Long time literary agent Francis Goldin has for years visited inmates on Death Row. She’s recently returned from visiting Lynne Stewart in the Carswell Medical Facility in Texas. She joins hosts to talk about her visit.
- We were there for 4 days and most of the time we were in the prison with her.
- If we kissed more than once, or hugged more than once she would be fined.
- We were only there for about 70 hours; we didn’t have enough time to talk.
- The day we left, all the plans were changed–no more 4-day visits, only Saturday and Sunday. The inmates were heartbroken.
- The breast cancer has moved to her lungs. The reason she has it in her lungs is because they didn’t treat her when they should have.
- It’s tremendously important to go to LynneStewart.org and sign on for this release.
- When you sign on, email every person on your list whether its 10 or 500.
- It’s really important that we send a million signatures.
- I visited Maroon for 27 years, every 3 months. I was there for 2 whole days.
- Lynne Stewart Compassionate Release Petition
Guest – Frances Goldin has worked in publishing for 63 years, as an agent and as editor-in-chief of a children’s publishing company. She founded the Frances Goldin Literary Agency and sold her first book in 1977. Authored by Black anthropologist Betty Lou Valentine and titled Hustling and Other Hard Work, the book continued to receive royalties for 32 years. Among her clients are Barbara Kingsolver, who she has represented for all of her 14 books, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Dorothy Allison, Frances Fox Piven, Martin Duberman, and iconic feminists including Charlotte Bunch and Esther Newton.
We welcome back Theresa Shoatz, daughter of political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz, who has spent 39 years in the US prison system. As many listeners may know, Russell Shoatz has been held under intense lockdown, spending no more than one hour a day outside of his cell for the past 21 of those years. He was locked up in 1972 for his activity as a member of the Black Liberation Army.
Meanwhile, Theresa Shoatz is on book tour promoting her father’s book titled Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz. We catch up with her in Chicago while on tour. Maroon the Implacable is the first published collection of Shoatz’s accumulated written works analyzing the prison system, imperialism and the drug war. He also writes with great insight about the Maroon communities throughout America. Newer essays examine current political movements including eco-feminism and matriarchy.
- Maroon had been told that he would die at SCI Greene. For him to be free from prison in general, would be when I would say we have won.
- We’ve been fortunate to have Bret Grote, assistant to the legal team, plus Dan Kovalic, and we just got a major commitment from a big law firm.
- Maroon has been writing since the eighties. In the nineties, some anarchists took his writings and put them in a zine, and took them throughout the United States and into Canada. They were used for education.
- So you get Maroon’s span from the eighties to the present day.
- His view now on women is so incredible because he stressed how important women are to the movement throughout the sixties and the seventies.
- At that time he didn’t recognize how important the women were. The women, I would say, are really the back bone of any community.
- On his second escape when he was returned to prison, an inmate said to him, they had a hell of a manhunt on you, you were chased down like a “Maroon.”
- He didn’t know anything about the Maroons. He dug in deep about their history and how they came about.
- The Maroons were slaves who had escaped from plantations. Some went deep into the woods and joined with Native Americans and some poor whites who were totally against this slavery thing.
- His digging into the history of the Maroons also involved me and my siblings. They were so awesome because they were fighting off attacks, also in the Caribbean areas, even into Mexico.
- Maroon has endured such torture, just outrageous treatment. Twenty-plus years of no-contact visits. The impact of this really does control mindsets.
- Maroon doesn’t have computers nor has he seen one up close. He does everything longhand, and through snail mail.
- Right now, I’m at the University of Texas. I’m presently with the dean and a professor in a writing class.
- If they haven’t heard of him, they want to know more.
- We have to step over what this government has thrown at us.
- They have more a hand on these youth than some these youths’ own parents.
- When you can punch right through that wall of the system that our youth are mixed up in, it’s not only uplifting for me but for them.
Guest – Theresa Shoatz, a Philadelphia-based prison justice activist and the daughter of Russell “Maroon” Shoatz.
Shadow Lives: How the War on Terror in England Became a War on Women and Children
It’s obvious and yet an unfortunate reality: war, prisoners of war and the prison industrial complex tear apart families. Very seldom are the voices of family members that were left behind by the tragedies of war heard. In the book Shadow Lives: How the War on Terror in England Became a War on Women and Children, author Victoria Brittain brings the reader close to these individuals whose lives were capsized by war. They’re usually socially invisible and their civil liberties are often trampled by the state under the guise of the “war on terror.”
- I got involved way back when people began disappearing, and they were being described as the worst of the worst by Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush. Some of those people came from Britain and we didn’t know anything about them.
- A friend of mine had a project to do verbatim plays about the families, and he asked me to be the person to interview the families to try to find out who these people were and what had brought them together in Guantanamo Bay.
- I find complete confusion. Nobody in the families knew anything about why their son or their brother had ended up in Guantanamo Bay. In the course of that I got to know some of the families.
I was particularly curious about one family that didn’t want to cooperate in the play, a Palestinian woman with five children, living alone and not speaking much English.
I wrote to her about the play and told her how ashamed I was of my country from the research that I’ve done.
We became close friends. Through her and her children, I met other women.
Over these past ten years it’s been a rich experience, and a sobering experience about injustice.
I think she was suppressing the agony and loneliness and fear that she was in, because she was so desperate to have her children approach something of a normal life.
It was only when other people began to come back to Britain from Guantanamo, that we began to get a picture the conditions in which people were being held.
Her husband had gone off to west Africa with 3 or 4 other men to try and start a peanut business. This was his idea as a refugee Palestinian in Britain. He wanted to find a way of making a life for his family.
When she found out he was taken from Afghanistan to Guantanamo, she was completely…there was no explanation.
There was absolutely no recourse for her for a long time.
It’s so sad, the Obama administration, he said he was going to close Guantanamo; here we are years down the road, these innocent people are still there and in the last 3 months, these people have become so desperate, because Congress is blocking them from getting out.
Again and again, every legal victory from CCR has been overturned by a higher court.
For these men, they really feel they’re at the end of the road.
The horror of this has been so well laid out by so many lawyers. I find it astounding that there isn’t an uproar in Congress.
Thank goodness Sami Al-Arian is no longer in prison, but he’s under house arrest.
Most of their friends turned away from them.
He spent about five years in about a dozen maximum security prisons.
The British and American intelligence services work so closely together.
Guest – Victoria Brittain has lived and worked as a journalist in Washington, Nairobi, Saigon and London. She worked at The Guardian for 20 years and is the author of Death of Dignity: Angola’s Civil War, and Enemy Combatant.