By Ed Mead
Welcome to another issue of our little newsletter. The first thing I want to do this month is extend a hearty expression of good wishes to one of our favorite outside readers, Jonathan Nelson, who is today serving 30 days in the Island County Jail for protesting the recent war in the Middle East. More than a hundred thousand died, not for any great principle, but rather to protect the greater profits of the big oil companies. We salute all those who struggled against this unjust war.
Two months ago, in our September issue, my article titled "Remembering Attica" was published. The following month we printed a criticism of that article that was submitted by Beryl Sanders. There were other criticisms, too. First there was my factual error of saying Jesse Jackson was on the Attica observer team. He was not. During 1974 I worked for the Attica Brothers Legal Defense Committee in Buffalo, New York. I met Jesse Jackson during a national demonstration held in support of the Attica Brothers during that period. Somehow, I transposed Jackson's presence at the demonstration to his being present on the observer team. That's what happens when one writes about historical events from memory, rather than solid notes.
The second significant error of my Attica article was a political one. I chastised the observer committee for not remaining in D-Yard with the Attica Cons, when ordered to leave by the state, thus making it more difficult for then Governor Rockefeller to order the fatal assault on prisoners. I was wrong to have expected so much from the observers. The mere presence of the observers during the early stages of the revolt was a significant development. More I should not have expected.
Paul and I have sought to improve and strengthen all aspects of this newsletter from its inception. One ongoing weakness is that the pages of the PLN have too often been heavy with the dull writing of those who learned to write from reading law books. Much of this writing has been produced by me, a representative of the old-guard of prisoner activism. We are in need of new blood from younger prisoner writers who can use the language of today's generation of prisoners. If you or someone you know is at all willing to give us a try, then just send us some material to publish. Paul and I are particularly interested in more participation by national minorities in this paper's production process. There's no pay and the work is often demanding, but there is a high level of satisfaction at doing one's best to struggle for justice.
Our regular readers will probably be missing our monthly plea for financial contributions. We're giving you a brief respite from our incessant begging. Resist gave us a $600 grant, saying ours is the best prisoner-produced publication they've ever seen. The money is enough to operate the paper for three months; the praise will last us even longer. Much thanks and a tip of the hat to Resist. We have already spent $200 of the Resist money toward obtaining our non-profit tax status, a move that we hope will eventually reduce our postage costs by nearly two-thirds. So for everyone who can afford to do so, keep sending those contributions in to us. Incidentally, thanks to your ongoing financial support, the PLN continues to pay for itself, just barely.
That's all for today. Hope you are enjoying this issue of the newsletter. If not, let us know about it. You pay for this paper; you let us know what you want. In any case, be sure to pass it on to a comrade when you are done.
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login