David Gilbert Granted Clemency
My 77 year old friend David Gilbert was granted clemency by Governor Cuomo on August 23, 2021. David had served 40 years in almost every maximum-security prison in the state of New York. He had been sentenced to 75 years to life for his role as a getaway driver in the infamous 1980 Brinks armored truck robbery in in Rockland County. He was convicted of felony murder. Though he didn’t shoot anybody. Two Policeman and a security guard were killed. The law of felony murder states that if you are part of the crime even though you didn’t kill anybody you are also guilty of murder.
Cuomo granted clemency when he had one foot out the door with a moving van at the governor’s mansion and only five hours left as governor. David had support from many people including many influential people like two Nobel prize winners; one of them was Bishop Desmond Tutu, a hero of the South African anti-apartheid movement.
David’s great achievement was keeping his revolutionary politics and his health both mental and physical while serving those four decades of confinement, torment, and poor food. He wrote two books including one titled No Surrender. When my wife Debby and I would visit him it was always an up for us. He kept our spirits up. He would bound in to the visiting room and give us a hug. We will talk politics straight through for five hours. He was up to the minute on political events in America and around the world. He read widely. He subscribed to the New York Times which came three days late. A friend of his sent him a one hundred page collection of articles from the Internet every month. David never got a disciplinarian infraction over the course of all those years. He mentored many young people with whom he would correspond. Many would come visit him. Sometimes all the way to Wende Prison in Buffalo or to Dannemora in the Finger Lakes.
Because of the grant of clemency David is now eligible for parole and will soon come up before the parole board. They don’t necessarily have to let him out. We will keep up support and hope that sooner rather than later David Gilbert will be home and present amongst us. He is the real thing: A revolutionary leader and thinker. David, I’m behalf of all your friends and supporters we congratulate you.
Remembering The Life Of Glen Ford
Glen Ford died last July 28 of lung cancer. I knew Glen the last seven years of his life. I first met him in 2014 after a speech that he gave at Harlem’s Riverside Church church on the occasion of the 7th anniversary of the Black Agenda Report of which he was the executive editor. The two other editors were Margaret Kimberley, who has taken over as the editor, and the late Bruce Dixon of Chicago who died two years ago. They were a formidable threesome. That night he spoke about what he called the Black misleadership class, a description he coined, and how it was an enemy of the movement. He said the Democratic party, which they populate, was not the lesser of two evils but the most effective of two evils.
In particular, he zeroed in on New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. I kept in touch with Glen. He was a guest on Law And Disorder several times.
I helped assemble a selection of his writings titled The Black Agenda which will very soon be published by OR books. Two months ago the publisher of OR books, Colin Robinson and I drove out to New Jersey to visit Glen.
He had just got out of the hospital where they took fluid out of his cancerous lung. He was somewhat frail but pretty chipper. We ate bagels and cream cheese at the dining room table and talked politics for two hours. As we left Colin remarked that it was a shame we hadnt recorded our conversation. Glen was brilliant. Glen was the real thing. A Black nationalist and a socialist, as he described himself. He was a former Black Panther and usually wore a black beret when he spoke. He ended his speeches with his right arm held high in the air saying power to the people.
The Black Misleadership Class Versus the Movement and its Legacy
We go now to hear Glen Ford speaking at the Black Agenda Report 7th anniversary gathering at Harlems Riverside Church. The theme of the event was The Black Misleadership Class Versus the Movement and its Legacy. Ford gives strong criticism of newly elected New Jersey Senator Cory Booker as the essence of Black misleadership, showing the many ties of the current Newark mayor to corporate America.
Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected]
American Spring: Unfolding Crisis
The Chinese word for crisis consists of two characters. One means danger, the other means opportunity. We currently are in an historically unprecedented situation fraught with both danger and possibilities. Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin once remarked that sometimes nothing happens in decades and other times decades happen in a few weeks. This is our situation now. We see an American spring unfolding.
The public lynching of George Floyd has triggered massive outpourings in several thousands of American cities, both large and small. Black Lives Matter is supported by a majority of Americans including a majority of whites. This kind of broad solidarity was absent during the time of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The demonstrations are in large part led by people of color, mostly young people. Elected officials and traditional civil rights leaders are not leading the current uprising. As the L.A. Progressive has written, The gross underlying inequality, racially and more broadly economically, affects every aspect of life in the US. and is the root cause of the volcanic anger irruption against the veneer of obsolete institutions.
Guest ” Glen Ford, editor of the Black Agenda Report. Ford founded the Black Agenda Report and has edited it since 2006. He was a founding member of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and he has delivered presentations at many colleges and universities.