This new interview with author/activist Dan Berger was conducted in the Winter of 2009. The interview is mostly based on Berger’s essay “The Real Dragons: A Brief History of Political Militancy and Incarceration: 1960s to 2000s,” which is featured in the book Let Freedom Ring: A Collection of Documents from the Movements to Free U.S. Political Prisoners (PM Press, 2008).
In part one, Berger discusses his new research into US prison movements of the 1970s, which Berger is researching and writing about for his PhD dissertation at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dan Berger is a writer and activist living in Philadelphia. He is the author of Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity (AK Press, 2006) and co-editor of Letters From Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out (Nation Books, 2005). Presently, along with his dissertation about 1970s prison movements, he is editing a book about 1970s-era radicalism, titled Hidden Histories of 1970s Radicalism (forthcoming from Rutgers University Press in Fall, 2010). His writings have also been published in the International Journal of Communication, The Nation, Punishment & Society, WireTap, Z Magazine, and elsewhere.
The grandson of Holocaust survivors, Berger has long been involved in struggles for social justice. From 2000 to 2003, he served as founding co-editor of ONWARD, a now-defunct internationally distributed quarterly anarchist newspaper based in Gainesville, Florida, that emerged out of the global justice movement. Berger has also been involved in an array of organizing efforts against war, racism, and the prison industrial complex. A longtime activist in support of U.S. political prisoners, Berger has published and presented scholarly essays on news images and prison abuse, alternative media and globalization, and race and social movements.
This new video-interview is made by Angola 3 News, which is an official project of The International Coalition to Free the Angola 3. Over 37 years ago in Louisiana, 3 young black men were silenced for trying to expose continued segregation, systematic corruption, and horrific abuse in the biggest prison in the US, an 18,000-acre former slave plantation called Angola. In 1972 and 1973 prison officials charged Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King (who then became known as the Angola 3) with murders they did not commit and threw them into 6×9 ft. cells in solitary confinement, for over 36 years. Robert was freed in 2001 after 29 years of continuous solitary confinement, but Herman and Albert remain behind bars.
Through our work supporting the Angola 3, we seeks to spotlight the broader issues that are central to their story, like racism, repression, prisons, human rights, solitary confinement as torture, political prisoners, the legacy of the Black Panther Party, and more.