Sunday, December 14, 2014

Interview with an Antifascist Prisoner in Sweden


Joel is an antifascist prisoner in Sweden. In July 2014, he was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for attempted murder, violent disorder, and carrying an illegal weapon. The sentence followed a collective defense against a Nazi attack on an antifascist demonstration in Stockholm. The interview was conducted in the fall of 2014. Explanatory notes have been added.

You were sentenced in connection with an antifascist demonstration in Kärrtorp, a suburb of Stockholm, in December 2013. Can you tell us about that day?

During the weeks before the demonstration, there had been trouble in Kärrtorp and the neighboring suburbs. The Swedish Resistance Movement (Svenska motståndsrörelsen, SMR) had tried to establish itself in the area. They went through the usual Nazi routine of spraying swastikas on the local school and attacking people who have no place in the world they envision – in some cases with knives.

I’m not sure, but I think Network Line 17 already existed before the demonstration. In any case, it was this network that organized it.1 There were indications that Nazis might show up to disrupt the event, but when I checked in with people in the morning it seemed that everything was going to be fine. Since there was a solidarity benefit for an imprisoned antifascist the same night, I thought I would only stop by the demonstration for a short while before heading into town to help prepare the evening event. When I got to Kärrtorp with a few friends, we were about ten minutes late.

Five minutes later, the Nazis came.2 We saw them from about 200 yards away. Everything became very chaotic; we weren’t prepared and spread out across the square. We also had very little to defend ourselves with. The Nazis began to shower us with bottles. It didn’t seem to matter to them that there were many children and pensioners among us. They advanced onto the square while we retreated.

One of the strongest memories I have from that day is a policewoman standing between us and the Nazis and then suddenly running away. When I read the police report later, I understood that she went to get her helmet because of all the flying bottles, but at the time it felt like this was going to get really dangerous, even life-threatening. Everyone knows how happy SMR members are to use their knives.3

Once the initial confusion was over, we managed to gather and start a counterattack. We stopped the Nazis’ advance but that was not good enough. A front line formed. The police didn’t have a clue what was going on and beat us at least as hard as the Nazis. It was still chaotic, but now we were at least coordinated. We pushed back the Nazis further, and this is when I first saw one of them with a knife. I started heading towards him but lost sight. Meanwhile, the Nazis tried to regain ground. There were serious skirmishes and I saw another Nazi with a knife. If, at that point, the Nazis had gotten the upper hand and one of us had fallen to the ground, it could have been fatal. That’s when the Nazi closest to us got stabbed.

A number of demonstrators who had first left the square now returned. With their help, we managed to push the Nazis from the square to the adjacent bus station, then past some buildings out into the forest. More police arrived only when we were already at the bus station. I had hurt my knee in the melee and didn’t go with the others. Soon, the police shielded off the Nazis and protected them.4 I waited for my friends to return to the square, then I went, as planned, into town to help prepare the evening event.

You said that it wasn’t “good enough” to stop the Nazis’ advance. What do you mean by that?

It is important to understand that the Nazis came to attack us. They didn’t come to have a counter-rally, as they claim. Had it been up to them, they would have chased everyone from the square and, ideally, hurt some folks in the process. The attack was not just about preventing people from taking a stand against them, it was also about propaganda. The goal was to prevent any resistance to their recruitment efforts in the area and to use the action itself as a recruitment tool. Anyone who doesn’t understand this, chooses to ignore reality. Kärrtorp isn’t unique, that’s how it works everywhere. If we don’t fight on the streets, where are we going to fight?

I’m digressing, but it’s really important to point out how crucial it was to not only stop them but to chase them out of Kärrtorp. If you want their activities to end, this is needed.

You also mentioned that everyone knows how happy SMR members are to use their knives. Can you give examples?

The readiness of SMR members to use knives is well documented. About a year before the Kärrtorp attack, a person was stabbed to death by SMR members in Vallentuna, just outside of Stockholm. Only a few days before the Kärrtorp attack, someone was severely injured just a few suburbs away. And at least one of the people who murdered the union activist Björn Söderberg (rest in peace) was connected to SMR.5 There are more examples, but these should suffice. SMR tries to attract people – mostly young ones – with revolutionary romanticism and a sense of community that builds more on violence than ideology.

When did you get arrested?

About a week later. I was picking up my son from school.

It seems that you’ve been active in Sweden’s antifascist movement for quite some time. Can you tell us a little about this?

I grew up in Linköping during the 1980s and ’90s. Just like in the rest of Sweden and Europe, Nazis were on the rise. In Sweden, the “Laser Man” wreaked havoc, and the band Ultima Thule topped the charts.6 Linköping was strongly affected by this. It was a center for the production of White Power music and several leaders of the different Nazi organizations that existed in Sweden at the time were living in or around the town.

I was born in Chile, so I have personally experienced the everyday racism that still exists in Sweden. When I was little, I was physically attacked by Nazis. Once I got older, I started to fight back and defend myself. I realized that this made things much easier for me.

When I was 13 years old, I started going to hardcore punk shows. At the time, the hardcore punk scene was much more political than today. At a gig in 1995, someone asked me if I wanted to travel with him to Denmark to protest a march celebrating the German Nazi Rudolf Hess. I didn’t hesitate a second.

It was during this trip that I really embraced antifascism. I hadn’t known that there was a real antifascist movement out there. Everything in Denmark seemed so organized. There were lots of people from all ages at the demonstration, and this didn’t change even when we got into skirmishes with the police trying to keep us away from the Nazis. You could call it an initiating experience. It took some time before I got organized myself, but it was during this trip that I really understood that I was an antifascist.

Was the antifascist movement in Denmark better organized at the time than in Sweden? Has this changed?

I can’t really say how well antifascists were organized in other parts of Sweden at the time, but in Linköping there was no organization at all, or at least you didn’t notice it. In the late 1990s, however, an extraparliamentary left developed in Linköping as well.

I don’t want to go into details regarding antifascist organizing in Sweden, but once I had gotten involved myself, I noticed that things were really progressing. All aspects improved: research, recruitment, infrastructure. We only dropped the ball in one respect, and that was tactics. While the Nazis experimented successfully with new forms of politics, we didn’t make that leap.

Is the far right a big danger in Sweden? What does the movement look like today?

That depends on how you define the far right. The Sweden Democrats are now the country’s third biggest party. I reckon that is a big threat.7 It seems that the political situation in Sweden mirrors that in the rest of Europe. Far-right parties are gaining ground everywhere.

With respect to Nazi organizations, there is little risk that they will enter parliament.8 But Nazis will always pose a physical threat to anyone fighting them. Whenever Nazis are left alone, they grow. This is evident if you look at what has happened in Sweden during the last ten years: in towns where antifascists were strong, Nazis pretty much had to abandon their efforts. Those who deny that connection don’t know what they are talking about.

Antifascist activism can sometimes feel tough and unrewarding, but in a town like Örebro, for example, where Nazis were very active just a few years ago, there is now basically no activity at all. Other towns where militant struggle on the street has brought results are Linköping and Gothenburg. For different reasons, Stockholm is a difficult town to work in, but even there Nazis have been pushed back several times.

Internationally, Sweden is still seen as an open and liberal country. How does this go together with the far-right currents that you’re describing?

I think that whenever Nazis go from talk to action, that is, when they kill immigrants or rob banks, it is usually swept under the carpet. And whenever this is not possible – for example in the case of Malexander9 or Kärrtorp – the politicians make a big media circus out of it, full of condemnation and outrage. So either Nazis aren’t seen as a problem, or, when they are, the politicians give the impression that they will take care of it.

What are the perspectives for the country’s left?

I assume you mean the extraparliamentary left. Not sure if I’m the right person to ask since I’ll be out of the game for some time, but I think there needs to be better collaboration between different leftist groups and we need to establish more common goals.

Can you give examples for such goals?

I think we should be active in the areas that concern us all, especially in those where the underclass is attacked most heavily – this concerns, for example, the privatization of council flats or precarious labor relations. I also think that it is important to engage in small projects where you can actually experience victories and see that it’s possible to change things. That’s crucial for our morale. A good example was the campaign against JobbJakt.

What was it about?

JobbJakt is a website offering jobs. Some years ago, they wanted to introduce a bidding feature where the person ready to do the job for the lowest wage would get it. So, say, someone wants his bathroom redone, and then one person offers to do it for 150 crowns an hour, another for 100 crowns, etc. This is clearly wage dumping and hostile to the working class. It was important for us not to let such practices take root in Sweden and so we campaigned against the website – successfully.

You’ve been stressing the importance of organization in political work. Can you elaborate on this?

The importance of organization speaks for itself. If we do things together we are stronger. How exactly we are organized is secondary. It can be in a band, a union, a militant group, a pacifist group, a cultural center, a social center, a publishing house, a bookshop, or whatever. It doesn’t need to be die-hard activism either. But it’s important that organizing doesn’t stop with your own project. We need to make use of our movement’s diversity. Networks and umbrella organizations are important. At this point, the extraparliamentary left hardly feels like a movement at all.

What is your personal situation like? As a prisoner, what kind of support do you consider most important?

Right now, I’m at the prison in Kumla waiting for an evaluation. Kumla is a “Class 1 Prison” in Sweden, that is, a maximum security facility. Once the evaluation is done, I will probably be transferred to another maximum security facility.10

Support? I’d be very happy if more people got active and, especially, organized.

Some final words?

Let me quote Madball: “Times are changing for the worse / Gotta keep a positive outlook / Growing up in such violent times / Have some faith and you’ll get by.”

If you want to send mail to Joel, please check the current address at the Facebook page “Free Joel”.

  1. The Network Line 17 (Nätverket Linje 17) is a network of community groups along the southern end of Stockholm’s subway line 17.

  2. There were about thirty SMR members involved in the attack.

  3. During the attack, there were only about handful of police officers present. Reinforcements took several minutes to arrive.

  4. Twenty-eight SMR members were arrested. So far, sixteen have gone to court, seven of whom have been sentenced. The highest sentence so far has been eight months in prison for violent disorder.

  5. On September 21, 2012, Joakim Karlsson was murdered in Vallentuna. On December 7, 2013, Fidel Ogu was severely injured in Hökarängen. On October 12, 1999, Björn Söderberg was killed outside his apartment in Sätra in southern Stockholm.

  6. From August 1991 to January 1992, the “Laser Man” John Ausonius killed one person, the Iranian student Jimmy Ranjbar, and severely injured ten more in a series of shootings targeting people he considered “foreign” (in the beginning, Ausonius used a rifle with a laser sight, hence the name). Ultima Thule was a popular Swedish rock band with ties to the neo-Nazi milieu.

  7. At the 2014 parliamentary elections, the far-right Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) received 12.86% of the vote.

  8. The Party of the Swedes (Svenskarnas parti), which until recently was called the National Socialist Front (Nationalsocialistisk front), also participated in the elections. It received 0.07% of the vote.

  9. On May 28, 1999, two policemen were shot dead by neo-Nazis in the small town of Malexander in southern Sweden following a bank robbery.

  10. Shortly after the completion of this interview, Joel was moved to the maximum security prison of Tidaholm. For updates, please see the Facebook page “Free Joel”.

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

November Sale at Leftwingbooks.Net!

That’s right, we’re having a sale!

Dozens of books on special, with a selection that will be changing throughout the month of November, so check and then check back

Settlers, The Communist Necessity, David Gilbert’s Love and Struggle, Maroon the Implacable, Undoing Border Imperialism and more…

At !

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Justice for Jennifer Laude


on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Monday, October 06, 2014

Anarchy for Her

Anarchy for Her

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Windi Earthworm on Queer Corps

Windi Earthworm was an institution of the radical anglo left in 1980s Montreal. A crossdressing openly gay street musician who took it upon himself to educate the public about the Vancouver 5, the genocide of Indigenous peoples, the destruction of nature, and the miseries of life under capitalism, Windi was a frequent performer at benefits put on by the scene. Indeed, generally he was by far the most popular act.

Windi was diagnosed HIV+ in the mid-eighties, and had moved to the countryside by 1986 – and when his health started to noticeably deteriorate, he left Quebec for the West Coast, settling in Victoria, B.C. He died in 1993.

A month ago, on August 11, 2014, Queer Corps (on CKUT 90.3 FM) devoted an entire show to Windi’s music, and to talking to people who knew him and sharing their memories with us. It is well worth listening to, and has been uploaded to soundcloud where you can do just that.

You can read more about Windi, and listen to his music, here.

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Marx and Philiosophy review of Turning Money Into Rebellion, by Joshua Moufawad-Paul

At the end of the 1980s five men robbed a cash-in-transit vehicle in Copenhagen, stealing over thirteen million crowns. The subsequent investigation led to the discovery of an apartment in the district of Blekingegade that contained: ‘crystal radio receivers, transmitters, and antennas; masks, false beards, and state-of-the-art replicas of police uniforms; numerous false documents and machines to produce them; extensive notes outlining the … robbery and other unlawful activities; and – in a separate room, accessible only through a hidden door – the biggest illegal weapons cache ever found in Denmark.’ (3)

to read the rest of this review on the Marx and Philosophy site, click here

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Monday, August 25, 2014

finding our way out

So we’re somewhere, can’t even agree on how to characterize where, but what we do agree on is we want to get out. There’s paths leading in all directions, and we can only see so far down each. Some we know are dead ends, some we know are worse. But even there, where a passageway once taken seemed to discredit itself forever with bloodshed and tragedy, we can’t really be sure it wasn’t the right one, and the we didn’t just miss a side door or tunnel branching off X feet in. It may be unlikely, and unreasonable to count upon, but no one can rule it out as a possibility.

Welcome to the epistemology of the maze. Welcome to life in the 21st century.

Situated as we are — where? still can’t agree to say! — we know we better move. So we will. And sometimes we’ll go down a passageway hoping it is the way out. Sometimes we’ll go with no hope in our hearts, just to rule it out, or to confirm a suspicion of another dead end.

Deductive? Inductive? Never mind, just put one foot in front of the other, and let’s go.

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How come so many UK leftists are Trots?

In Terry Bisson’s interview with Ken MacLeod in The Human Front (PM Press, 2013), there’s this great answer to Bisson’s question “How come so many UK leftists are Trots?” :

Short answer: because Trotskyists in Britain moved fast on the CP’s crisis in the 1950s, and moved with the times in the 1960s.

Long answer: in the 1960s in a lot of countries semimass currents arose to the left of the official Communist Parties. In some countries, including the United States and West Germany, most of the radicals who wanted to be revolutionaries became some kind of Maoists. In others, including the UK and France, much the same kind of people became Trotskyists. I think part of the explanation goes back to the 1950s, and especially the aftermath of 1956 and the Soviet intervention in Hungary.

The crisis of the Communist Party of Great Britain gave rise to a very serious opposition around a magazine called The New Reasoner, involving academics and people with real labour movement roots, which became what’s now called the Old New Left. Some of these people were very open to Trotsky’s arguments, and none of them were interested in adopting a new personality cult or clinging to the old one.

The funny thing is that in the United States the Trotskyists were much better organised than in Britain. For one thing, they were all in one party, the Socialist Workers Party (except for the Shachtmanites, who were busy becoming social democrats). In Britain they were all in one party too, but it was the Labour Party, and they were split into (at least) three mutually hostile groups. But the largest group was able to intervene in the crisis of the CP and rip off a couple of hundred serious people: intellectuals and trade unionists. Then they picked up more young people from the first wave of anti-nuclear activism—the Aldermaston marches and all that. They proceeded to lose or burn out the best of them, largely because their leader, Gerry Healy, was a thug as well as an ultra-left. The regime in Healy’s group was far worse than anything anyone had experienced in the CPGB. Say what you like about Harry Pollitt (the CP’s general secretary until 1956) he never thumped another communist, or threw anyone down the stairs. But other Trot groups were there to pick up people from the heap at the bottom of Healy’s stairwell. What’s worrying, actually, is how many went back up the stairs. In the United States, the SWP fumbled the CPUSA’s crisis, saw the CP left wing walk past them and into the increasingly ultra-left Progressive Labor, and followed up by failing to dive into the Civil Rights struggle. The mass movement they did dive into was the Vietnam anti-war movement, and even there they found themselves to the right of the young radicals who wanted to wave Vietcong flags. They came across as a very staid, conservative organization, rather like the CPUSA itself, and missed the 1960s. It took some doing at the time for a revolutionary organization to recruit almost no one out of SDS, but the SWP managed it.

Two of the British Trotskyist groups of the 1960s, the International Socialists and the International Marxist Group, were very much more open to the so-called counterculture. They didn’t frown on kids with long hair who smoked dope. They waved their own Vietcong flags. They shifted farther and faster than the U.S. SWP did on gay liberation, as it was then called. They had plenty of militant working-class struggles to pitch into, which the SWP didn’t to the same extent (and it missed out on the ones it did have).

So Britain is infested with ex-Trots instead of with ex-Maoists, which is a small mercy.

The lesson, yet again: don’t go hating on the kids with weird hair and strange habits…

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Banksy in Boston: FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS CANCELLED, Essex St, Chinatown, Boston by Chris Devers

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Friday, July 04, 2014

NYS Parole Board’s War Against Political Prisoner Jalil Muntaqim

New York State Political Prisoner Jalil Muntaqim was recently denied parole for

the 8th time by the New York State Parole Board. Jalil first became eligible for

parole in 2002, and has been denied parole from that time to the present. At

this point there is no longer a need to discuss Jalil’s accomplishments and why

he should be home. Instead, let’s talk about the forces that are working to

influence the parole denials of Jalil Muntaqim.

Law Enforcement officials across the country, spearheaded by The New York City

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), have led a nationwide media campaign

against Jalil and Herman Bell, his co-defendant. The PBA has labeled them in the

eyes of the public as violent sixties radicals who murdered two NYC police

officers in cold blood. Police unions in San Francisco, Chicago, New Jersey and

Florida have all mobilized their ranks and have publicly petitioned the New York

State Parole Board to deny parole for both Jalil and Herman.

People, you don’t have to believe us. You can look on pro-police websites such

as and The Fraternal Order of

Police, the same group that has lobbied publicly for close to three decades for

the execution of Mumia Abu Jamal, have also lobbied to help keep Jalil and

Herman in prison. In fact, Sally Velasquez-Thompson, who is an active member of

the Fraternal Order of Police and the Detective Endowment Association, was one

of the parole officers assigned to Jalil’s parole hearing in 2012. This shows

the clear connection between the police and parole board. This is similar to the

parole hearings of The Move 9, where two of the parole officers involved in

their hearings are former police officers.

People should be outraged by this, especially if you live in New York State,

because your tax dollars are paying the salaries of these legalized terrorists

called The New York State Parole Board. Instead of the interest of the community

calling for parole for Jalil being taken into consideration, the opinion of the

police – the same police who brutalize, murder, and maim Blacks, Latinos, and

poor whites – is given a platform at Jalil’s and other political prisoners

parole hearings. They get the say so on this because they are the police.

At this point Jalil is not only held as a political prisoner. He is also now a

hostage of the New York State Parole Board and the New York City Patrolmen’s

Benevolent Association.

This has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with hate and

vengeance. Jalil is being made to pay for taking a stand against this corrupt

government just like the rest of our imprisoned freedom fighters who took a

stand against this rotten corrupt government.

It’s time to stand up and fight back. If we are as loving and courageous as our

Freedom Fighters, we will be able to bring them back to their community and

their loved ones, where they belong.

The PBA wants to retroactively sentence our beloved Freedom Fighters to life

with parole, but this is not what the law says.*Jalil, Herman Bell, Robert Seth

Hayes Mohamman Koti and Maliki Shakur Latine have all been denied parole

multiple times due to the pernicious influence of the PBA over the parole

board.* Even their own propaganda against Jalil proves that it is his ideas they

are truly afraid of.

The system tries to create the illusion that it is omnipotent, but there are a

lot of cracks in the wall, so let’s keep pushing until all the walls come

tumbling down!

Free Jalil Muntaqim and All Political Prisoners and POWs!

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Solidarity with Bobette!

At the last May Day protest, police repression was brutal and a lot of protesters were hurt. Bobette was specifically targeted by the SPVM because of her political activities; they physically attacked her and psychologically harassed her. You can read a summary of what happened to Bobette on May Day afterward. Due to her injuries, Bobette has since then been force to cancel her contracts as a circus artist, which deprives her of income.

Police Impunity Must Stop!

In order, for Bobette, to sue the SPVM for bodily harm as well as moral and material damages, she must raise 4000$ for a medical expertise for her defence. So we are launching a campaign to raise the necessary amount for the expertise and to assist her financially until she can work again

We’re asking for the financial support of people, groups and organizations to help Bobette win her lawsuit against the SPVM.

For more information, you can contact us at

To make a donation for Bobette’s lawsuit against the SPVM, please write a check for:

Convergence des luttes anticapitalistes

Please indicate “Solidarité Bobette” on the memo line, and send it to the following address:


c/o QPIRG Concordia

1500 de Maisonneuve West, #204

Montréal, Québec

H3G 1N1

To make a donation by PayPal, click the button on the CLAC Legal web page.

Summary of what happened on May Day

On May 1st, 2014, around 8:45PM, in a parking lot near the corner of St-Antoine and St-Laurent, Bobette was illegally detained and arrested by several officers of the SPVM. She was viciously thrown to the ground by an officer with the badge number #5269 of the SPVM, and then punched and kicked repeatedly by several police officers among them police officer badge number #5269 and police officer badge number #6162.

She was then dragged over fifty meters by SPVM police officers. These officers smashed her head against a wall, twisted her right thumb, pushed their knees behind her legs, all that while constantly hitting her as they handcuffed her with tie wraps. They kept insulting and mocking her, using recent painful events related to her personal life.

Afterward, Bobette was transferred to two other SPVM police officers, who conducted an illegal search of her belongings. These officers continued acting violently before taking her by car in the vicinity of 600 Fullum street, in Montreal. She was then transferred to a police van where more SPVM officers harassed and took pictures of her against her will.

Shortly after her release, she lost consciousness and was hospitalized for injuries from her beating at the hands of the police. Bobette suffered a concussion, whiplash, a sprain, permanent damage to the joints on her right thumb, and many bruises on her hands, wrists, shoulders and calves. Her neck needed to be immobilized in a cervical collar for thirteen (13) days. She has not recovered the full use of her right thumb. She still suffers from lingering pain to her neck, her back, and from throbbing migraines.

This information is also available on the CLAC Legal webiste in French and English.

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Read the rest

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

The Struggle Within: Prisons, Political Prisoners, and Mass Movements in the United States

The Struggle Within is an accessible yet wide-ranging historical primer about how mass imprisonment has been a tool of repression deployed against diverse left-wing social movements over the last fifty years. Berger examines some of the most dynamic social movements across half a century: black liberation, Puerto Rican independence, Native American sovereignty, Chicano radicalism, white antiracist and working-class mobilizations, pacifist and antinuclear campaigns, and earth liberation and animal rights.

Berger’s encyclopedic knowledge of American social movements provides a rich comparative history of numerous social movements that continue to shape contemporary politics. The book also offers a little-heard voice in contemporary critiques of mass incarceration. Rather than seeing the issue of America’s prison growth as stemming solely from the war on drugs, Berger locates mass incarceration within a slew of social movements that have provided steep challenges to state power.

What People Are Saying

“The Struggle Within powerfully demonstrates that the issue of political prisoners is not about individuals but about the deep and enduring bonds of community resistance. Berger’s beautiful synthesis of more than fifty years of people’s history places the prison at the center of contemporary freedom struggles. This book is necessary reading for all who wish to revive a radical tradition in the face of the prison’s coercive attempt at erasure. The Struggle Within is a vital and moving contribution, rooted in the power of collective history.“ —Angela Y. Davis, author and former political prisoner

“Before the U.S. had today’s mass incarceration, it had political prisoners. Dan Berger’s excellent book shows how political repression produced the human rights nightmare that exists today in America’s prisons. More, the book tells the history of the hundreds of activists who have been incarcerated here—and most important of all, the stories of those who remain inside. This historical account tells the truth not only about political incarceration but also about how movements can act to dismantle the U.S. prison nation. Wherever you find your place in social justice activism, this much-needed book will help enrich your work and make it more effective.“ —Laura Whitehorn, former political prisoner and editor of The War Before

“Dan Berger has provided scholars and activists alike an untold and unfortunately too easily forgotten history of political incarceration and the struggle to free political prisoners in the U.S. Berger deftly grapples not only with the resilience of the incarcerated and the movements seeking their freedom, but more importantly with the roots of political incarceration in modern colonialism and its primary justification—racism. More than stirring our hearts and minds, this timely book should move us to action!“ —José López, executive director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center

“When the radical New Left crashed and burned, most participants resumed more or less conventional life trajectories. We too often forget that many of our brothers and sisters are still behind bars with no assurance of release. In The Struggle Within we are told about not only Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier but dozens of other political prisoners whose names we may not know. These men and women ’raised the stakes’ in confrontation with the Powers That Be and are behind bars not just for their ideas but because they were ’active participants in resistance movements.’ The author describes this book as an ’introductory and incomplete sketch,’ but it is, in fact, the most comprehensive survey of imprisoned Movement activists known to me. I deeply admire the author’s efforts to tell it like it is without excessive adjectives. While these souls are imprisoned, we are not free.“ —Staughton Lynd, author, educator, prison activist

“This vital piece connects not only an insightful academic reflection with lessons which radical movements would do well to learn, it connects past history with current realities in the service of a more just future. All intellectual pursuits should be so rooted in the service of building campaigns and organizations for the people’s liberation; Berger’s must-read book is a gift to social change activists everywhere.“ —Matt Meyer, coeditor of We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America

About Dan Berger

Dan Berger is an assistant professor of comparative ethnic studies at the University of Washington Bothell. His work on race, prisons, media, and American social movements has appeared widely in popular and scholarly journals. He is the author of Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era, forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press (2014). Berger is also the author or editor of three previous books: Letters From Young Activists, Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity, and The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism. A longtime activist, Berger is a cofounder of Decarcerate PA.

About Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is a professor of geography at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is a member of the founding collective of Critical Resistance, one of the most important national anti-prison organizations in the United States. She examined how political and economic forces produced California’s prison boom in Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California, which was recognized by ASA with its Lora Romero First Book Award.

About dream hampton

dream hampton has written about music, culture, and politics for twenty years. Her articles and essays have appeared in The Village Voice, The Detroit News, Harper’s Bazaar, Essence, and a dozen anthologies, most recently Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas’s Illmatic, edited by Michael Eric Dyson. A longtime member of the human rights organization Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, hampton helped to organize the Black August Hip Hop Concert Benefit to raise awareness about U.S. political prisoner for ten years. hampton directed The Black August Hip Hop Project, a film about the concert series, political prisoners, and MXGM.

This book can be purchased from

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New Webstore at!

It is with great pleasure that i can tell you that — the webstore associated with kersplebedeb — has been completely overhauled.

For the longest time, the previous shopping cart system was giving my grief. It was not flexible enough, and was not able to be tweaked and modified in the ways i wanted. Not only that, but even the people who made the software seemed unable to help make the necessary changes.

The new store is not 100% there yet, but it is up and running, and hopefully you’ll find it to be better and easier to navigate that what i had before. Check out the search features, new FAQ, and all the products we now have uploaded.

Users who had accounts on the old system will need to create new accounts on the new system, and that means bookstores and distros will need to do so and then let me know, so i can make sure you get the discounts you’re used to…

We’ll still be cleaning things up and making things more shiny and sparkly over the weeks to come, but in the meantime, check it out!

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Internet Explores You

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on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Islamophobic Attacks in Montreal: The Need for a Militant Movement Against Racism

On April 8, two Islamophobic attacks were carried out in Montreal. In the first case, in the early morning hours, an axe was thrown through a window the Centre communautaire islamique Assahaba with the words “Fuck Liberals” and “we will exterminate Muslims” written on it. Then, later that day, someone rode up on their bicycle, took out a baseball bat, and smashed the windows of three cars in front of the Madani mosque as their owners were inside saying their evening prayers.

The April 8 attacks came the day after the right-wing Liberal Party had defeated the equally right-wing incumbent Parti Quebecois in a provincial election. The PQ’s election campaign was built on racism and xenophobia, specifically targeting Muslim women, a bogus “Charter of Quebec Values” having been central to its failed attempt to win a majority government.

In the context of the “Charter debate”, which began in the summer of 2013 and snowballed as autumn turned to winter, countless acts of violence and harassment were directed at “foreign” groups in Quebec, identified by their adherence to specific “foreign” religions. (The proposed legislation actually made this explicit, exempting religious symbols and names that form part of Quebec’s “heritage.”) The primary targets throughout were Muslims, especially Muslim women, who were accosted while taking the metro or walking down the street, insulted, told to “go home”, and physically assaulted, often by people trying to forcibly remove any head covering they might be wearing. (An informal online survey of Muslim women in the province in December found that of 338 respondents, 300 said they had suffered verbal abuse since the charter controversy began.) Muslim women daycare workers in Montreal’s St-Henri neighbourhood received death threats and threats of rape after a photograph of them wearing niqab went viral on facebook; halal butcher shops were vandalized, as were mosques (with spraypaint and pig’s blood). Pro-Charter forces held demonstrations of tens of thousands of people mixing secularist, feminist, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant concerns. For many people in Montreal, our longest winter in years was a season of constant racist aggression and harassment.

Meanwhile, the internet, mass media, and government public hearings all provided a bully pulpit for racist conspiracy theories and hatemongering; i.e. the idea that there is a secret “Kosher tax” imposed by Jews, or that Saudi Arabia and Iran are funding feminist organizations that opposed the Charter, or that religiously-mandated circumcision is somehow the equivalent of rape – and the list just goes on. In one particularly horrendous case, when 47-year old Montrealer Naima Rharouity fell and died in a freak accident in the city’s metro system (her winter clothing got caught in an escalator and she was strangled to death), the Quebecor media machine reported for days that she was in fact killed by her hijab.

For all the pain and suffering that they caused with their racist ploy, the PQ’s gambit failed, and the Liberals won last week’s election.

In some quarters, the election results are viewed as a shift “back” to the right, the Liberals having been the proud architects of austerity measures and repression for years. Others see this as an “anti-racist” vote against the Charter, the Liberals having been the only political party to take a strong position against the racist legislation. (On the “left”, Quebec Solidaire completely failed in the most basic way to show solidarity with the targets of racism in Quebec, opportunistically criticizing the PQ’s charter while reassuring Islamophobic voters that it would pass a charter of its own if elected. Those comrades who are still enthusiastic about this Frankenstein’s monster clearly understand the concept of “anti-racist solidarity” in a very creative way.)

But explanations reading the PQ’s defeat in such clear-cut terms are overly simplistic, and ignore the fact that many different people voted for many very different reasons. More than that, such “all or nothing” analyses ignore several inconvenient facts, for instance that it was the Liberals who from 2006 to 2008 presided over a similar racist crisis with their “Reasonable Accommodations” hearings; that a majority of those polled just before the election (including many who did not vote for the PQ) still supported the idea of legislating discrimination against specific religious minorities; or that there was no effective opposition to neoliberalism during the 18 months that the PQ held power, while austerity measures continued to be introduced without pause.

There is a tendency – understandable and perhaps inevitable in movements where a small number of activists are trying to respond to a large number of pressing issues – to speak out and organize public opposition to oppressive projects when they are on the table and being discussed by the government or other social actors, but when they are seemingly defeated (as is the case now with the Charter) we redirect our meagre energies to other areas. Broadly speaking, this makes sense.

However, as evidenced by the April 8 attacks, it would be dangerous to assume that the explosion of racism that accompanied the Charter “debate” has run its course. This will depend on how various parties – our side, the far right, the PQ, the Liberals, and the targeted communities themselves – all choose to respond to the changes in the political terrain.

Even if the level of racist aggression and propaganda does temporarily subside, we should also remember a certain Prussian general’s military observation that “the most decisive losses on the side of the vanquished only commence with the retreat.”1 In a society where racist, patriarchal, and capitalist ideas are hegemonic, in and of itself the “retreat” of the Charter as the result of an election campaign will do nothing to weaken the social and cultural context from which this racist offensive sprang. In order for the Charter’s “retreat” to translate into an antiracist victory, it needs to be capitalized upon by ongoing antiracist organizing, propaganda, and analysis. Those of us who don’t vote should know: like all other struggles the fight against racism will be won or lost in in struggle between people – in our streets, neighbourhoods, communities, schools and workplaces, and even in our families. Now is the time in which we have to inflict those “decisive losses” on the enemy – or in which we fail to do so, and as such play our part in preparing the stage for the next racist upsurge.

It would be nice if someone had issued a public statement of solidarity with the people who attend and work at the Assahaba community centre and Madani mosque. Maybe someone will. i hope so. Now more than ever, i think we have to prioritize being loud about our intention to fight for a world in which all forms of colonial, capitalist, and patriarchal violence and oppression finally come to an end – and about the fact that to be effective, this is a fight that has to be waged without police or politicians, outside of and against their governments and rival capitalist agendas.

  1. Carl von Clausewitz, On War: “Now it is known by experience, that the losses in physical forces in the course of a battle seldom represent a great difference between victor and vanquished respectively, often none at all, sometimes even one bearing an inverse relation to the result, and that the most decisive losses on the side of the vanquished only commence with the retreat, that is, those which the conqueror does not share [page] with him.”

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Leading IISH collections made available online Announcement, IISH, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Starting today, dozens of the IISH’s leading archives are fully available to view free of charge via the institute’s catalogue. Celebrated collections can now be studied from anywhere in the world, including the papers of Pieter Jelles Troelstra and Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, Lev Trotsky, the German Social Democrat politicians Eduard Bernstein and Karl Kautsky, and the French anarchist Louise Michel, as well as the archives of political parties as the Dutch Social-Democratic Party.

The digitalized documents can be browsed and each piece can be viewed in full screen mode. By adjusting the size and contrast, or rotating, it will be possible to consult the material easily. The documents can also be downloaded as a pdf file or printed out.

The Institute has digitalized its archives in recent years using Metamorfoze, a national programme that aims to preserve the printed materials that form part of our heritage. SNS Reaal has also made an important contribution: for the last two years, the company has been supporting a major project undertaken by the Institute to digitalize the most famous and important archives that were purchased between 1935 and 1940 using funds from the ‘Centrale’ life insurance company (a precursor of SNS Reaal). In the coming years, many more IISH collections, including the archives of Marx and Engels, will be made available online.

Look into the archives of

Bakunin at

Lev Trotsky at

Alexander Berkman at

Eduard Bernstein at

Domela Nieuwenhuis at

Frank van der Goes at

Alexander Herzen at

Karl Kautsky at

Labour and Socialist International at

Louise Michel at

Henriette Roland Holst at


Troelstra at

List of online available archives at <>

Read more about the ‘Centrale’ digitization project at and

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


monstersofthemarket testing to see how this comes through

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Support the Tyendinaga Arrestees!

Urgent need for money to cover legal fees for Tyendinaga Warriors.

On March 8, following a week of action demanding a national inquiry into the at least 825 missing and murdered indigenous women across Canada, warriors from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory blocked the CN mainline. This action, which fell on International Women’s Day, came the day after the release of a Parliamentary report which attempted to dismiss and deny the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and prevent any meaningful response or action. This is a continuation of colonization and its inherent violence against Indigenous communities, particularly Indigenous women. For more information on missing and murdered women in Canada, please visit:

During the rail blockade, Shawn Brant, Matt Doreen, and Marc Baille were arrested and are facing charges ranging from mischief for blocking the tracks and blocking a road to assault police, and possession of weapons. Steve Chartrand was arrested on the Thursday following the blockade on charges of mischief. Other charges have been announced in court, but have yet to be formally laid.

Marc Baille remains in custody, after refusing to sign restrictive bail conditions that he deemed to be unreasonable and unlivable. These court-ordered conditions would effectively ban him from the Tyendinaga community and prevent him from associating with members of his family, and further keep him from working at the motorcycle shop where he has worked for four years, causing a significant financial strain on his family and on the motorcycle shop.

The two others arrested on Saturday were released on bail Sunday morning. Shawn Brant reported becoming violently ill after a meal provided to him while in detention in the OPP detachment at Napanee, where he received no medical assistance despite alerting an officer to his condition. For more information, click here.

Currently, there is an urgent need to raise money in order to retain lawyers, to run bail reviews and superior court appeals on the non-association conditions, to order court transcripts, to cover transportation costs to and from court and jail, and to cover canteen fees and collect calls for those in detention, and to support families as necessary..

Please consider donating what you can…

Please make your cheque out to “Solidarité sans frontières” and write “Tyendinaga Support” in the memo line. Mail or drop off cheque at:

Solidarité sans frontières / Tyendinaga Support

1500 de Maisonneuve West, #204 Montréal, QC H3G 1N1

By paypal:


(*please write a note to specify that it is for Tyendinaga)

Meanwhile, the Canadian government remains complicit in the murder and disappearances of hundreds of indigenous women. Actions to demand justice for these women, their families, and their communities are as important now as ever!

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Countering Colonization (and other great books)

ft6p3007qj-coverjpg.jpg So University of California Press has just made 700 of its books available for online reading (to read on a tablet you have to copy paste into some other program and do some conversions). One of these titles, which i can’t recommend highly enough, is Carol Devens’s Countering Colonization: Native American Women and Great Lakes Missions, 1630-1900 , a title which has been out of print for some time now.

Countering Colonization provides an important snapshot of how some Indigenous women dealt with colonialism and patriarchy in canada, providing rich details of resistance in various forms. Strongly recommended!

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Blogroll Overhauled

Letting you all know, the Kersplebedeb blogroll has been fixed and is now up and running. Dozens of blogs and other websites are indexed and will have their articles automatically listed.

The godawful wait time that the blogroll has had for the past year – up to several minutes to load! – is a thing of the past.

Of course, don’t assume just because something is linked to that it is something i have read or even am aware of. It is an automatic feature on my site, and lots shows up there and disappears again without my ever being aware.

Check it out here.

on the main Kersplebedeb website:


So here’s the deal: until January 17th (next Friday), everything at is 20% off, so long as you order $10 or more. This discount can be used as many times as you like, even on items that are already discounted. (Tho it cannot be extended to stores who already get an even bigger cut)

And the, after January 17th… we will not be fulfilling any orders until the end of February. That’s right, we’re going on vacation. Will let you know when we get back.

So if you need anything anytime before then, now’s the time to order!

Click here to buy stuff

on the main Kersplebedeb website:

JFK: Class Enemy


on the main Kersplebedeb website:

Saturday, January 04, 2014

this is a test

Read the rest

on the main Kersplebedeb website: