Thomas Manning is an anti-imperialist revolutionary who was active in the United Freedom Front, a clandestine anti-imperialist organization that carried out targeted bombings of corporate buildings, courthouses and military facilities and also carried out bank robberies to fund revolutionary projects. He was unjustly sentenced to 80 years in prison for killing a New Jersey state trooper in self-defense. He died in USP Hazelton on July 30, 2019. The ostensible cause of death, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, was a heart attack. In a letter just weeks before, Tom wrote that he was in dire circumstances, his medical needs treated with deliberate indifference, delays in receiving necessary medication, his body weak from lack of oxygen. Supporters scrambled to get a lawyer in to see him, but death arrived first.Personal Background
As a youth, Tom shined shoes and raised pigeons, before finding work as a stockboy. He joined the US Military in 1963, and the following year was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba before being transferred off to spend the following year in the Vietnam War.
Some time shortly after 1965, he was sentenced by a Massachusetts state court to five years in prison for armed robbery and assault, serving the last ten months in Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Cedar Junction. It was during these years that he became heavily politicized, through his interactions with other prisoners.
Tom Joins the United Freedom Front
After his release in 1971, he married Carole and together they had three children, Jeremy, Tamara, and Jonathan. The two of them became active in political organizing, particuarly with a Portland, Maine group known as SCAR. Much of this work centered around working with prisoners, ex-prisoners and their loved ones. This work rapidly expanded to many areas of social concern including employment and housing for people coming out of prison, housing, welfare, advocacy, transportation for visits of prisoners family, childcare, a bail fund and a bookstore. Through this work and the study required to do it effectively, class contradictions became very clear to Tom. Eventually these realities lead to become active in the armed clandestine movement. They eventually joined the United Freedom Front. Between 1975 and 1984 the UFF carried out at least 20 bombings and nine bank robberies in the northeastern United States, targeting corporate buildings, courthouses, and military facilities.
Tom and Carole are Arrested
On December 21, 1981 New Jersey police officer Philip Lamonaco was killed during a traffic stop. The UFF were prime suspects in the incident, setting off the largest manhunt in NJ police history.
After a decade of evading capture, all eight UFF members were arrested with Tom and Carole the last ones found in May of 1985 in Norfolk, VA.
Tom pled self-defense at his trial, while defense counsel showed that Lamonaco had emptied his .357 Magnum revolver at Manning and his associates. He was sentenced on February 19, 1987 to 58 years in federal prison. He should be paroled from the federal system sometime around November 2015.
Life in Prison
Tom, like many political prisoners, has been designated a “high max” prisoner, which lead him to be on continual lockdown for the first 12 years in prison. Tom has also been subject to physical abuse and denied medical attention while in prison.
In 2006, his artwork was taken down from a show entitled “Can’t Jail the Spirit” at the University of Southern Maine from pressure by the Right.
- Support Site (currently down as of 3/27/17, but here is an archived version)