[Pnews] Political Prisoner Tom Manning Dies in Captivity at the Age of 73
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jul 31 14:06:29 EDT 2019
Tom Manning was a freedom fighter, political prisoner and prolific
artist. His paintings are stories that jump off the page, revealing the
outlook of people who struggle for liberation around the world. His book
/(now out of print)/ contains over 80 full-color paintings that were
made between 1996 and 2005.
Tom Manning - A Short Biography from his Website
(written in 1999)
/(I was)/ Boston born and raised in a large, Irish working class family.
Never enough $ though my father worked day and night with sleep in
between. His only days off were when he was hurt or some crisis in the
family. /(He was)/ a longshoreman and a postal clerk. He worked himself
to death trying to get one end to meet the other. He never did make ends
meet. That would be a cycle & capitalism is not made that way - he
always got the worst end.
As kids we tried to help where we could. I shined shoes & sold
newspapers in the subways and the bars, otherwise I spent my time like
most kids in the neighborhood - roaming the docks and freight yards
looking for anything that could be converted into cash, bartered, or
used in some way. Also playing stickball & raising pigeons. As I grew
older, I worked as a stockboy, then construction laborer til joining the
military in '63. Cuba in '64, Viet Nam in '65-66.
Back on the streets for a minute, then state prison for 5 years, armed
robbery and assault & battery.
Given the area where I grew up and being a 'Nam vet, prison was par for
the course. I ran into a lot of boyhood friends and veterans inside. I
became somewhat politicized in prison, taking part in food and work
strikes, being around people willing to teach and organize at great
personal risk. I spent my last 14 months in Walpole's 10 Block, where I
first read Che, and where all the prisoners - black, brown, and white
were united out of necessity. In contrast to general population in the
prison and in the city of Boston.
I completed my sentence in May of '71 - took one quick tour of the old
streets, and headed for the country, the woods, and small towns of
Northern New England, where I met Carol, married, and had a child, the
first of three - Jeremy, Tamara, and Jonathan. The second two came
during our ten years underground.
In Portland, Maine we became active in an organization named SCAR, whose
work was done by and for prisoners, ex prisoners, and their loved ones.
The work was rapidly expanding into all areas of the community, finding
jobs and housing for people coming out, trying to stay out, support &
welfare advocacy transportation to the prisons for visiting , childcare,
organizing young people, a bail fund, a book store.
With this work and the study it required, it became increasingly clear
who got the best end, at whose expense, and what was needed also became
clear - socialism - a system where ends meet. The bosses oppose this
system with a vengeance. They attack it with their armies and police.
The People must fight for their own system in all ways - one of these
clandestine struggle. We have a long way to go, but we are getting there.
I was captured in 1985, sentenced to 58 years in federal prison for a
series of bombings carried out as armed propaganda against apartheid in
South Africa, US imperialism in Latin and Central America, including a
concerted campaign against Mobil Oil and US military targets in
solidarity with the FALN's campaign for the release of the five
Nationalist prisoners, and against racist, genocidal capitalism here in
the belly of the beast. I'm also sentenced to 80 years - (two 25 to
life, plus 20 for armed robbery, plus 10 for escape) in New Jersey for
the self-defense killing of a state trooper.
At present I am at the U.S penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas /(when
this was written in 1999 - Tom Died at USP Hazelton in West Virginia)/
where I am classified as a high max prisoner restricted to a high
accountability status (orange card) that requires me to be checked in
every two hours during the daytime and evening hours. I am forced to
work in the prison print shop, which has a higher security than any
other job shop. And if I refuse or get fired from this job, I 'll be
returned to the hole.
This is the first prison I've been held in where I can walk around
un-handcuffed and un-shackled. The prison authorities, because of my
political beliefs and affiliations, have declared me a "threat to the
secure and orderly running" of their prison system. As a result, I have
spent the last 12 years in continual lockdown - from the control unit in
New Jersey to USP Marion in Illinois, and ADX Super-max in Florence,
I stand accused of being a part of the Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson
unit in the 1970's and the United Freedom Front in the 1980's. I am
proud of the association and all that it implies...
*/"...Revolution is never begun anew,/*
*/only continued where others left off..."/*
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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