Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ray Luc Levasseur: Defendant in the Great Sedition Trial of Western Mass Returns After 20 Years…

On Thursday, Nov. 12th @ 7pm, Ray Luc Levasseur will speak at 1009 Campus Center at UMass in Amherst, Massachusetts. VAPP will be co-sponsoring the event and hoping to coordinate rides for anyone interested in attending from Southern VT. Please contact us at vermontaction@gmail.com if you are interested in going to this event.

In 1989, Ray Luc Levasseur, along with his comrades Pat Levasseur and Richard Williams, stood trial in Springfield, Massachusetts on Federal charges of seditious conspiracy. After ten months of deliberation, in the most expensive trial in Massachusetts history, a jury found all three not guilty of conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government through armed force. In his first public address in the Pioneer Valley in twenty years, Levasseur will reflect on the past and present significance of the Springfield sedition trial. He will also discuss his life experience as a French-Canadian youth growing up in a Maine mill town; as a Vietnam veteran; as an anti-imperialist revolutionary active in the Civil Rights, antiwar, and prison reform movements; as a prisoner arrested with other members of the “Ohio 7” and incarcerated for twenty years for his involvement in a series of bombings carried out to protest U.S. backing of South Africa’s racist apartheid regime and Central American right-wing death-squads; and his 2004 release and ongoing involvement in movements for social justice.

Levasseur’s prison writings and his closing statement from Springfield sedition trial are available on the following websites: http://home.earthlink.net/~neoludd/ and http://home.earthlink.net/~neoludd/statement.html.

Sponsored by: Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst; UMass Amherst Program in Social Thought and Political Economy; UMass Amherst Department of History; Food For Thought Books; Vermont Action for Political Prisoners; Rosenberg Fund for Children; and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

With partial support from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Dean of Graduate School, UMass Amherst.

Friday, October 9, 2009

VAPP presents MOVE on 10/16 and 10/17/09

Vermont Action for Political Prisoners



a documentary by Cohort Media

Followed by discussion with the film-makers

The Brick House Turners Falls, Mass.

Friday, October 16th @ 7:30 pm

Latchis Theater Brattleboro, Vermont

Saturday, October 17th @ 4:30 pm

Tickets: $5.50-$7.50 (sliding scale)

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This film exposes the history of violence perpetrated by the city of Philadelphia against the revolutionary organization MOVE, as well as the struggle that continues today to free nine MOVE members who have spent 30 years in prison for a crime that they did not commit. Come see this documentary and voice your questions to film-makers Benjamin Garry and Matt Sullivan.

“MOVE” is narrated by world-famous historian Howard Zinn and made its debut at numerous film festivals throughout the United States in 2004. These included the Ann Arbor Film Festival, East Lansing Film Festival, Melbourne Underground, Boston Underground, Atlanta Underground, 5 College Film Festival. The film won at both the 5 College Film Festival and the Boston Underground Film Festival.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Robert King of the Angola 3 comes to Brattleboro!

“I was born in the U.S.A. Born black, born poor.
Is it then any wonder that I have spent
most of my life in prison?”

Come hear Robert Hillary King’s powerful story & learn about the campaign to free his Angola 3 comrades Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, who are still serving life sentences despite much evidence of their innocence.
In 1970, a jury convicted Robert Hillary King (formerly known as Robert King Wilkerson) of a crime he did not commit and sentenced him to 35 years in prison. While locked inside Louisiana’s notorious Angola State Penitentiary, an 18,000-acre former slave plantation, he became a member of the Black Panther Party, organizing prisoners to improve conditions. In return, prison authorities beat him, starved him, and gave him life without parole after framing him for a second crime. He was thrown into solitary confinement, where he remained in a six-by-nine foot cell for 29 years as one of "the Angola 3." In 2001, the state of Louisiana grudgingly acknowledged his innocence and set him free.

Where: Latchis 4 (Corner of Main & Flat Streets in downtown Brattleboro)
(Entrance to left of main theater door)
When: Tuesday, April 7 - 6:00 p.m.
$2 - $20 sliding scale
(no one will be turned away for lack of funds)
Refreshments will be served.

Vermont Action For Political Prisoners (VAPP)

Vermont Action for Political Prisoners (VAPP) works for the freedom and amnesty of all U.S. held Political Prisoners (PP) and Prisoners of War (POW)

· We are committed to being anti-racist and fighting racism.
· We are anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-sexist, class-conscious, LGBTQ-allies.
· We work in solidarity with all Liberation Movements in the U.S.
· We are a non-hierarchical organization.
· We are a part of a larger movement to free all PPs/POWs.

· To be in continuous correspondences with PPs/POWs to make certain that their ideas and wishes for this movement are what provide direction for this work. We want to communicate with, connect with, and take direction from PPs/POWs
· To raise public awareness of existence of PPs/POWs, including education about the resistance movements they are a part of.
· To raise public awareness of the systemic injustices of U.S. Prisons.
· To provide material, emotional, and legal support to PPs/POWs
· To work in alliance with Jericho Movement, ABCF and other PP/POW support groups
· To make this work relevant locally by exposing issues with VT prisons and working with VT prisoners.
· To work in solidarity with Political Prisoners. We want to help meet the immediate needs and desires of PPs/POWs, while maintaining the ultimate goals of getting them free and eventually abolishing prisons. We are not interested in prison reform. We want our people out of captivity.

What is a PP? What is a POW?
· David Gilbert- “A political prisoner is anyone whose incarceration is a result of his or her actions taken, or positions espoused, on behalf of a political cause-specifically a political cause on behalf of the oppressed and downtrodden in society and against the powers that be.”
“Prisoners of war are captured freedom fighters from the Black, the Puerto Rican, and the Native American Struggles. They consciously fought against the oppression of their people; they fulfill the obligation to oppose racist and colonial regimes.”

· Jaan Laaman- “Political prisoners come from the popular social justice and national liberation movements within the U.S. of the past 30 years-specifically from the Civil Rights/Black Power/New AfricanLiberation struggles, the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, Indigenous Peoples survival struggles, anti-imperialist/anti-war movements, anti-ractist/anti-fascist struggles, the Women’s Movement, social and economic justice struggles, and the environmental movement.

· Robert King-“Not every prisoner is a political prisoner but every prisoner is a political victim.”

We believe in the struggles, fights and freedom movements that the Political Prisoners we support are part of and work with them in solidarity. We fight for their freedom and amnesty not only because we believe they don’t deserve the charges brought against them, but because our values are rooted in their work.

We work in honor of US Political Prisoners who have passed on and strive to continue their struggles.

We are prison abolitionists.
· Prisons need to be abolished. Imprisonment is a form of slavery and perpetuates a racist, classist, and sexist society. Prisons in any form will never work to solve social problems and will always serve as a tool for the rich and powerful to maintain control. Abolition of prisons is essential to moving toward a free and just society.
· We also strive to dismantle The Prison Industrial Complex, the warehousing of people as a system of social control needed to perpetuate capitalism. Angela Davis gives us more definition to this concept. “The prison industrial complex is much more than the sum of all the jails and prisons in this country. It is a set of symbiotic relationships among correctional communities, transnational corporations, media conglomerates, guards’ unions, and legislative and court agendas.” “Prison construction and the attendant drive to fill these new structures with human bodies have been driven by ideologies of racism and the pursuit of profit.”

· Case support
· Letter writing campaign
· VT media campaign
· Former PP speakers
· Film series
· Fundraising
· Antiracist art/poetry