Wednesday, September 13, 2006

They Never Crushed His Spirit... A Tribute to Richard Williams

A new title is available from Kersplebedeb:

*** They Never Crushed His Spirit: A Tribute to Richard Williams ***

With an introduction by Lynne Stewart, and contributions by Netdahe Williams Stoddard, Jaan Laaman, Tom Manning, Ray Luc Levasseur, Jamila Levi, Pat Levasseur, Kazi Toure, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Marilyn Buck, Nehanda Abiodun, Sundiata Acoli, Mutulu Shakur, Russell "Maroon" Shoats, Carlos Alberto Torres, Oscar López Rivera, Laura Whitehorn, Susan Rosenberg, Adolfo Matos Antongiorgi, and many other friends, family and comrades of Richard's.

Richard Williams was a lifelong anti-imperialist and socialist, one of the Ohio 7 convicted in 1984 of having carried out armed actions against racism and imperialism as a member of the United Freedom Front. Targets included South African Airways offices, Union Carbide offices for their manufacture of cluster bombs used against revolutionaries in Central America, US Army and Navy reserve offices, General Electric, as the fourth largest military supplier, particularly against El Salvador, and IBM for building the computers that enforced the South African pass system.

After over twenty years of captivity and medical neglect, Richard passed away on December 7th 2005, at the age of 58.

From the editorial note: "The book is a tool, both to educate and to offend our sense of humanity. Let us take our outrage and use it to insure that not one more political prisoner dies in prison."

published by Kersplebedeb and Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project
143 pages
ISBN 1-894946-22-7
$7.00 US plus postage


It has been nine months since Richard Williams died, killed by a combination of Hepatitis C and consistent medical neglect on the part of the US prison system.

Richard Williams was a political prisoner, a working class communist who spent over twenty years behind bars for his activities in the armed clandestine movements of the 1970s and 80s.

Richard paid a high price for his political commitment. On top of the oppression and neglect that all prisoners suffer, political prisoners who do not renounce their beliefs are often subjected to particularly harsh treatment. Immediately following September 11, 2001, several political prisoners, including Richard, were put in isolation, even though there was no evidence of any kind linking them to the attacks. Richard was the last political prisoner to be released back to the general population on February 11, 2002. He spent 5 months in isolation, in freezing cold conditions. He was put in shackles and had a video camera fixed on him every time he left his cell, even to take a shower. He had virtually no contact with any one, not even his family, as his phone calls were restricted to one 15-minute call per week. The day after Richard was released back to general population, he suffered a minor heart attack.

As the Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project explain: "Richard's health deteriorated rapidly. He suffered a heart attack, was treated for testicular cancer, discovered he had untreated diabetes for a long time and had troubles with his gall bladder. In November 2004, he gained a transfer to the prison medical facility in Butner, North Carolina, where the treatment was noticeably better than in Lompoc. Still, adequate medical treatment was slow coming. What ultimately killed Richard was Hepatitis; his liver stopped functioning and his body was unable to process food. Richard was only 58 when he died the night of Wednesday, December 7, 2005."

So it is something that is very sad, even though it is also an honour, to have been able to have some involvement in publishing this book.

I encourage you all to either download a copy (for free) from or to order a copy for $7 US plus postage (which comes out to $12 for individual copies, making a total of $19 US) - email me at for details.

And most importantly - honour the memory of this fallen freedom fighter by fighting harder, both for those others who remain behind bars, and for a world in which the vicious racism, sexism and class oppression of the present day will all be things of the past.

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