LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Using the power of photojournalism to expose social, economic and ecological injustice

Posts from the ‘Repression’ category

Formerly with The United Freedom Front

As a member of the United Freedom Front (UFF), Kazi Toure was imprisoned for his role in 20 bombings combating Apartheid in South Africa and United States Imperialism in Central America. The UFF has been called “undoubtedly the most successful of the leftist [guerrilla groups] of the 1970s and ’80s” and struck powerful blows to South African Airways, Mobil, IBM, Union Carbide, & various courthouses and US Military targets. [Source: NYC Anarchist Black Cross]

As a member of the United Freedom Front (UFF), Kazi Toure was imprisoned for his role in 20 bombings combating Apartheid in South Africa and United States Imperialism in Central America. The UFF has been called “undoubtedly the most successful of the leftist [guerrilla groups] of the 1970s and ’80s” and struck powerful blows to South African Airways, Mobil, IBM, Union Carbide, & various courthouses and US Military targets. [Source: NYC Anarchist Black Cross*]

I shot this portrait of Kazi Toure immediately prior to his speaking event at local independent radical bookstore Burning Books in Buffalo, NY on 25 March 2015.

I believe the photograph is very relevant in today’s world. I watched Baltimore on fire last night [27 April 2015] and listened to the media pundits (especially on Fox) saying they had no idea why people are so angry. The pundits were blaming the black mayor and a myriad of other people for what was going on. The racist garbage spewed continuously from the TV screen. Of course they conveniently skipped the root causes of the unrest.

I did hear many black people interviewed explaining why people are so angry – from police brutality, racism, and living conditions, to the incarceration of young black men. The NAACP reports:

African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population…African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.

I have no idea how many people last night were protesters, rioters or agitators – but they were people. And it is evident that many people are angry and not just in Baltimore.

I do not know what take Kazi Toure has on all of these developments, but I felt today was a good day to look back at a not so distant history, as I do not want “history” written by Fox.

In Kazi Toure’s own words prior to his parole:

I am a New Afrikan political prisoner who has been held in captivity my entire life. Every since the mid 1960s when I learned about Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, slave revolts and the history of resistance, I’ve been of one mind in spirit with Afrikan peoples’ struggle for self-determination and freedom.

The u.s government was founded on the genocide of native people, the enslavement and colonization of Afrikan people, and the robbing of Mexican peoples’ land. Our only means of survival is building our New Afrikan nation, fortified by stiff resistance. We must organize our communities and build alternatives to meet that community’s particular needs, and also be able to defend ourselves and our communities. No people have ever gotten their freedom without a fight.

In 1982, I was convicted on federal charges of possession of firearms and sentenced to six years. Later I was convicted on the same charges under state law and sentenced to a consecutive four to five years.  I am currently serving a sentence of seven years for the conviction of Seditious Conspiracy—conspiring to overthrow, put down, destroy by force and violence the u.s. government. I am one of the few, if any, New Afrikans to be charged of this act. I will be eligible for parole in October, 1991. Stand Firm… Amandla.

This was the third of a series of candid portraits I have taken and will continue to take of radical movement figures in collaboration with Burning Books.  The point of this endeavor is to document some of the people who have participated in the making of history in the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice – a history of victories, losses, mistakes and successes, that we can and should learn from.

Personal Note: Richard Charles Williams, a member of the United Freedom Front, died while in prison in December 2005. In the early 2000’s I had the pleasure of meeting his son who was a freshman at the University of Vermont. After his graduation there, he moved to the Vermont countryside. I consider him to be a friend.

* As stated, NYC Anarchist Black Cross was the source for the photo caption.

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I shot this portrait of Ray Luc Levasseur, immediately prior to his speaking event at local independent radical bookstore Burning Books in Buffalo, NY on 10 September 2014. Ray Luc Levasseur is a Vietnam Veteran who then became a member of the revolutionary United Freedom Front during some of the most turbulent years in US history.

***Ray Luc DSC_0044Excerpted from Wikipedia: From 1975 to 1984 the UFF [United Freedom Front] carried out several robberies as well as bombings targeted at corporations and institutions supporting the South African apartheid regime and US foreign policy in Central America.

Levasseur was arrested on November 3, 1984.

Levasseur and six of his comrades [1] were eventually convicted of conspiracy in 1986 and sentenced to long terms. In 1987 Levasseur and all seven members of the UFF were charged with seditious conspiracy and violations of the RICO act.

After the conspiracy charge in 1986, Levasseur was sentenced to 45 years in prison, and was sent immediately to Control Unit of the supermax prison, USP Marion. While there, he refused to work for the prison labor corporation UNICOR, producing weapons for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Levasseur was released from prison on parole in November 2004 having served nearly half of his 45 year sentence.

[1] Personal Note: Richard Charles Williams, a member of the United Freedom Front, died while in prison in December 2005. In the early 2000’s I had the pleasure of meeting his son who was a freshman at the University of Vermont. After his graduation there, he moved to the Vermont countryside. I consider him to be a friend.

This was the second of a series of candid portraits I will continue to take of radical movement figures in collaboration with Burning Books.  The point of this endeavor is to document some of the people who have participated in the making of history in the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice – a history of victories, losses, mistakes and successes, that we can and should learn from.

I took the first of these series of portraits of Bill Ayers, former Weathermen and Weather Underground founder, prior to his event at Burning Books, on 21 May 2014.

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“All signs show that Paraguay, both its territory and its population, are under attack by conquerors, but conquerors of a new sort. These new ‘conquistadors’ are racing to seize all available arable land and, in the process, are destroying peoples’ cultures and the country’s biodiversity — just as they are in many other parts of the planet, even in those areas that fall within the jurisdiction of ‘democratic’ and ‘developed’ countries. Every single foot of land is in their crosshairs. Powerful elites do not recognize rural populations as having any right to land at all.” – Dr. Miguel Lovera

Photo Essay by Orin Langelle. Analysis at the end of the essay by Dr. Miguel Lovera from the case study: The Environmental and Social Impacts of Unsustainable Livestock Farming and Soybean Production in Paraguay. Dr. Lovera is the ex-president of SENAVE, the National Plant and Protection Agency during the government of Fernando Lugo.

Woman holding photo of baby whose condition is blamed on Monsanto during a rally in Asunción, Paraguay, 3 December 2014.  PhotoLangelle.org

Woman holding photo of a baby whose condition is blamed on Monsanto and agrotoxics during a rally in Asunción, Paraguay, 3 December 2014. PhotoLangelle.org

I recently returned from Paraguay and observed corporate dreams coming true at the expense of the people and biodiversity…

Stay tuned.

– Orin Langelle, 16 December 2014

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Struggles for Justice: late 1980’s to late 90’s

This Photo Essay was completed in February 2014 in LaBelle, FL – during LaBelle’s Annual Swamp cabbage Festival – for a presentation at a Organizers’ Conference in a nearby forest camp (and for the web). The essay has been edited to produce the Photo Exhibit Struggles For Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s.

Most of the photographs in the old essay, like the one below, are now in the new exhibit.

Exhibit Online Now 

-*34 Tas takeover02990009“Ned Kelly Bushrangers” drop banner on Forestry Commission Tasmania in Tasmania, Australia.  (1992)

The First International Temperate Forest Conference took place in Tasmania around the time the photo was taken.  The conference led to the formation of the Native Forest Network.

 

All photographs are copyrighted by Langelle Photography (2014), all rights reserved. No photo can be used without the consent of Langelle Photography.  See Publishing and Acquisition Information.

Why Copyright?  One of the reasons I copyright my photographs is to track where these photos are being used in order to monitor the impact of my work and evaluate the effectiveness of Langelle Photography, a nonprofit organization.

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I grew up not far from Ferguson, MO.  In fact it was half an hour away.  This morning, 18 August 2014, I read that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered the MO National Guard to Ferguson to attempt to quell peoples’ outrage in that city due to the shooting of an unarmed black youth, Michael Brown, by a white policeman 9 August.  He was shot six times, including twice in the head.

While going through some of my photos today, preparing for an upcoming exhibit, I came upon the photo below that I took in 1995 in Burlington, VT during protests at the National Governors’ Association Conference there.  The protests helped stop the execution of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

And still news commentators wonder why people take to the streets.

The caption below the photo tells more.

plmartin-robTwo protesters are arrested attempting to blockade President Bill Clinton’s motorcade during the National Governors’ Association Conference in Burlington, VT in 1995.  They were protesting to draw attention to the impending execution of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who signed the Death Warrant for Mumia Abu-Jamal, attended the National Governors’ Association Conference in Burlington, VT from July 29 to August 1.  Governor Ridge was targeted during four days of militant protests in support of Abu-Jamal during the conference.  There were 24 arrests.

In what many believe was a frame-up for his political beliefs, activist Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a policeman in 1981.  The protesters said his “trial” was farcical, with an inadequate defense, suppression of evidence and a judge who put more people on death row–the majority them people of color–than any other judge in the U.S.  The execution order was overturned, but left Abu-Jamal on death row.  Mumia Abu-Jamal would have been the first political prisoner to be legally executed in this country since Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were electrocuted in 1953.  Following the protests in Burlington and other cities, the death warrant was rescinded.

 

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