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PortlandPressHerald/MaineSundayTelegram ^ | Saturday, September 16, 2006 | By DAVID HENCH, Staff Writer

Posted on 09/16/2006 8:22:05 PM PDT by fight_truth_decay

Scores of students, activists and others marched through Portland on Friday carrying the reproduced artwork of the imprisoned radical Thomas Manning and scolding the University of Southern Maine for canceling an exhibit of his work.

Staff photo by Gregory Rec David Bidler, Rebekah Yonan and Ryan Edwards hold works of art by Thomas W. Manning at the University of Southern Maine in Portland on Friday. About 100 people walked from USM to Congress Square with Manning's art to protest its removal from a USM gallery show last week. Manning is in prison for killing a New Jersey state trooper.

Some 65 people bearing glossy reproductions or carrying their own signs marched from the university's student center to Congress Square, with the crowd swelling to more than 100 in Congress Square. A series of speakers there criticized the university, the government and multinational corporations, and called for the release of political prisoners.

The "walking art show" was organized after USM canceled the exhibit of Manning's work under strong protest by police groups. The police associations argued that promotional material referring to Manning as a "political prisoner" ignored the fact that Manning is in prison for killing a New Jersey state trooper. Officers who had planned to protest the exhibit held a reception in South Portland instead to recognize Trooper Philip Lamonaco's widow and raise money for the family of another officer who was killed recently. "I think, overall, I couldn't be more proud of law enforcement and the community for recognizing what we did was right," said George Loder, a Maine trooper and vice president of the Maine State Troopers Association. A Web site dedicated to Manning included a recording attributed to him that said he wasn't surprised by USM's decision.

"It was expected, knowing the nature of those in power here in the so-called United States of America," the recording said. "Censorship - the denial of free speech - are the norm here in the land of smoke and mirrors."

Some people who marched in Portland said the university's decision to cancel the show, more than the artwork itself or Manning's political statements, drew them to the march.

"If a university that's supposed to be about dialogue takes down artwork that was starting to promote dialogue, does that mean they're going to get into the history textbooks next?" said Carrie Losneck, a USM student who joined the march. "If we can't talk about it at a university, where will it be discussed?" University President Richard Pattenaude told the USM Student Senate just before the rally that shutting down the show was the hardest decision he has made in his 15-year tenure.

Nancy Gish and Wendy Chapkis, professors of English and sociology, respectively, joined the rally with a sign reading "USM Faculty for Free Expression." "You have to separate the art from the artist," said Gish, who cited poets in her curriculum who were jailed in their time. "What's at stake is not Manning's right to be seen, it's my right to see it."

For others, the rally was an opportunity to draw attention to activists who have been jailed, many for crimes committed in the name of their cause. Manning was one of a group of revolutionaries who committed a series of bombings and robberies targeting courthouses, military installations, banks and companies that did business with South Africa's apartheid government. Also in the group was Raymond Levasseur of Portland, who was released from federal prison in 2004 and moved back to Maine. He is a member of Portland Victory Garden Project, the group that organized the exhibit.

Friday's peaceful gathering attracted a handful of counter-protesters.

"I'm here for the cops and bankers who suffered" because of Manning's actions, said Shaun Loura, who stood at a nearby corner with a sign reading "Support liberty not crime."

"When it has to do with killing innocent people trying to do their job, that's a crime," he said. The exhibit was designed to raise questions about how people define political prisoners, Pattenaude told students at the Senate meeting. The problem, he said, was that it unintentionally answered those questions. Though police groups led criticism of the display, officers were unobtrusive during the march and rally. A parking attendant vehicle escorted the marchers to Deering Oaks park as a traffic safety measure, and community policing officers on bicycles stopped traffic on Park Avenue to allow the protesters to pass.

-Staff writers Beth Quimby and Josie Huang contributed to this report. Staff Writer David Hench can be reached at 791-6327 or at:

Reader comments:

EH of Sanford, ME Sep 16, 2006 12:28 PM If Manning and Levasseur are not happy here perhaps they should go to Iraq or Iran.....maybe they will find some sympathy over there.....

John of Camden, ME Sep 16, 2006 11:05 AM We could hold an art exhibit for Timothy McVeigh's work also. He was a political activist and freedom fighter.

Charles Manson also objected to Federal rule. USM can hold an art exhibit of Manson's work also.

I suppose Ted Bundy was a political prisoner of sorts. We could dig up some of his works and display it at USM.

carlos of kennebunk, me Sep 16, 2006 10:50 AM Here is the real test-if this was an exhibit of art by Eric Rudolph (who bombed abortion clinics and killed someone in the Centennial Park bomb blast) would these same people be supporting this exhibit of free speech? No, they wouldn't. They would be outraged that the University would be so insensitive to women and people of color. It's all about political correctness. America has no free speech? Give me a break.

The police should be commended for answering back in the way they did. That's real free speech.

David of Gorham, Me Sep 16, 2006 10:48 AM Killing of another human being,is the worst thing you can do in life. I believe a person has lost there rights, when doing such an act like killing another human being. I believe he not only killed a human being, but also what humanity is all about,love and respect of another person. He showed none of this when he killed another. He deserves what he got nothing more, nor less.

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TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; US: Maine; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: americahaters; anarchists; art; campuscommies; campusradicals; censorship; copkillers; donutwatch; freespeech; lawenforcement; moonbats; nancygish; philiplamonaco; politicalprisoners; pvgp; radicalleftists; raylevasseur; richardpattenaude; richardwilliams; southafrica; thomasmanning; usm; wendychapkis
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Background: 1971, Levasseur came to Portland, where he began working with another Vietnam veteran and ex-convict, Thomas Manning. The two worked for Statewide Correction Alliance for Reform, a prisoners' rights organization. They tutored inmates and opened Red Star North, a radical bookstore on Congress Street.

In 1975, Levasseur was arrested in Connecticut on a firearms violation. He jumped bail and began life as a fugitive.

Levasseur, Manning, their wives and children and other allies spent the next nine years moving from place to place in the Northeast. They were indicted in a bank robbery in Portland, a charge that was later folded into the sedition and racketeering prosecution. They were also blamed for numerous bombings that targeted businesses that worked with South Africa's apartheid government.

They were often rumored to return to Maine. Portland's deputy police chief, William Ridge, then a young patrolman, said the department was always on guard when they heard those reports.

"The biggest fear was that you would pull someone over for a traffic stop and get shot," Ridge said. "When we heard they were around, we didn't make a lot of traffic stops."

The search for the group intensified after the murder of New Jersey Trooper Philip Lamonaco, who was killed after pulling over a car on the New Jersey Turnpike. Manning later admitted to killing Lamonaco, but claimed it was done in self-defense.

Levasseur, his wife, Patricia Gros, and three others were arrested in Cleveland in November 1984. Manning and his wife, Carol Ann, were captured in Norfolk, Va., in April 1985.

Levasseur was sent to New York for trial in a bombing case. He and co-defendant Richard Williams were both convicted and sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Manning was convicted of felony murder for the death of Lamonaco. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison, in addition to 53 years for a separate bombing conviction.

May 1977: Raymond Levasseur's name is placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List. November 1984: Seven years as a fugitive end with his arrest by the FBI in Deerfield, Ohio. March 1989: Levasseur and five other radicals are tried in U.S. District Court in New York for numerous bombings at corporate offices and military installations. Levasseur is convicted and, a month later, sentenced to 45 years in prison.

August 2004: Police say Levasseur is about to be paroled to a federal halfway house in Portland. SOME OF THE 22 bombings linked to Levasseur's groups: April 1976: Suffolk County Courthouse in Boston.n May 1976: Central Maine Power's headquarters in Augusta. July 1976: U.S. Post Office, Seabrook, N.H. May 1983: Roosevelt Army Reserve Center, Long Island and Navy Reserve Center, Queens, N.Y. September 1984: Union Carbide offices, Mt. Pleasant, N.Y.

If it's not about the children, it's all about the art.

1 posted on 09/16/2006 8:22:11 PM PDT by fight_truth_decay
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To: fight_truth_decay
Levasseur at his "art exhibit" in Portland this week.
2 posted on 09/16/2006 8:38:07 PM PDT by Fido969 ("The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax." - Albert Einstein)
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To: fight_truth_decay
"Censorship - the denial of free speech - are the norm here in the land of smoke and mirrors."

I think that was a Clinton quote...
3 posted on 09/16/2006 8:42:16 PM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: fight_truth_decay

Throw that SOB into solitary with bread and water.

4 posted on 09/16/2006 8:45:59 PM PDT by billndin
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To: Sam Cree; Liz; Joe 6-pack; woofie; vannrox; giotto; iceskater; Conspiracy Guy; Dolphy; ...

Art Ping

If you would like on or off the ist please contact :
Sam Cree,Republicanprofessor, or myself (Woofie)

5 posted on 09/16/2006 8:46:50 PM PDT by woofie
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To: fight_truth_decay
ugly-assed pictures, and retarded looking people holding 'em. yet another reason to junk the appellate process and execute people withing minutes, or seconds of the verdict.
6 posted on 09/16/2006 8:48:47 PM PDT by RedStateRocker (Nuke Mecca, Deport all illegals, abolish the IRS, ATF and DEA)
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To: Fido969
Is it just my imagination, or is this "art" stuff that would get your kid a C-?

Nancy Gish and Wendy Chapkis, professors of English and sociology, respectively

Gee, there's two real productive citizens. Has sociology ever accomplished anything? Has any sociologist in any way whatsover improved the world? Anyone? Bueller?

"You have to separate the art from the artist," said Gish

How about we separate the HEAD from the artist when he's a freaking cop killer?

I mean, this is a rhetorical question, but have you ever heard of these lefties getting all pre-orgasmic over the "art" of someone who didn't "express himself" by killing cops and other random people?

[Gish] cited poets in her curriculum who were jailed in their time.

That tells us just about all we need to know about Gish's teaching, doesn't it? A lot of Amiri Baraka and Leonard Peltier, and various other quasi-literate "victims of The Man" and their juvenile maunderings.

Real artists don't go to jail because they're too busy entertaining, delighting and inspiring people.


Criminal Number 18F

7 posted on 09/16/2006 9:12:35 PM PDT by Criminal Number 18F (Build more lampposts... we've got plenty of traitors.)
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To: Criminal Number 18F
Is it just my imagination, or is this "art" stuff that would get your kid a C-?

If you are so narrow-minded as to consider 'art' as being mere technical proficiency, you might be correct. Howerver, if one looks at the gestalt of art, particularly the modern view of art as "performance socialism", then you see the 'art' being taught today; 'art' that says peeing on a crucifix is worthy of NEA grant money. Art that says if you fling poo, you get paid for it.

The new 'art' is not about art at all; it's simply a masquerade for rebellion, for paganism, for atheism, for all that hates God; walking in lockstep with the New Socialism that would on the one hand wants to live in the basest immorality, and on the other, will be genuinely shocked should, God forbid, Islam came into power here in the USA and gave 'em a taste of what Islam has in mind; summary executions. That, citizens, is what 'art' is about.

8 posted on 09/16/2006 9:29:38 PM PDT by
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To: RedStateRocker
ugly-assed pictures, and retarded looking people holding 'em.

No kidding. They should have "loser" tattooed on their foreheads.

9 posted on 09/16/2006 9:41:41 PM PDT by NurdlyPeon (Wearing My 'Jammies Proudly)
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To: fight_truth_decay

...think they'll hold an art exhibit commemorating Timothy McVeigh? Or would that be "insensitive"?

10 posted on 09/16/2006 10:26:04 PM PDT by Tzimisce (How Would Mohammed Vote? Hillary for President!
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To: fight_truth_decay

Maybe the demonstrators can go all out and host an exibit of Adolf Hitler's artwork. Since they love sychopathic murderers who have artistic pretentions, old Adolf would fit right in.

11 posted on 09/17/2006 1:23:44 AM PDT by Wilhelm Tell (True or False? This is not a tag line.)
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To: Wilhelm Tell
The artist has some proficiency. Like a lot of other things, however, it is so mixed up with non-art controversy that the whole scenario is to muddled too comprehend. How can the same state punish the cop killer in one of its institutions and subsidize showing the art in another? Why is the art not just presented to the public as art in a gallery or art show?

More importantly, how are we going to free ourselves from the continual strife and upset every small pressure group exerts on everything anyone tries to do? And when will we outgrow our morbid fascination with the bad guys and recognize the heros in our midst, again, especially in schools?

12 posted on 09/17/2006 6:36:52 AM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: woofie

These guys' idea of free expression is somehow coercive...they want others to be forced into financing what amounts to their politics. Not that I read through the whole thing.

Typical commies.

13 posted on 09/17/2006 8:01:32 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Don't mix alcopops and ufo's)
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To: ClaireSolt

Limited proficiency in my view. The negro boy is somewhat handsomely painted, but the other figures look to be very amateurishly done...why the discrepancy?

In any case, I think the strife will lessen when the citizenry at large is no longer coerced into supporting art which is directed at the destruction and mockery of that same citizenry. In other words, when the art is allowed to stand on its own.

14 posted on 09/17/2006 8:06:08 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Don't mix alcopops and ufo's)
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To: Sam Cree; ClaireSolt
Repeat after me . . .

"Copied . . . from . . . photographs."

The flat perspective is a dead giveaway. He found some old copies of National Geographic in the prison library.

He has little if any proficiency. Almost anybody can copy from a photograph, given enough time (and he obviously has plenty of THAT.)

15 posted on 09/17/2006 12:18:12 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: AnAmericanMother

"Copied . . . from . . . photographs."

I bet you are right. I didn't think of it, but as far as that goes, where else would he get such models? What got me was that, while the negro boy's face looks OK, it is the face only - the rest of him is out of control. Now that you mention it, the face itself is distorted too, in the way that a close up photograph distorts. The Hispanic (or whatever) women look like a junior high art class effort.

I photographed some waves once, on the ocean, for a painting reference. Waited for a rough day, too. Got them developed, it didn't look rough at all. I couldn't figure it out until it was explained to me that the camera flattens values.

Thanks for pointing this out.

16 posted on 09/17/2006 3:28:26 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Don't mix alcopops and ufo's)
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To: fight_truth_decay

I'll have to agree with the woman above who said, "You have to seperate the art from the artist". Manning may indeed be a murdering scumbag, but his art obviously has merit.

17 posted on 09/17/2006 3:35:25 PM PDT by Melas (Offending stupid people since 1963)
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To: Melas; ClaireSolt; AnAmericanMother; Sam Cree
I'll have to agree with the woman above who said, "You have to seperate the art from the artist".

I agree with your comment, but the University of Southern Maine could not find an artist of merit who was not a cop killer and serial bomber?

Within this piece you will also notice that one of the professors seems to have a fascination on the radical edge of admiration for a type of artist. I am not disputing talent, I am disputing the University's choice of artist for this gallery exhibit. These convicted criminals have taken lives, have bombed government facilities paid for with YOUR tax dollars, while families and friends mourn; and yet they are to be celebrated as "artist(s) with a message". Screw, their artistic message! Manning and his accomplice should have left us their message in the form of art with brush in hand and not taken the radical direction with exposives and guns as they did.

I applaud the Maine police officers for exercising their freedoms to react and hope certain cars may suddenly be anointed with parking tickets all over the city of Portland.

Just a small price 'to suffer for art', wouldn't you agree? ;)

18 posted on 09/17/2006 5:27:03 PM PDT by fight_truth_decay
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To: Sam Cree
Low light from around 90 degrees to the camera will help.

Also, if you use contrasty film it increases depth.

(My husband is an avid disciple of Ansel Adams. Large format and all. And he doesn't complain about my hobbies!)

But the picture of the two Latin American (Bolivian?) women I SWEAR I saw in a NG magazine awhile back. It looks very familiar to me, and I have a pretty reliable visual memory.

19 posted on 09/17/2006 5:34:24 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: fight_truth_decay; Melas; ClaireSolt; Sam Cree
Nope, I'm going to argue with you here.

This "art" has almost zero merit. It is obviously copied from photographs, which is the equivalent of using a light box or pantograph. ANYbody can copy a photograph if they are patient enough, because it does your work for you (reducing 3 dimensions to 2 dimensions - but it does it in a different way from an artist's hand, which is why it is so obvious.) And all he's done is use very flat areas of paint to copy the shadows in the photographs; where it was too detailed to copy, he's just left out the detail.

The ONLY reason this guy got any gallery time was because of his radical leanings. Murderers in prison who take up some artistic hobby or other are a dime a dozen - they tend to be numerous because they stay there for a LONG time - he's doubtless a cause celebre amongst some of the loony left, he could have thrown paint against the wall with a plastic bag and they would be swooning about the "deep meaning" and what not.

20 posted on 09/17/2006 5:39:43 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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