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Terry Fields MP

My message from prison

(August 1991)

From Militant, No. 1054, 30 August 1991, p. 16.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

TERRY FIELDS MP is serving a 60-day sentence in Walton jail for poll tax non-payment. From his cell, Terry has sent a message to other poll tax prisoners. Jailed poll tax activist Eric Segal sent a copy to Militant.

My dear comrades, brothers and sisters,

I am writing to you collectively because collectively we are standing together in defence of our class against the most vicious attack upon the poor and the old in society by this Tory government.

My heart goes out to the pensioners and members of my class whose only crime is to be poor and who I know are sharing the same deprivation as myself. I hope that in the areas you are incarcerated, the support and demonstrations continue and that the people outside let you know that you are not forgotten.

Like myself, I’m sure you are sustained by the letters and messages of support from the millions of people we represent. I hope these continue.

These past 12 years have been a nightmare for the very people who are now at the sharp end of this Tory class-based legislation.

For the more far-sighted, this nightmare is unending, even if the next election brings in a Labour government which, for whatever misguided reasons, fails to learn the lessons of history and refuses to tackle the root-cause of the misery for millions of our fellow citizens – the rotten exploitative capitalist system which governs and controls every aspect of our lives.

A system which nationally and internationally can see people starve to death whilst health and affluence drips from a small minority. A system where families in Britain have to decide to pay the poll tax or feed their children. A system where pensioners will die of cold and neglect this winter because Tory Britain has no further use for them. And a system where the future for working-class youth is non-existent.

You will know from letters received that your sacrifice and resistance has encouraged millions throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles and internationally.

At last people are reflecting. The spirit and traditions of our class are far from dead, the flame still flickers.

I am proud to share this experience with you all but like you, I suffer the temporary separation from family and loved ones. Your sacrifice, more than mine, will be remembered long after the siren voices of faint-hearts have faded in the memories of ordinary decent people.

Stay strong. Be confident. They can imprison the body but the minds and hearts of we comrades-in-arms remain forever free.

My heartfelt and comradely greetings to you all and your families. I have nothing but respect and affection for you.

DV 3695 Fields T.

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