David Gilbert, a political prisoner held in New York State since 1981, wrote the following text in 2015, examining the the ways in which capitalism is confronted by, and contends with, crises in surplus absorption and realization, in the imperialist age.
In the 2014 Certain Days calendar, political prisoner David Gilbert wrote that the “War on Crime” which began in the early 1970s was in fact a conscious government counterinsurgency strategy to decimate and disrupt Black and other people of color communities across the United States.
In this pamphlet, interviewed by Bob Feldman, David uses this observation as his starting point to discuss the ongoing catastrophe that is mass incarceration, connecting it to the continued imprisonment of political prisoners and the challenges that face our movements today. This interview was conducted by mail in March 2014, by Bob Feldman. A shorter ...........READ MORE
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 went on to spend a total of 10 years underground, building a clandestine resistance.
David has been imprisoned in New York State since 10/20/81, when a unit of the Black Liberation Army along with allied white revolutionaries tried to get funds for the ...........READ MORE
This interview originally appeared in Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture, 5:2, 259-270. For a PDF of the interview, go here. Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and Mass Incarceration: An Interview on Contemporary Social Movements with David Gilbert
David Gilbert interviewed by Dan Berger, 2012
In the 1960s and 1970s, many activists looked to the prisons for political leadership, while viewing prisons themselves as institutions of repression and social control integral to larger systems of oppression. Around the world, the prisoner emerged as an icon of state repression and a beacon of liberation. If the prison served ...........READ MORE
In the 1960s it was common for protesters on the streets to get their ideas right through the bars–from the fiery scribes of the prison revolutionaries like George Jackson, Eldridge Cleaver and Malcolm X. Now, in a fresh 21st century when everything including prisons are morphing, prison revolutionaries are still tugging on our coatsleeves. These two writings are alike in being strong-minded, in being anti-imperialist, but ...........READ MORE
The United States, Structural Adjustment and Global Poverty
by Walden Bello, with Shea Cunningham and Bill Rau
148 pp. Illustrated. 1994.
Oakland: Food First. $12.95. (pb).
You’ve probably been taught about systems of debt-peonage that prevailed in more sinister eras or lands. The share cropper or laborer was forced to work to pay off perpetual debt to the landlord or the company – who of course set the prices and kept the accounts. This system was nothing but a thinly disguised form of slavery, with the peons in bondage and worked to the bone to enrich the overlords. ...........READ MORE
to read reviews of this essay click hereAn Almost Perfect Fit
AIDS – which can so heartlessly take people away in their prime of life – is the lethal scourge of our day, and it is still light years away from being brought under control. This epidemic seems to have an uncanny knack for attacking people that the dominant society considers “undesirable”: gays, injection drug users (IDUs), and prisoners. And AIDS has increasingly become a grim reaper in the Black and Latino communities within the U.S. and among Third World people internationally.
Today’s world is wracked by a proliferation of bitter and bloody conflicts, as divisions and hatreds crack open around a labyrinth of national, ethnic, religious and tribal fault lines. In addition to intolerable pain and suffering, it becomes harder to see where any of it can lead except to planting the seeds for unending generations of strife. Many activists of the 60s have grown nostalgic for that decade when there seemed to be real hope that oppressed – particularly the national liberation struggles – were reshaping the world by creating more humane, societies. Now, in so many situations, we don’t ...........READ MORE
QUESTION: On October 6, 1983 you were sentenced to a minimum of 75 years and a maximum of life in prison. How do you feel about facing life in prison?
I certainly don’t like being in prison, but it would be worse if I had lost my commitment to fight a system which is such an incredible destroyer of human life and dignity. As for the 75 years, well imperialism isn’t going to last that long. Nor do I think I will spend my natural life in prison. A revolutionary can be killed, inside our outside, but if we are ...........READ MORE
One of the supreme issues for our movement is summed-up in the contradictions of the term “white working class”. On 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.Historically, we must admit that the identity with the oppressor nation has been primary. There have been times of fierce struggle around economic issues but precious little in the way of a revolutionary ...........READ MORE