portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

actions & protests | political theory | prisons & prisoners

Statement from Anarchist Prisoner Harold Thompson

Statement from anarchist prisoner Harold Thompson to the Break the Chains Conference (Eugene, OR, Aug 8 - 10):
"I send warmest of anarchist greetings to all attending the Break the Chains Conference, from the belly of the beast of capitalism, this rural gulag fiefdom ruled over by prisoncrats! I stand 100% in solidarity with those of you wishing to build a strong Anarchist movement in the United States which will be a force for the monsters of the earth to reckon with in the future."
Harold Thompson
Harold Thompson
Harold Thompson
Statement to the Break the Chains Conference

[Harold Thompson is an anarchist prisoner serving life plus sentences in Tennessee, USA after a serious of farcical trials.]

I send warmest of anarchist greetings to all attending the Break the Chains Conference, from the belly of the beast of capitalism, this rural gulag fiefdom ruled over by prisoncrats! I stand 100% in solidarity with those of you wishing to build a strong Anarchist movement in the United States which will be a force for the monsters of the earth to reckon with in the future. History will write the account of whether we succeed or fail in our effort to sweep the monsters of the earth into the dustbin of history before they destroy the world in their exploitive quest for profit above all else, conquest before the lives and good of the people in the name of empire, and before they grasp ironclad power which cannot be broken and will crush us after murdering our dreams of a better world, our yearning for better lives where life itself is valued above all else and our hopes for fulfilling lives for future generations, where the worth of each person is measured by their contribution to the whole of humanity, their communities and to each other, where all the "isms" (discrimination, sexism, classism etc.) are nightmares from the past and we can live free of oppression, exploitation and ill treatment because of "who" we are! A world of equals is our goal, where every voice is heard and every voice counts equally! We can, and will, settle for no less! We only want the earth!
Now the times are dangerous for us with the civil liberty crushing government power under the guise of the PATRIOT Act and the travesty of an Act enhancing the sweeping powers of the PATRIOT Act which followed, which threaten us all! Now is the time for action, to educate about who we are and what we are about, a time for carefully-planned and executed direct action in furtherance of our political goals, a time to carefully choose which fronts of struggle to invest our time and limited resources on as our movement grows to present to those opposing us a united front instead of a splintered, fragmented struggle easily crushed by our enemies! Now is a time to reach across any perceived barriers between people, grasp our brothers' and sisters' hands and move together as one to achieve our common goals in the end. Each action we plan in furtherance of anarchism must be creatively planned and carried out, learning from our mistakes, evolving and growing as the enemy learns from mistakes, strategizes and plans counter-moves to defeat us, to make us appear marginalized, weak and few in numbers while fearing us, fearing our movement capturing the imaginations and being accepted by the populous! We only want the earth, our birthright stolen from the people while they slept and, worse still, surrendered by trusting those elected to represent our interest, they who serve only capitalism!
Our movement has many fronts where we struggle against the enemy. I have been imprisoned since 1979 in the Tennessee state gulag system and work inside prison confines as a jailhouse lawyer / legal aide and helper attempting to obtain some semblance of justice for those predominantly from the working class in a corrupt, morally-bankrupt legal system. Each victory is cherished, fighting The Man in his own arena, on his preferred playing field, in his court system where he desires nothing more than to squeeze every ounce of blood and misery out of us and store us in a human warehouse until death if possible. I am serving life plus eighty-two years, am 61 years old and in ill health, but the fire of anarchism, of rebellion, burns as bright in my heart as it ever did and I will struggle for anarchism until I take my last breath! I am presently engaged in a struggle to have the most basic tool used by a prisoner to present legal work to the courts reinstated to the approved inmate property list for Tennessee prisoners. Typewriters and word processors were removed, as a vindictive act to retard and make nearly impossible prisoner-generated legal documents to the courts, by the previous commissioner of Tennessee Department of Correction and being upheld by the present commissioner.
At the present time, there is a letter campaign ongoing, attempting to persuade the commissioner to change his mind, to restore prisoner-owned typing equipment to the allowed property list, which may or may not be successful in the future. The commissioner is replying to the request letters with deception and half-truth in stating the courts will all take handwritten documents from prisoners while the federal appellate court mandates typed documents complete with font and spacing requirements, so all courts will not accept handwritten documents as put forth by the commissioner in his responsive letters. Tennessee prisoners was permitted possession of personal typewriters and word processors for approximately twenty years before these items was removed from the allowed property list, and created no space management or security problem which have also been utilized as justification for their removal from the property list. If you wish to write a letter to help, requesting typing equipment be restored to the inmate property list in this state, please address these letters to:
Quenton I. White, Commissioner
Tennessee Department of Correction
320 6th Avenue North
4th Floor, Rachel Jackson Building
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0465
I thank you for listening to what I have to say! I love you all for being who you are and making your contributions toward changing the world! I especially thank any of you who join the letter-writing campaign! I hope a lot is accomplished at the Break the Chains Conference and we can all network and join together to become a solid, unified force to be reckoned with by the system! We only want the earth! They will never get us all! We have a world to win and will! I love you all!
In anarchist struggle and solidarity -
Harold H. Thompson #93992
Northwest Correctional Complex
960 State Route 212
Tiptonville, Tennessee 38079

The Break the Chains conference will be held Aug.8-10 at University of Oregon in Eugene. It is dedicated to fighting repression, supporting prisoners, and eliminating prisons altogether. By providing anti-prison education, building on existing prisoner support efforts, learning from veteran prison activists, and initiating new campaigns against the prison industrial complex, this conference is intended to initiate a new era of heightened prisoner support and anti-prison activism.

For more information about the conference, including our full mission statement and a list of speakers / participants, see:  http://www.breakthechains.net/btcconference/index.html

Break the Chains Housing Message Board
Exchange information about housing needs and available housing for the conference:

Break the Chains Ride Share Message Board
Exchange information about transportation to and from the conference:

homepage: homepage: http://www.breakthechains.net
address: address: PO Box 11331 / Eugene, OR 97440

What was Harold convicted of...? 03.Aug.2003 14:04


I'm not familiar with this case. Does anyone know why this person is in prison?

Harold website / comments 03.Aug.2003 17:26

Dave Negation weneversleep@ziplip.com

Oz -

You can find details about Harold's history and his current activities at:


The circumstances surrounding his imprisonment are not totally clear cut, and whether one calls Harold a "political prisoner" or not really depends on your interpretation of this phrase. However, he is certainly an anarchist and a "prisoner at war", and I encourage people to support him on these terms at the very least. I've been writing with Harold for at least three and a half years - he has always been a stand-up individual, even when we've disagreed, and has incredible energy for keeping up the fight in the most adverse of surroundings.

Dave / APLAN outside support

818 SW 3rd Avenue PMB 354 / Portland, OR 97204

separate 05.Aug.2003 16:18


Check out the history link for this guy's story, ie. how he shot a man in a bar (the man probably killed his wife), how he robbed a jewerly store, and how he attempted to escape while armed.

This man is not a political prisoner. He may have latched onto some political causes while in the klink, but he has not been imprisoned for his beliefs, unless you consider vengence killings an acceptable belief.

Pick your heroes. This applies to mumia, as well.

Darrow is on target here... 06.Aug.2003 00:45


The reason I asked the question is when any of these holy martyrs are spotlighted here, there is never any real information given as to why the person is in prison...in fact most people can't tell you the actual charges, just that they were tossed into prison by the "man" for their political views. RedRed who is spotlighted on several posts is a prime example - she claims she's facing years in prison for breaking a window, why do I get the feeling that there is much more to the story?

politcal prisoners 06.Aug.2003 11:17

soul force

"why do I get the feeling that there is much more to the story?"
It's simple Oz, because you want to believe there is more to the story. It would upset your worldview too much to believe that someone would be targeted for his or her political beliefs. RedRed is only accused of breaking a window but they're considering that felony conspiracy, a charge used primarily in the so called war on drugs to intimidate people into testifying (with what is often later revealed as false testimony). Many witnesses have claimed that the window was broken after RedRed was already taken into custody. My guess is that they'll try to get her to plead guilty to a minor crime so they claim they were right. It happens all the time, they get their conviction, and their target gets a slap on the wrist for having done nothing. It is important to look into the facts of these cases, but to go in with the preconceived bias that a person must have done something to be charged means that you will just continue to be blinded to the massive number injustices committed by the police and judicial systems every day in this country.