Filed under: Event, Northeast, Political Prisoners
Join us at Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse as we launch the 2018 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar! Former political prisoner and Real News Network producer and host Eddie Conway and former ELF political prisoner and Certain Days collective member Daniel McGowan will lead a discussion on political prisoner David Gilbert’s new book, “Looking at the US White Working Class Historically,” and also discuss the importance of supporting political prisoners, past and present. For more info on David and how to write to him, go here. Also speaking will be Kristina Simmons, a Baltimore-based J20 defendant who was recently acquitted. She will be speaking about the ongoing J20 resistance trials, and the need for continued support and solidarity.
Thursday, January 11th, 7: 30 PM, Red Emma’s, Event Page Here
David was sentenced to 75 years to life and is currently being held at Wende, a maximum-security prison in New York State. In 1986, David became active as an advocate and educator around AIDS in prison after his co-defendant Kuwasi Balagoon died suddenly of AIDS while still in custody. He is the author of No Surrender: Writings from an Anti-Imperialist Political Prisoner (AK Press) as well as Love and Struggle: My Life in SDS, the Weather Underground and Beyond (PM Press) He is also the subject of a mini-documentary, “Lifetime of Struggle,” which is available from Freedom Archives (freedomarchives.org). He reprinted his 2014 calendar article as a pamphlet (featuring an interview with Bob Feldman), “Our Commitment Is to Our Communities: Mass Incarceration, Political Prisoners, and Building a Movement for Community-based Justice.”
Marshall ‘Eddie’ Conway is a the former Minister of Defense in the Baltimore chapter of the Black Panther Party. In 1971 Conway was convicted in the murder of a BPD officer a year prior. His trial saw many irregularities, though he was convicted and subsequently served forty-four years as a political prisoner. While incarcerated, Eddie played pivotal roles in a variety of prisoner support initiatives, including the formation of the Maryland chapter of the United Prisoner’s Labor Union and the ACLU’s Prison Committee to Correct Prison Conditions. In 2014, Conway was released on parole after an appellate court ruled that his jury had been given improper instructions. Since his release, Eddie has continued to support revolutionary and community-based initiatives, and he has worked as a producer at Real News Network, where he hosts a show titled Rattling the Bars.
Daniel McGowan is an activist and political prisoner supporter from Queens, NY. He was charged in 2005 with fifteen counts of arson, property destruction and conspiracy, all related to two actions in Oregon in 2000, claimed by the underground Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Daniel was facing a minimum of life in prison if convicted when he accepted a non-cooperation plea agreement. He received a 7 year sentence and did most of it in two experimental Communications Management Units (CMU). Within a year of arriving at the CMU, Daniel with the help of the Center for Constitutional Rights, sued the Bureau of Prisons with the intention of closing the unit (Aref v. Sessions).
His arrest was part of what the US government dubbed Operation Backfire; a coordinated, multi-state sweep of activists by the federal government who charged them with practically every Earth and animal liberation action in the Pacific Northwest left unsolved. Many have considered this round up indicative of the government’s ‘Green Scare’ focus which had activists being arrested and threatened with life in prison. Many of the charges, including Daniel’s, were for incidents whose statute of limitations were about to expire.
Daniel was released from prison in December 2012 and was on probation for three years until June 2016. He has worked with NYC Anarchist Black Cross, the Civil Liberties Defense Center and the National Lawyer Guild’s Parole Preparation Project. Daniel is on the Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar collective. He lives in New York City and is trying to figure out ways to fight the new fascist administration.
Kristina Simmons was just found not guilty in the aftermath of the first J20 Trial. On January 20th, 230 people were mass arrested during demonstrations against Donald Trump’s Inauguration. The arrests were made by use of a “kettle” technique of individuals on the corners of L and 12th Street, without orders to disperse. 214 of these arrestees were charged under the Federal Riot Statute. On April 27th, multiple additional felony charges were added. In December 2017, defendant Kristina Simmons and five others were acquitted of all charges. The 188 remaining defendants could now face up to 60 years in prison. Your solidarity and support is needed.
Event is hosted by Certain Days Calendar, which benefits political prisoners.