By Contributor on May 29, 2013

By Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero

This week marks the 32nd anniversary of the arrest of Lopez Rivera, who is currently serving a de facto life sentence for seditious conspiracy.

Lopez Rivera belonged to the Armed Forces of National Liberation of Puerto Rico, or FALN (the group’s Spanish acronym). The FALN set off several bombs in the United States in the 1970s.

But Lopez Rivera was never convicted of involvement in those acts. Instead, he was convicted of a thought crime: wanting to overthrow the U.S. government.

The conditions of his incarceration have been inhumane by any definition of the word. He spent 12 years in solitary confinement, during which he was not allowed to meet with his family. When his mother died, the authorities did not allow him to attend her funeral.

Lopez Rivera is now 70 years old and has spent almost half his life in prison. He is not scheduled to have another parole hearing until 14 years from now. Most of the men and women captured along with Lopez Rivera on May 29, 1981, were released by the Clinton administration in 1999. President Clinton said their sentences were “out of proportion” and noted that they “were not convicted of crimes involving the killing or maiming of any individuals.” But Lopez Rivera refused the conditions of his release because not all of the convicted FALN members were offered a clemency deal, and he did not want to be a free man while a single one of his companions remained in prison. But in 2010 the last remaining fellow FALN prisoner was released, so Lopez Rivera is now the only one in prison. Puerto Rican civil society organizations, along with leaders of all political parties on the island, are calling on President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to release Oscar Lopez Rivera. His continued confinement serves no purpose. It was out of proportion to keep incarcerating him 14 years ago. Today, it is simply a disgrace. Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero is a Puerto Rican author, journalist and environmental educator. He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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ALEC holds its 41st annual meeting in Dallas, Texas starting on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) poses as an independent science-based organization devoted to...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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