[Ppnews] Political Prisoner Richard Williams Passed Away this Morning

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 8 11:17:16 EST 2005

Dear friends,
long-time political prisoner Richard Williams 
passed away this morning. It is most sad when 
comrades spend their dying days in the hands of 
the state instead of with their families and 
friends (where they belonged all along). even 
more cause to keep up the struggle to free the other political prisoners.

Richard Williams in his own words

I am a single father and grandfather. I was born 
on November 4, 1947, in Beverly, Massachusetts, 
which is a small coastal city 25 miles north of 
Boston. My mother was a factory worker and 
seamstress and my father was a machine operator. 
I have one sister younger than me by six years. 
Just when the draft was getting heavy for Vietnam 
I turned 18 years old and promptly received my 
notice. Like most working class kids, white or 
Black, there was no easy way out of it. Either 
get drafted, join, or hide. I chose not to go. At 
20 years old I was arrested for having marijuana, 
which in Massachusetts was a felony. Given the 
choice of six months in jail or joining the army, 
I went to jail in 1967 and became ineligible for the draft.
I continued to have brushes with the law when in 
1971 I was arrested for robbery in New Hampshire 
and received a seven-to-15-year sentence. I was 
23 and faced five solid years in jail, at the 
least. I realized at that time that I was going 
nowhere fast, that I needed to change 
something­so I started with myself. I became 
involved with trying to better the prison 
conditions I was in, which were deplorable. It 
was 1971, the year George Jackson was murdered, 
the year of the Attica Rebellion. There was 
unrest in most prisons, because overall the 
prisons were brutal and inhumane. I was elected 
chairperson of the New England Prisoner 
Association. Inside, I met with legislators, and 
participated in food and work strikes and 
protests for better conditions. I read a lot of 
history and worked in political study groups. I 
was locked up, beaten, and shipped out for my 
activities. I learned through study and my 
efforts that the struggle was much larger than my 
then surroundings. I became a communist.
Upon my release I worked briefly with the Prairie 
Fire Organizing Committee. I went to work for the 
New England Free Press­a radical, collective 
print shop­for almost 2 years. Along with 
Barbara, Jaan, and Kazi, I was part of The 
Amandla Concert in Harvard Stadium in 1979. 
Featuring Bob Marley, Amandla was a benefit 
concert to provide aid to liberation forces in 
Southern Africa. My role was as part of a 
People’s Security Force which provided security 
for the concert. We also did security work for 
the community­such as house sitting with people 
who were under attack by racists. We went to 
Greensboro, North Carolina in 1979 to protest the 
killings of SWP (Socialist Workers Party) members by the KKK.

I went underground to join the armed clandestine 
movement in 1981 and was captured in Cleveland on 
November 4th, 1984, my 37th birthday.
I was convicted for five of the United Freedom 
Front (UFF) bombings in 1986 in Brooklyn Federal 
Court. In 1987 I got a hung jury at the 
Somerville, N.J. trial in the death of a state 
trooper during a shoot-out with Tom Manning. Next 
I went through a two-year long trial in 
Springfield, Mass., along with Pat and Ray 
Levasseur, in 1988 and 1989 for seditious 
conspiracy and RICO. The jury refused to convict 
us. In December 1991, I was convicted of killing 
state trooper Lomonco in 1981 after my second 
trial on these charges in Somerville, N.J. I am 
to serve 45 years for the UFF actions when I 
finish serving my N.J. sentence of 35 years to 
life. As with all dedicated revolutionaries the 
government has caught they have tried to bury my 
body away in prison, while being unable to crush my spirit.
I welcome correspondence from anyone who would like to write.

Long Live Revolutionary Resistance to Imperialism and Capitalism!

Does history repeat itself? Or are its 
repetitions only penance for those who are 
incapable of listening to it? No history is mute. 
No matter how much they burn it, break it, and 
lie about it, human history refuses to shut its 
mouth. Despite deafness and ignorance, the time 
that was continues to tick inside the time that 
is. The right to remember does not figure among 
the human rights consecrated by the United 
Nations, but now more than ever we must insist on 
it and act on it. Not to repeat the past but to 
keep it from being repeated. Not to make us 
ventriloquists for the dead but to allow us to 
speak with voices that are not condemned to echo 
perpetually with stupidity and misfortune. When 
it is truly alive, memory doesn't contemplate 
history, it invites us to make it.

   - Eduardo Galeano  from Upside Down

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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