Political auto biography of Mark Barnsley

I have been consciously active as an Anarchist since my teens, being involved in many areas of revolutionary struggle, in Britain and elsewhere. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was involved in the armed struggle, and as part of an Anarchist contingent which participated fully in the anti-imperialist and antifascist struggle in Lebanon during this period. In 1980, while carrying out a mission in support of the Palestinian resistance, I was arrested in Dover, England, and charged with possession of a small amount of explosives (c4), and subsequently imprisoned.

On my release from prison, I immediately threw myself back into the struggle, and in 1983, began editing "The Sheffield Anarchist", which I edited/co- edited for 5 years, as well as editing and contributing to other Anarchist publications.

During this period, I continued to be active in a great many areas of struggle, from industrial conflict to anti-nuclear protest, and from militant anti- fascism to Irish solidarity. I also continued to be involved in prisoners support work (as I had been since the 70s), founding Sheffield Prisoner`s Support Group in 1984.

As a result of my activism and local high-profile, I was continually harassed and targeted by the cops, suffering numerous street and house searches, brutality and frequent arrests. There were also several attempts to fit me up, and on one occasion, I was even jailed for putting up a poster condemning busfare increases!

Mark Barnsely


Following a failed attempt to fit me up on criminal damage charges, I instigated legal proceedings for wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution. This involved cops from the same police station that were involved in fitting me up in relation to "the Pomona Incident" (the case I'm currently in prison for). Not only that, but the cop in charge of the station was the very same cop who arrested me on the explosive charge back in 1980, at the opposite end of the country. At that time, he was a Detective Inspector in the Special Branch (Britain's political police).

When, on June 8th, 1994, I was forced to defend myself against 15 drunken, middle-class thugs who were armed with bottles, drinking glasses and a knife, after they attacked me in board daylight while I was out with my baby daughter and a family friend, the cops really pulled out all the stops to put me behind bars for a long time. The circumstances of my conviction will not stand up to the slightest honest scrutiny-the state didn't make a "mistake" here, they knew exactly what they were doing.

My imprisonment during which I have suffered a great deal of harassment and brutality, isn't really about what happened on June 8th, 1994, but about 25 years of militant political activism opposition that the state simply will not tolerate.

Always in struggle,

Mark Barnsley HMP Wakefield 5 Love Lane Wakefield WF2 9AG England

Source: This article is a part of a letter Mark wrote to the anarchist journal ONWARD (Volume 1, Issue 3, Winter 2000-2001). Onward, PO Box 2671, Gainesville, FL 32602-2671, USA, e-mail: theonwardcollective@hotmail.com


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