is a poem written by an Anarchist prisoner called
Harold H. Thompson who is a first generation Irish-American
and was born in April 1942 in West Virginia. He has
been in continuous political conflict with the American
establishment since the early '60s. While growing
up he was deeply immersed in political discussion
which led him to be a strong believer in Anarchist
ideals of liberty, social equality and mutual aid.
Later he was convicted for murdering a person who
was released early from his sentence for killing the
mother of one of his two children. He was released
early because he decided to become a police informant
and when he did come out he threatened to kill one
of Harolds son for allegedly testifying against
him in court and further claimed that he had
nothing to lose.
days afterwards from making these outrageous comments
he was assassinated by an unmasked assailant. October
1979 and after 10 days of an extensive manhunt, Harold
was arrested and charged for his murder and later
convicted and given life plus 50 years for suspected
involvement in expropriating money from a jewellery
store to fund his political activity. This harsh and
unjust sentence was further added to when he was further
jailed for 31 years in 1986 for being involved in
a failed armed escape and on top of this he started
a 5 year, 4 month stint in maximum security/solitary
confinement. Behind these oppressive walls, he continues
to be harassed and bullied by the prison wardens for
his uncompromising Anarchist principles, but this
does not deter him from believing passionately that
inside a potential mass movement of revolutionaries
is in waiting who need a giant breath of help, education
and direction to eventually abolish these prisons
of social control, misery and despair brick by brick.
in a free society have no place as they are there
to strip an individual of their true identity, dignity,
self-confidence, self-righteousness and effectively
de-humanise people until they are merely robots and
only a number in this endless chain. Most often they
are stigmatised, ignored and treated like aliens by
the mainstream media. However they always fail to
face the underlying causes of 90% of crime which is
poverty, neglect, boredom, margilization and disillusioned
individuals through no fault of their own are enslaved
in the system of systematic mental and coercive domination.
Rookies become professional criminals and only learn
the tricks of the trade. Isnt it such a coincidence
that they are mostly from working-class backgrounds
with a severe lack of self-esteem and confidence?
Prisons are the latest institution under the wing
of the capitalist elite who are un-dying in their
quest for further and greater accumulation of wealth
and power. Companies such as Wilkinsons see that this
cheap labour offers big profits and so prisons are
becoming privatised. The real criminals are those
that live on their fruits of our sweat and toil, whether
it be the bosses who are currently waging a sustained
class war against the dispossessed masses in the streets
of Dublin over bin tax or the many millions of oppressed
masses today who are constantly subjected to the ruthless
barbarism of Anglo/American economic, political and
military oppression whether that be directly or indirectly
through international bodies such as the UN, IMF or
World Bank. These tools of imperialism are just as
complicit in endorsing and financing this terror machine.
Dont just reform them, smash them as the urge
to destroy is also a creative urge. Their power
must be wrestled back to those that produce the wealth
of the world, and expressed by free, voluntary associations
of self-managed workplaces and community councils
from below upwards, organised locally, regionally,
nationally and internationally, power always flowing
from the grass-roots to the top. Definitely not the
false premise or delusion that power comes from the
ballot box where you elect a master ever 4 years and
there is no mechanism in place for their constituents
to recall or even dismiss their so-called representative.
Anyway, voting would be made illegal if it changed
anything other then a continued division of society
into the leaders and the led, the rulers and the ruled,
and the masters and slaves. If the masses were sovereign
there would be no government or its first line of
defence, the state! Furthermore, the situation today
is quite diabolical where wealth and power is becoming
centralised into increasingly fewer and fewer hands.
This has been exposed quite verdantly recently where
decisions have been made by a small bureaucratic elite
against the conflicting views of the majority, issues
such as the war on Iraq and the imposition of the
water charge. He who has the piper plays the tune!
I just hope that the oppressed will never endeavour
in their passion and desire to break free from the
wicked chain of imperialism and their clients.
well as Harold there are two other prisoners who have
been incorporated into this system of isolation and
anguish who are Sherman Austin and Mumia Abu Jamal
(former Black Panther). Sherman who runs Raise the
fist website was jailed for 1 year for a link to his
website relating to methods of self-defence involving
information on explosives. This link is something
that he was not author to and the fact that this same
material could be found on a number of other websites
linked to Yahoo suggests that there were ulterior
motives in locking this revolutionary behind bars.
He did however plead guilty to this offence because
he was threatened with the maximum sentence of 20
years, which would officially mark him out as a terrorist.
Even more extreme is the fact then we he is released
he is officially banned during his period of probation
from allying himself with any organisation which legally
or otherwise calls for a revolutionary overthrow of
the state. The fact that he is black, revolutionary
in ideas and practise and refuses unreservedly to
bow to unjustified authority and rejects Americas
Imperialist project may ring a few bells. This is
all part of the American government's new campaign
using repressive measures such as the Patriot Act
to eliminate those that have a dissenting voice or
fail to conform to the normal culture and ideology
set by the American Ruling Class.
across this planet people are rising from the knee.
For in their hearts burns flames, the aspiration to
They struggle on with this though that is right,
And refuse to be crushed by oppressions organised
Durutti, George Jackson and Bobby Sands to name a
Have each heroes to the downtrodden of this world.
Eternal shining lights of hope for suffering peoples
of all lands.
Though different in method each worked for a common
Their actions in struggle live on to inspire each
freedom yearning soul.
their lives and dreams they put to words, actions
So even the most timid came to realise
The human right to freedom belongs to all,
A heady, wonderful thought!
choose to march peacefully in demonstration,
While others take to the justice to the gun.
But once that first step is taken they are all true
Demanding their rightful place in the sun.
with prideful step march ever onward,
As others in struggle meet fire with fire, force with
Conquering each obstacle erected to stifle determination,
Or misguide from the true course
And for each comrade who stubles, falters,
Or is crushed beneath a heavy load,
Take heart with pride in a part you play
Be it small, large or behind the scenes but still
on liberties road.
Soweto to Belfast to Amerikkas streets,
Cities, villages, coalfields, factories and jails
The common link in struggle is plain to see.
In each place there are people just like you and me,
Who fight the oppressors might, for their rightful
taste of liberty.
Yes all across this planet, people are rising from
For in their hearts burns a flame, the aspiration
to be free!
is not those who inflict the most but those who endure
the most who will be victorious!
Build homes, Not jails!
To be silent is to collaborate!
Our word is our weapon!
Civil obedience is slavery; Civil disobedience is
exercising your liberty!
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