David Gilbert

March 29, 2018

Bernardine and I spent yesterday with our dear friend and brother—and the co-padre of our youngest son, Chesa—David Gilbert. David was a founder and early leader of the SDS chapter at Columbia University, and we talked, naturally, about the 50th anniversary of the historic rebellion there. We shared a zillion stories and memories, celebrated the sweetness and brilliance of our kids, and looked forward to more.

That’s always bittersweet, and often quite difficult, because David is in his 37th year behind bars, serving a 75 years (minimum time inside) to natural life in New York state prison. Thirty seven years in a cage; 37 years with inadequate and spotty health care; 37 years without proper food or exercise or intimate human connections.

David is now 73 years old (2 months older than I am!) and incarcerated—I repeat—for 37 years.

Think about that: 73/37…37/73.

David is healthy and well, as astute an observer of the current scene (white supremacy, Black Lives Matter, Trump and impending fascism, the threat of expanding war, Undocumented and Unafraid, #MeToo, the youth uprising) as anyone we know, and, as always, upbeat, encouraging, and inspirational.

You cannot send books or food or packages, but if you have a moment you might write to David, or even plan a visit—he is 15-20 minutes from the Buffalo airport:

David Gilbert


Wende Correctional Facility

3040 Wende Rd

P.O. Box 618

Alden, NY 14004-1187.

You have to use the full address, and the envelope must have a full return address.

SUNDAY: Did IT! Jerry Rubin

March 26, 2018


Facts and Myths

March 22, 2018



March 21, 2018
Stand by the Parole Board’s lawful & just decision to release Herman Bell.  At 70 years old and after 45 years inside, it is time for Herman Bell to come home.
Supporters of Herman Bell and Parole Justice New York

Parole Justice New York
Stand by the Parole Board’s lawful & just decision to release Herman Bell. At 70 years old and after 45 years inside, it is time for Herman Bell to come home.



Last week the New York State Board of Parole granted Herman Bell release. Since the Board’s decision, there has been significant backlash from the Police Benevolent Association, other unions, Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo. They are demanding that Herman be held indefinitely, the Parole Commissioners who voted for his release be fired, and that people convicted of killing police be left to die in prison.

We want the Governor, policymakers, and public to know that we strongly support the Parole Board’s lawful, just and merciful decision. We also want to show support for the recent changes to the Board, including the appointment of new Commissioners and the direction of the new parole regulations, which base release decisions more on who a person is today and their accomplishments while in prison than on the nature of their crime.

Herman has a community of friends, family and loved ones eagerly awaiting his return. At 70 years old and after 45 years inside, it is time for Herman to come home.

Here are four things you can do RIGHT NOW to support Herman Bell:

1- CALL New York State Governor Cuomo’s Office NOW

2-EMAIL New York State Governor Cuomo’s Office

3- TWEET at Governor Cuomo: use the following sample tweet:

“@NYGovCuomo: stand by the Parole Board’s lawful & just decision to release Herman Bell. At 70 years old and after more than 40 years of incarceration, his release is overdue. #BringHermanHome.”

4- Participate in a CBS poll and vote YES on the Parole Board’s decision
The poll ends on March 21st. Please do this ASAP!

Script for phone calls and emails:
“Governor Cuomo, my name is __________and I am a resident of [New York State/other state/other country]. I support the Parole Board’s decision to release Herman Bell and urge you and the Board to stand by the decision. I also support the recent appointment of new Parole Board Commissioners, and the direction of the new parole regulations, which base release decisions more on who a person is today than on the nature of their crime committed years ago. Returning Herman to his friends and family will help the heal the many harms caused by crime and decades of incarceration. The Board’s decision was just, merciful and lawful, and it will benefit our communities and New York State as a whole.”

Thank you for your support and contributions.

With gratitude,
Supporters of Herman Bell and Parole Justice New York



March 21, 2018


Podcast w Crystal

March 20, 2018

I spoke with Crystal Laura at Seminary Co-op Bookstores about our book, “You Can’t Fire the Bad Ones!”, and it’s featured on their podcast: https://goo.gl/BecD3M You can also find the episode by searching “Open Stacks” anywhere you listen to podcasts.


Loud and Clear

March 20, 2018


My Lai, Viet Nam—50 years ago today

March 16, 2018

Remember My Lai—50 years ago today.
And remember, too, that it was not accidental or unusual: war crimes were committed every day by US military as a matter of policy (free fire zones; pacification, body counts, tiger cages) not choice. Invasion and occupation are always murderous. Resist! Build a powerful antiwar movement NOW!

Speaking of Betsy DeVos

March 15, 2018


Singing in Dark Times…March 13

March 10, 2018


March 13, 2018/ 6PM/ 57th Street Bookstore


In the dark times, will there also be singing?

Yes, there will be singing.

About the dark times.

~~Bertolt Brecht

In December, 2017 we  held the inaugural gathering of a discussion group designed to open a public space for serious and challenging conversation in these troubling days: Singing in Dark Times.

Eve Ewing, Rachel DeWoskin, Kevin Coval, and Bill Ayers started us off, and over 40 people joined in to try to make sense and make meaning of our lives and our work—to shine a bright beacon of hope and possibility into the gloom.

It was an electrifying evening for those of us in attendance, but it was only a start.

On January 13, 2018 Singing in Dark Times convened again—this time Bill Ayers welcomed Lisa Lee and David Stovall in an opening dialogue, quickly broadening into a conversation embracing everyone who chose to join in.

It too proved to be a provocative and powerful evening pushing toward a question that drives so many of us: What is to be done?

The next Singing in Dark Times forum will gather on March 13, 2018, and will include Bill Ayers in conversation with the brilliant artist/activist/movement-makers Monica Trinidad and Ethan Viets-VanLear.

Please join this emerging public space, this intentional community-in-the-making.

As the public is being steadily eroded and eclipsed, and as neoliberalism persists and fascism lurks close by, the goal of those of us who believe in freedom is to take full responsibility to reimagine, revitalize, and create anew a public square, a public presence, and a wide range of participatory public spaces.

An impressive array of wildly diverse artists and grass-roots activists are  on the move and on the rise—resistance is breaking out all over, and a revitalized public square is in-the-making. In Chicago, a cinema guild is running a series of films on authoritarianism followed by wide ranging teach-ins on the political environment we find ourselves in; the Co-op hosted a series of conversation led by U Chicago professors investigating contemporary issues under the banner “Free University of Chicago;” and Women and Children First’s “The Conversation” brings writers, artists, and politicians together to talk about an issue of political, social, or cultural importance. Elsewhere, a chain of restaurants in Detroit calling themselves “Sanctuary Cafes” is offering weekly facilitated  conversations (as well as bail to neighbors caught up in the system); a collection of renowned playwrights has joined forces to dramatize the Bill of Rights; block clubs around the country are hosting monthly pot-luck dinners to allow folks to face one another authentically and figure out what is to be done. 

The legendary Seminary Co-op/57th St. Bookstores in Hyde Park, Chicago, has always been a destination bookstore and a vital public space. Please join us as we reimagine the public square—the essential conversation continues.