Ed Mead. Rest in Power
It is with great sadness that we have learned that former political prisoner and longtime communist and anti-prison organizer Ed Mead has died.
Ed passed on November 6th, his birthday. As many know, he had been struggling with cancer for many years, continuing to live way beyond expectations and projections, making it seem like maybe he would be with us forever. Sadly, not to be the case. He died on his 82nd birthday, at home and surrounded by loved ones. We encourage you to read the statement written by some of his closest comrades here: Ed Mead Joins the Ancestors.
We worked with Ed on-and-off for years; in support of various prisoners and their struggles, most memorably the historic California Prisoner Hunger Strikes of 2013. We were also honoured to be able to publish Ed's autobiography, Lumpen: The Autobiography of Ed Mead, in 2015. He was a no-bullshit kind of guy; at times ornery; always opinionated; happy to tell us when he thought we were wrong, in no unclear terms. And not one to be miffed or take it personally when we returned the favour, as we occasionally did.
From the age of thirteen years old, when he was sent to the Utah State Industrial School, a prison for boys, for having burned down his school, to his participation in the armed struggle of the sixties in the George Jackson Brigade, a Seattle-based urban guerrilla group, and then to his decades of activism on the inside as a political prisoner and "political faggot", organizing with queer and gender nonconforming prisoners against guards and predators on the inside, Ed's life is replete with examples and lessons we can learn from, even if he is no longer among us.
We are making the eBook version of Lumpen available for free download, in the hopes that comrades will learn something of Ed's life. You can download it here. We also encourage you to check out this video interview with Ed and his comrades Mark Cook and Janine Bertram from the George Jackson Brigade:
And also to listen to this interview with Ed from the excellent Millennials Are Killing Capitalism podcast:
Ed, we miss you already. Rest in Power, comrade.