise!

Love, Bill

A Revolutionary’s Farewell: Rest in Power, Tom Manning

By Oso Blanco

Brothers and Sisters of the Struggles:

I’m sad to learn I’ve lost a great and true Warrior Brother, Tom Manning, who left this earth only very recently.

He is free now. Dealing with our loss is not getting easier. The only positive way I can deal with the loss of our great comrade is to think of his transition in those terms. Tom is free now, and it is always better to be free.

I did three-and-a-half years with Tom in USP Leavenworth, where he and Leonard Peltier taught me to paint with oils and schooled me on how I’d be treated horribly strictly due to my politically motivated actions that landed me in prison. Tom taught me what to expect from this imperialist empire. I truly loved this Brother Tom Manning, and also his brother Bob Manning who is still with us in New Mexico. Bob always helps me, and stays in touch with me and my mother, Melody.

We must stop wasting time, for these warriors laid the revolutionary foundation that the struggle lives upon today. These people must not be left to rot in the hell holes of this empire. All of you need to get your people out, and be for real, and put you comfort-zone toys away so you can put in the real work it takes to the help men and women who have been locked up by the monsters of death and destruction running this empire. Get your asses in fucking gear.

I say this to all in the struggle—every activist, every warrior, every anarchist: be for Super Real and Powerful like Tom Manning and his co-defendants and start getting your actions rocking and rolling. Waste no more time.

Oso Blanco* #07909-051
USP Victorville
Post Office Box 3900
Adelanto, CA 92301
*Address envelope to Byron Chubbuck

PP Kojo Bomani Sababu speaks of Tom Manning and Black August-!ASHA!

Life is strange all the good things come to a end. Tom was a beautiful  person very talented in painting and skillful in articulating matter to be understood politically. I am glad I spent a few moments onthis earth with him. George, Huey, Sofia, and Tom all died in August, that is why this month is Black August. Kojo”
AKA-Grailing Brown
#39384-066 USP Canaan
P. O. Box 300
WaymartPA 18472

From the Certain Days collective

The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar mourns the loss of political prisoner Tom Manning, a longtime supporter and inspiration to us.

Tom’s contributions to Certain Days go right back to the first calendar in 2002 when we printed his portrait of Steven Biko. Tom’s art beautifully conveyed the internationalism and solidarity that animated both his own politics and those of the calendar project.

His portraits of iconic figures such as Assata Shakur and Yuri Kochiyami paid homage to their leadership, while his paintings of the ordinary people in communities in Haiti, Chiapas and Cambodia highlighted their day-to-day struggles. Tom was extremely generous over the years and took the time to share his art with us even at moments when his health presumably made it quite taxing for him to be involved. He was warm, and funny, and we always looked forward to opening a letter from him.

His work has appeared consistently in Certain Days over the last two decades (gracing the cover twice — a feat unmatched by any other artist). We’re honoured to have learned so much from our work with Tom, and saddened and angry to lose him too soon due to ongoing medical neglect while he was imprisoned.

Rest in Power, Tom!

See some of Tom’s inspiring artwork here.

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Call for Art and Article Submissions: Health/Care

April 6, 2018

What: A call for art and article submissions on Health/Care for the 2019 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar.

Deadline:  May 18, 2018

The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar collective (www.certaindays.org) is releasing its 18th calendar this coming fall. The theme for 2019 is ‘Health/Care,’ reflecting on the overlapping topics of health, care/caring, and healthcare.

We are looking for 12 works of art and 12 short articles to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 3,000 homes, workplaces, prison cells, and community spaces around the world.

We encourage contributors to submit both new and existing work. We also seek submissions from prisoners – please forward to any prison-based artists and writers.

THEME GUIDELINES

In 1972, The Black Panther Party formally added healthcare to its ten point program:

WE WANT COMPLETELY FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL BLACK AND OPPRESSED PEOPLE

We believe that the government must provide, free of charge, for the people, health facilities which will not only treat our illnesses, most of which have come about as a result of our oppression, but which will also develop preventive medical programs to guarantee our future survival.

Then, as now, health in all its dimensions — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, environmental, community — remains fundamental to liberation. Some of the topics that could be explored within this theme could be:

  • health care and medical neglect in prison
  • movement healthcare projects (anything from the Black Panther Party free clinics, to current projects providing both western medical and other forms of health support)
  • radical reproductive health projects, past and present
  • the politics of care work in its myriad forms (care for people living with illness and/or disability, childcare, elder care, etc)
  • mad pride and resistance to forced psychiatric treatment
  • aging and health issues in prison
  • disability and health
  • Indigenous healing and other non-western health practices and projects
  • trans health projects and activism
  • radical organizing among health care workers and/or in defence of public healthcare
  • medical parole
  • strategies for, and stories of, (collective and individual) self care within movements

FORMAT GUIDELINES

ARTICLES:

• 500 words max. If you submit a longer piece, we will have to edit for length.

• Poetry is also welcome but needs to be significantly shorter than 500 words to accommodate layout.

• Please include a suggested title.

ART:

1. The calendar is 11” tall by 8.5” wide, so art with a ‘portrait’ orientation is preferred. Some pieces may be printed with a border, so it need not fit those dimensions exactly.

2. We are interested in a diversity of media (paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, computer-designed graphics, collage, etc).

3. The calendar is printed in colour and we prefer colour images.

Due to time and space limitations, submissions may be lightly edited for clarity, with no change to the original intent.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

1. Send your submissions by May 18, 2018 to info @ certaindays.org.

2. ARTISTS: Please send images smaller than 10 MB. You can send a low-res file as a submission, but if your piece is chosen, we will need a high-res version of it to print (600 dpi).

3. You may send as many submissions as you like. Chosen artists and authors will receive a free copy of the calendar and promotional postcards. Because the calendar is a fundraiser, we cannot offer money to contributors.

Prisoner submissions are due June 8, 2018 and can be mailed to:

Certain Days c/o
Burning Books
420 Connecticut Street
Buffalo, NY 14213
USA

ABOUT THE CALENDAR

The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between outside organizers in Montreal, Hamilton, New York and Baltimore, with three political prisoners being held in maximum-security prisons in New York State: David Gilbert, Robert Seth Hayes and Herman Bell. The initial project was suggested by Herman, and has been shaped throughout the process by all of our ideas, discussions, and analysis. All of the members of the outside collective are involved in day-to-day organizing work other than the calendar, on issues ranging from refugee and immigrant solidarity to community media to prisoner justice. We work from an anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, feminist, queer and trans positive position.

 

Oppose the new directive from DOCCS eliminating food packages

January 7, 2018

The thugs who run the NYS prison system (NYS DOCCS) have issued a new directive (4911A) that describes new, draconian package rules that they are testing in 3 facilities as a ‘pilot program.’

Currently, at most facilities, family and friends can drop off packages at the front desk when visiting- packages that include fresh fruit and vegetables that supplement the high carb/sugar, meager diet provided by DOCCS.

These new rules are problematic in a lot of ways including:

1) Packages can be ordered only from approved vendors.

2) Fresh fruit and vegetables are not allowed.

3) Family and friends cannot drop off packages while visiting. All packages must be shipped through the vendor.

4) Each person is limited to ordering three packages a month for him or herself and receiving three packages a month from others. Each package cannot be more than 30 pounds. Of the 30 pounds per package, only 8 pounds can be food.

5) Allowable items will be the same in all facilities. (No more local permits.)

6) There are far fewer items allowed than before and of the items that are allowed, far less variety. This includes additional restrictions on clothing.

7) Groups like NYC Books through Bars, Inside Books Project, and South Florida Prison Books will not be able to send free books to the 52,000 people in the NYS prison system.

 

The pilot program implements an “approved venders only” package system. This means that only packages from approved vendors will be accepted. The vendors appear to be companies that specialize in shipping into prisons and jails. There are currently five approved vendors identified on the DOCCS website. This amounts to a cash grab for these companies.

The pilot program is starting at three facilities: Taconic, Greene, and Green Haven. Those facilities stopped accepting packages from non-approved vendors on January 2, 2018.

We have to make this package directive unworkable. These new rules are cruel- eliminating fresh fruit and vegetables and creating massive profits for the vampire companies that will fill the niche.

 

WE CAN ORGANIZE TO ROLL THESE RULES BACK.

Some ideas how:

1-Sign the petition- share it with your address book, share it on Twitter, share it on Facebook. It takes two seconds.

https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/no-package-restrictions-for-nys-prisoners 

2-Get in touch with your people in NYS Prisons and let them know about this new policy.

3- Flood the electeds with postcards. Send one to Governor Cuomo and one to Anthony Annucci, the acting commissioner of DOCCS. It costs 34 cents.

Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of New York State

NYS State Capitol Building

Albany, NY 12224

 

Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci

NYS DOCCS

Building 2, State Campus

Albany, NY 12226

 

Some sample text:

Dear Governor Cuomo,

Prisoners should have access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other support from their families. I object to the new DOCCS package rules.

From,

(Your Name)

(Your relationship to people in prison, if applicable)

 

Dear Acting Commissioner Annucci,

The new DOCCS package pilot punishes innocent families. Having a loved one in prison is already expensive and difficult—the new rules make it worse. Rescind the package pilot!

From,

(Your Name)

(Your relationship to people in prison, if applicable)

 

4) Write a letter to both of these people (address above)

 

5)Call Cuomo’s office and leave a message about it. You won’t have to talk to anyone. Just leave your message.

518-474-8390

 

6) Email

Cuomo: http://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

Annuci anthony.annucci@doccs.ny.gov

 

7) Tweet at Cuomo: @NYGovCuomo

8) Write your NYS Senate and Assembly reps as well:

9) Get media to cover it especially outfits like Democracy Now and the NY Times

 

Links:

Petition

https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/no-package-restrictions-for-nys-prisoners

 

NYC Books through Bars letter to Cuomo:

https://booksthroughbarsnyc.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Statement-against-4911A.pdf

 

Media:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/families-forced-pay-basic-items-inmates-article-1.3706046 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/inmate-advocates-urge-cuomo-ditch-package-rules-prisons-article-1.3712078

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/doc-facing-backlash-new-prisoner-package-system-article-1.3735439

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/01/04/the-latest-big-win-for-prison-privatization?ref=hp-2-111

https://www.hudsonvalley360.com/article/families-can%E2%80%99t-send-packages-direct-inmates-greene-correctional-under-new-doccs-program-0

Jaan Laaman transferred to USP McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky

December 28, 2017

Avoids Transfer to CMU, After Long Period in Segregation

As of December 28, 2017, Jaan K. Laaman, long-time anti-imperialist political prisoner, has been transferred to USP McCreary in Kentucky — after being held in segregation at USP Tucson for over 270 days — over 8 months. Please write Jaan at his new address right away so he feels the love. We want the prison to be aware that he is supported by folks and we have his back.

Please send greetings & love to:

Jaan Laaman #10372-016

USP McCreary

U.S. Penitentiary

P.O. Box 3000

Pine Knot, KY 42635

We’re happy to report that Jaan is back in general population! While at Tucson, Jaan was held in segregation (minimum 23 hours a day, locked down in a 6×9’ cell) since his birthday on March 21, 2017. Jaan was placed into segregation because of two short messages which were shared with his close family and friends: this statement in support of the “Day Without a Woman Strike” (International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017) which was printed in the NYC Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) update, and “Farewell Thoughts to My Friend, Lynne Stewart” which was broadcast on Prison Radio on March 9, 2017. Prison officials made the absurd claim that these statements ‘threaten the security of the prison.’

Transfer to CMU Prevented!

Jaan was threatened with transfer to a Communications Management Unit (CMU) because of these statements. Jaan’s pro-bono attorney, Paul Gattone filed a lawsuit challenging the attempt to transfer Jaan to a CMU. Paul is a people’s lawyer who practices in the areas of civil rights and criminal defense, and an owner of Revolutionary Grounds infoshop in Tucson, AZ.

Preparing for Parole Hearing:

Jaan is a Freedom Fighter and Must Come Home!

Preventing Jaan from being transferred to a CMU was the first goal. Jaan is an Elder (69 years old) and needs to be brought home. Jaan should be home with his siblings, family and loved ones. Jaan is a freedom fighter who was convicted of actively fighting some of the worst crimes against humanity in recent history–US backed atrocities like apartheid in South Africa and genocidal wars in Central America. Jaan is a lifelong anti-racist and anti-imperialist. We need his vision and voice at home now more than ever. This work to bring Jaan home will be led by Jaan and folks on the outside that Jaan identifies to lead up this effort. Please let us know if you would like to help in this effort. Jaan and all political prisoners must be brought home and we can make it happen!

This update was written by friends of Jaan Laaman. Contact: jaanlaaman@gmail.com; Facebook: Free Jaan Laaman; Twitter: @4StruggleMag. Learn more about Jaan here and here

This update was written by friends of Jaan Laaman. Contact: jaanlaaman@gmail.com Facebook: Free Jaan Laaman Twitter: @4StruggleMag

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!

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