From: Oread Daily June 14, 2001
LINDA EVANS INTERVIEW
From Freedom Road Magazine
On January 20, Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of Linda Evans and Susan
Rosenberg, anti-imperialist political prisoners incarcerated for nearly 16
years. Linda has hit the ground running. She lives in California and is an
activist for the freedom of the remaining political prisoners.
FR: What were the specific charges that led to your incarceration?
LE: I had five trials altogether. In Louisiana I was convicted of making
false statements to purchase otherwise legal weapons. I received a 40-year
sentence, reduced on appeal to 30. In New York I received two years for
being a felon in possession of a gun and three for harboring a fugitive. In
Connecticut all charges were dropped because of FBI misconduct, including
the charge of harboring my comrade, Marilyn Buck.
FR: As a political prisoner, you and your co-defendants were identified as
anti-imperialists. What did that mean to you when you were on trial, and
what does it mean to you now?
LE: It's important to understand that US imperialism is on a continuum, and
that it has now transformed itself into what we call globalization. In the
1960s and '70s Third World peoples identified US imperialism as the primary
enemy of national liberation. By joining the struggle against imperialism,
North Americans were taking a stand for self-determination for all
oppressed people. We in particular supported anti-colonial struggles inside
the US by oppressed nations the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, the
Black Liberation Movement and the Chicano/Mexicano struggle as well as
national liberation struggles in Latin America, Africa, and Asia,
particularly in Vietnam. Now many countries have achieved flag independence
but not self-determination. A tool of US imperialism today is the debt and
structural adjustment conditions imposed by structures such as the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund as well as the threat of trade
sanctions and the World Trade Organization. The forms of domination have
become more complex because of the centralization of economic and political
power in transnational corporations. The role of national governments has
changed, although the state still plays the central role in imperialism.
FR: You're out. What tasks do you see for radical and revolutionary
LE: I've been locked up for so long that I wouldn't want to tell people
what to do. I have much to learn from those who have been out here working
for the last fifteen years.
I do see a few things that are important. White activists must fight white
supremacy and racism in all its manifestations, which include everything
from the genocidal incarceration of black and brown people, police
brutality, the death penalty and other aspects of the prison-industrial
complex, to gentrification. Activists must unite grassroots efforts to
control resources and against environmental racism and takeover of
communities of color by real estate developers. Another aspect of the
battle against racism is fighting the growth of the white supremacist
movement, racist paramilitary organizations and their public covers such as
religious fundamentalists. Anti-globalization activists need to recognize
how structural adjustment manifests itself inside the US, including the
growth of the police state as a tool of social control. Domestic structural
adjustment, which includes cutbacks in housing, hospitals, education, and
welfare, most strongly impact communities of color.
It is important to have an analysis and strategy that brings together
fragmented, single-issue work and unites diverse communities in the
resistance struggle. Gay men and lesbians, young people, anti-globalization
and anti-prison activists and people of color need to be working together
to achieve the changes we all need.
FR: Why is the movement to free the remaining political prisoners so
LE: One, support for freedom fighters and those who resist is a way to
support militancy, seriousness and dedication in our struggle. To win
revolutionary change, risks must be taken. Our willingness to support the
political prisoners and POWs actually defines the nature of the movement
that we are building.
Second, supporting political prisoners is a human rights struggle. So many
comrades have been in for more than two or three decades, and the
conditions under which they live are incredibly inhumane. It also unites us
with an international movement for the freedom of political prisoners.
There are increasing numbers of political prisoners all over the world
jailed for resistance to globalization. Third, we must fight repression and
the hegemony of the police state. All prisoners are victims of political
circumstances, particularly racism and its intersection with the criminal
injustice system. However, political prisoners took affirmative action to
confront oppression and win liberation, coming up against extreme state
repression. Specific counter-insurgency programs, like COINTELPRO, often
framed activists, who became political prisoners. Those programs continue
to exist today.
FR: What are some particular cases today?
LE: People must support Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown), who has been set up
by the government and is on trial for his life in Atlanta. Sarah Jane Olson
is also on trial in Los Angeles. I would also urge people to discover the
many political prisoners who have disappeared into the prison-industrial
complex, Black Panthers and other freedom fighters. They should become a
part of our daily lives and we should be thinking about supporting them in
their daily struggle to survive. We should work for the release of
political prisoners, and help them live inside-by waging medical campaigns,
writing to them, sending books, and developing relationships. We must fight
against the isolation, because that is how the state wins.
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