We Will Be Heard

Issue section: 

Bud and Ruth Shultz, Merrell, £14.95

This book is a series of testimonies, mostly from ordinary people, about their experiences of state persecution. They have been imprisoned, had their friends murdered, and their families have been beaten, deported and threatened. We Will Be Heard covers almost 100 years of resistance in the US.

It would seem the US has always been under attack from "enemies of the state". Take, for instance, Phil Mellmen who was tried under the California Criminal Syndicalism Act for being a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies). While the prosecution produced no evidence (sound familiar?) he spent almost four years in San Quentin prison. Many members of the Wobblies were either killed or imprisoned.

The McCarthy years saw persecution on a new level. People who attended peace meetings were followed, arrested, persecuted and even had their children threatened.

The book catalogues years of attacks on the civil rights movement, left wing refugees, gay activists, Japanese Americans and recently, under the Patriot Act, even librarians. Reading their stories you soon realise what a violent and repressive place the US has been for those deemed "un-American".

This book is also a warning - oaths of allegiances, citizenship tests, identity cards and fear are the paving stones on the road to more Guantanamos.

Read and resist.