PRISON NOTES by Barbara Deming


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Barbara Deming spent nearly two months in a jail in Albany, Georgia, where the Quebec-Washington-Guantanamo March for Peace on which she was embarked with thirty-four other demonstrators was halted by the local authorities. The group bore a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union citing the Supreme Court decision about the right to carry out the kind of peaceful demonstration they had made, but they were told ""You are not in Supreme Court country now."" Their use of non-violent means of protest did not terminate with their internment. Their principal weapon was a refusal to eat-- so drastic that some required force-feeding in the hospital. Barbara Deming writes of the philosophy behind this noncooperation or non-violence as a dramatic technique, a method of persuasion. The application and living out of this philosophy is put in the most human terms as it is carried out on the very bodies of the self-starved participants. The decisions of each prisoner on how to proceed in the face of his conviction and their collective stamina force the reader as well to consider the stakes. The demonstrators won a victory and were freed to march on through the town where they had been arrested. A double drama of commitment which offers insight into the mentality of the committed.

Publisher: Grossman