Denver Anarchist Black Cross
Toronto G20 State Repression Goes International With the Arrest and Request for Extradition of American Activist
On Thursday, February 14th, at 6 o’clock in the morning, federal marshals arrested an American activist, Joel Bitar, in his New York, NY home on a provisional arrest warrant issued by the US Attorney’s office, acting on a foreign extradition request from Canadian authorities. The complaint against Joel cites 26 counts, almost all relating to property damage that occurred during the G20 summit protests in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in June 2010. After a temporary delay in court proceedings—due to an outbreak of lice in the federal prison where Joel and many others have the misfortune of being held, the weekend, and a national holiday on Monday—Joel went before Magistrate Judge, Gabriel W. Gorenstein, on Tuesday, February 19th, to determine whether he would be granted bail as he awaits his extradition hearing in the United States. During the proceedings, a general timeline of the actions of the Canadian and US authorities was established.
Joel was arrested in Toronto, along with a little over 1,100 other people, during the G20 protests on June 26 and 27th 2010, in what is thought to be the largest mass arrest in Canada’s history. Joel was processed and released without any charges. In December 2010, lead G20 investigator, Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux, announced to various Canadian news agencies that Canada was seeking the extradition of three Americans for damages amounting to $500,000. Soon after, Joel retained the services of an attorney, Martin Stolar, who contacted Giroux. According to Stolar’s testimony on Tuesday, Giroux confirmed that Joel was a suspect and they were investigating him on charges relating to property destruction. The Assistant U.S. Attorney said that the original complaint against Joel—which details the charges—was prepared in October 2011. Canadian authorities then spent some time going through their image and video database from the G20, as well as obtaining Facebook posts that Joel allegedly made regarding the G20 summit in Canada, and submitted a request for extradition in October 2012 which jumpstarted a winding process involving the US Embassy in Washington DC, the State Department, and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. It is worth noting that in this time period beginning in December 2010 up until his arrest in February 2013, Joel traveled overseas several times, and was not arrested, although he was stopped by the Department of Homeland Security and questioned. Joel’s response was that they should speak to his lawyer.
Establishing this timeline of events took up the longest part of the proceedings, and there was much back-and-forth between the Assistant U.S. Attorney—who opposed bail, pressed US legal obligations in respect to treaties with Canada, and claimed that the allegations against Joel, which mostly relate to property damage, are extraditable offenses that endangered Canadian citizens—and Joel’s current attorney, Philip Weinstein—who argued several special circumstances (such as delay, the political nature of the charges, and community ties) that allow for bail in extradition cases. After some consideration, Judge Gorenstein granted bail on the basis of the special circumstance of “delay” (it had been over two years since Det. Sgt. Giroux had spoken with Martin Stolar, and alleged Joel’s involvement) and acknowledged Joel’s low risk of flight. The stipulations of the bail are steep: Joel was granted bail to the tune of $500,000—a little tit-for-tat—as well as house arrest with electronic monitoring. He was released into the custody of his parents on Wednesday, February 20th. His next court date—which is his actual extradition hearing—is currently scheduled for March 20th.
For those who may be unfamiliar, the G20 is a collection of finance ministers and central bank governors from nineteen powerful countries plus the European Union—along with representatives of international financial institutions. At G20 “summits” these figures are joined by top politicians to discuss their ongoing exploitation of the planet, its people and resources. Downtown Toronto was placed under heavy police control during the summit and protesters were arbitrarily arrested and held in a large film-studio, that was converted into a prison, specifically for the purpose of crushing dissent. It is well known that many were brutalized, insulted, or sexually humiliated by Canadian police, outraging large sectors of Canadian society. Protest organizers were attacked by police in their homes, arrested and charged for attending meetings and discussing protest plans.
The extradition of a protester for property damage is almost unprecedented in the histories of both the United States and Canada. Considering that state repression has been ratcheted ever higher in both countries over the past several years, this latest development comes with little surprise. Governments claim that property damage somehow endangers the lives of citizens, all the while their police and military forces brutalize and kill people at home and abroad that they deem undesirable—non-citizens. As long as there are states—and international summits of states—there will be protest and revolt by the non-citizens of the world. We are in solidarity with Joel Bitar—who is a friend, a son, a nephew, a Palestine solidarity activist, a co-worker, a prospective nursing student, and a real person whose life cannot be categorized so easily into the familiar tropes. The US and Canadian governments want to call him a criminal, and eventually, an inmate. We fight this legal process and will support Joel throughout this predicament. Joel’s case may be unique, but state repression is not. We are in solidarity with all comrades who face state repression, especially those in jail from G20 protest charges in Canada and the Pacific Northwest Grand Jury Resisters here in the US.
More updates as necessary.
February 1st, 2013
I am a few days past my one-month mark as I write this. I am still isolated in the Special Housing Unit here at FDC SeaTac and I have not heard any word on how long I will remain here.
I want to thank everyone who has sent me a letter thus far. Your letters and warm gestures of support from all over the world have helped remind me that I am not alone. Especially wonderful are all of the people who supported me before going in as well as those who showed up for court dates. Your advice and embraces have helped me in so many ways. Thanks to CAPR and Denver ABC for keeping my commissary full. I think of y’all every morning when I drink my instant coffee.
I am using my time to read, listen to the radio and exercise. I have been sticking to a routine, which has helped me stay grounded. I am trying my best to respond to all of the letters I have received, but am limited by stamps and supplies. I apologize if you have not received a response. Though I really should also apologize to those who have received letters from me; I am practicing to improve my handwriting.
I have particularly enjoyed receiving letters with pictures of nature/cute animals, news/goings on and jokes. I have found great strength in laughter while in here.
My main frustration thus far has been that, despite my many requests, I have still not been able to call my lawyer. It has been more than a month and I have not even seen so much as a response to my requests.
Regardless of that, I am generally in good spirits and I am looking forward to the day when I can thank everyone, in person, for their support.
Love & Rage,
From Indybay, Via Anarchist News:
On February 13th, a punk house known as the Music Box, was raided by the FBI, OPD, and at least one Citrus Heights officer in West Oakland, Ca. This is a first person account of what took place. It was submitted anonymously to Indybay.org on February 16th, 2013.
3 days ago on Feb 13th 2013, my home , The Music Box, located on 3404 Market St in Oakland was raided by the FBI, OPD and various officers leading the investigation from Citrus Heights, CA.
The police officers at first vocalized that the intended purpose of the raid was to look for a murder suspect. Latter, they vocalized that they were there only to search for his personal belongings that could be connected with the case. The warrant stated that they were there to search for a myriad of different objects, mostly pertaining to electronic devices, digital media storing devices, clothing, and objects connected with illegal cannabis production. The warrant also stated that they could come back within 10 days of the raid to confiscate other electronic devises, specifically cell phones.
The person whose homicide case they were conducting the raid in conjunction to was in prison for other charges during the time of the raid and had been behind bars for at least a month.
The raid started at approx. 7 am, with one of the residents spotting armed police officers and federal agents approaching the house across the street, the officers then approached the front door, coming through the gate and busted in, flashing a search warrant at the resident who answered the door. They busted all of the residents o of the Music Box out of their bedrooms and forced us all to wait outside in the front of our house, forced to pee in front of them, all of us in our underwear and pajamas for approximately 2 hours while they searched through our home, taking and breaking things leaving with what we saw to be 3 or 4 bags of things. No known electronic devices were taken. They originally told us we were detained but then that too was verbally retractted. They let us all take a look at a copy of the warrant that they left for us. They attempted to interrogate some of the residents about the suspects character, his whereabouts and asking if he had ever attempted to get them to do illegal things with them. One of the residents was put into handcuffs after they went to get a pack of cigarettes.
We called out for help to passer by, pleading for them to record the event, tell people what was happening. Eventually, friends of our house were contacted for help and came by, and around that same time, they let us all go. Thankfully, no one was arrested and the Feds as well as the cops left as calmly as people like that can leave a home they just invaded.
There were approx. 10-15 officers, many armed with assault rifles and FBI agents in swat gear. Many of the officers also had small video cameras around their neck recording the whole ordeal.
The previous day, Feb 12th, a few officers showed up in the afternoon claiming to be responding to a 911 call that apparently came from our home that they were doing a routine check up on. They said, without any instigation, that they were not trying to raid the house. The residents who answered the door told them they could not enter and told them to leave. Latter in the evening on Feb 12th, several helicopters circled our home, flashing search lights into our back yard as well as the front door.
This is not the first time our home was raided. In December, right before Christmas, we experienced a raid that was executed to search for someone who was being charged with fraudulent immigration marriage. The scene then was similar to the one on February 13th, in which cops and that time ICE officers busted into our home, all 20 some odd residents forced out of their various sleeping places, with certain individuals interrogated. That time, the officers did not provide a copy of the search warrant, but let some of the residents take a 2 minute peek at in which the person looking at it gathered that they had been surveilling our home for quite sometime.
The fact that the FBI and the local Police forces as well as police forced from suburbs of Sacramento believe that coming into someone’s home, terrorizing all of the residents, ransacking as well as breaking and stealing their personal belongings for vague purposes is a way to make peace with and please an already fed up public is absolutely absurd. Clearly, this is another example of the FBI’s and the local police forces ploy to exert brut force towards the friends and loved ones of poor people of color being charged for crimes that are, at their source, by and large economic.
This, in combination with the ICE raid is enough to make us all scream. Clearly, both accounts are completely and utterly racist. The illegal and abhorrent manner in which both raids were conducted also cannot be stood for, as it is clearly a gross injustice to our personal liberties.
One could also connect the recent raid on our home to the growing plot to gentrify North Oakland by our cities business elite. With the Bart Shopping Center under construction at MacArthur Bart, with the gentrification of the “Kino” neighborhood, with the well to do, Silicon Valley young urban professional savy of Emeryville, telegraph ave, and Berkeley being on all sides, it seems that the gentrification of North Oakland is inevitably on the rise. It is important to remember that police repression of any kind is inevitably financially motivated, with the repression of poor people, specifically poor people of color generally being a plot to force them out of their homes and destroy their communities to make way for a young urban professional backwash population, in this instance, the backwash of the Silicon Valley. The recent attacks on social centers, squats, the gang injunctions plaguing north Oakland and OPD’s general mission to destroy the lives of and terrorize communities of color in north Oakland as well as pretty much everywhere in the world, are not isolated points of repression carried out simply to satisfy the patriarchal, colonialist desires of the police force in and of themself. They are part of an articulate, financial plan to gentrify Oakland.
The residents of the music box are standing together strong . We care about and love each other very much. We thank everyone who has been supportive in this time of crisis, and hope to stay connected to a community of people who find these sorts of ordeals repulsive. We would like to extend a call for aid and solidarity in a few key ways:
-anyone who is willing to give a work shop about security culture and a know your rights training to the members of our home would be warmly accepted and gifted with a delicious meal!
-places for folks to stay who do not feel comfortable at our home right now
- We would like to talk to other people who have had similar things happen to them and gather info on what sort of things we should do.
-anything else you feel you want to contribute!
Sincerely yours and Fuck the Police,
-The Music Box
please contact born.in.flames19 [at] gmail.com to get in contact with residents of the Music Box, but please exhibit SECURITY CULTURE when contacting us!
From Spitalfields Life:
Last Friday at 5:30am, CCTV at the Whitechapel Gallery recorded two men break the metal shutter next door at The Freedom Press in Angel Alley and pour a flammable liquid inside, before setting it alight and leaving in a waiting car. Although the attack was premeditated, it came out of the blue and at present there is no confirmation of who was responsible. Yet the target is one with a powerful resonance as Britain’s oldest radical bookshop and the historic focus for free thought in the East End.
The Freedom Press was founded in 1886 by Peter Kropotkin, the Russian revolutionary, and Charlotte Wilson, the well-to-do British anarchist who resigned from the Fabian Society when she and William Morris were dissatisfied with the direction it was taking.
Freedom, the anarchist newspaper first published by Kropotkin and Wilson, is still produced from Whitechapel with every issue containing this policy statement, “Anarchists work towards a society of mutual aid and voluntary co-operation. We reject all government and economic repression. This newspaper, published continuously since 1936, exists to explain anarchism more widely and show that only in an anarchist society can human freedom thrive.” Hardly the provocation to such violence as was enacted last week.
Curious to see the damage for myself and discover the outcome of the attack, I walked down Brick Lane to visit Angel Alley. Entering the blackened bookshop where the bitter smell of the smoke prevailed, I climbed up to the first floor and discovered Max Reeves of The Freedom Press opening charred archive boxes. “Once the embers had died down, we put out a call to have a clear-up on Sunday and well over a hundred people from the local community turned up,” he explained to me,“We carried the books out and cleaned up the shop.”
Max believes the attack came from members of a far-right minority. “It’s not the first time we have been targeted by fascists, in 1993 a neo-Nazi group fire-bombed the shop,” he revealed, “It might be disheartening, if it were not for the flood of well-wishing and offers of help we have received from all over the world. Disparate groups in the radical hinterland have laid aside their differences and come together in solidarity.”
Nobody was injured in the attack and, although smoke permeated everywhere, only a portion of the building was damaged. Salvaged books have been stacked on the top floor while the burnt ones were piled out in Angel Alley as rubbish, where people quickly began to collect them as souvenirs. “It’s symbolic, it’s a proper Nazi book burning and each of the damaged books has now become a cherished artifact.” Max asserted, holding up a blackened paperback with a flourish, “This is a copy of William Blake burnt by fascists.”
“If the intention was to further divide people, this attack failed because it has achieved the opposite.” he assured me with unassailable confidence. The Freedom Press bookshop reopens for business today.
From the Denver Post:
The Justice Department on Friday informed a man who was beaten by three Denver police officers in 2009 that it will not charge any of them with civil-rights violations stemming from the case.
Alexander Landau, 23, said representatives from the department and the FBI called him at about 6:30 p.m. to inform him of the decision.
“They said they didn’t feel like they had enough evidence to bring federal charges against any of the officers who were initially involved,” Landau said.
The agents did not expound on the decision, he said.
“The gentleman was saying they just didn’t feel like they had sufficient evidence,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
The decision brought vindication to the officers and disillusionment to Landau, whose federal lawsuit against the city ended in 2011 with a $795,000 settlement, one of the largest payouts in city history to resolve a police-brutality case.
He said Cpl. Randy Murr and Officers Ricky Nixon and Tiffany Middleton tried to cover up the Jan. 19, 2009, beating that left him scarred and suffering “persisting neurological damage.” A photograph of Landau’s bloody face sparked outrage and community protests.
The lawsuit alleged that the officers hit Landau with their fists, flashlights and a radio, and called him a racial epithet during the incident, which started with a traffic stop.
Police said Landau reached for Middleton’s gun during the stop.
In June, the Justice Department informed the Police Department of its investigation. The Police Department’s internal-affairs bureau has completed its investigation into Landau’s allegations, but leaders delayed a discipline decision in light of the federal probe.
Given the federal government’s decision, Landau said he doubts the city will pursue harsh punishment.
Police Chief Robert White, through a spokesman, referred questions to Manager of Public Safety Alex Martinez.
Martinez’s spokeswoman, Daelene Mix, said earlier Friday that the office had not received official notice of the decision and declined to comment.
The officers involved are now vindicated, said Nick Rogers, president of the Denver Police Protective Association.
“It’s pretty simple: The officers did nothing wrong,” he said.
In a separate case, Murr was fired for lying on a police report about an April 2009 incident in Lower Downtown that was caught on videotape, showing officers beating Michael DeHerrera. Nixon was fired in 2011 for lying in a police report about a violent 2009 incident caught on video outside the Denver Diner. He has since been reinstated.
A Police Department roster shows that Middleton also remains on the job.
“Obviously, they’re relieved,” said Sean Olson, who represented Murr and Nixon in the Landau case. “They’ve been living under this cloud of suspicion since the investigation started. … We are happy to know the DOJ now sees what the evidence shows in this case, that no Denver police officers violated Mr. Landau’s rights.”
Landau said he’s not sure what course of action, if any, he might take next.
“I feel like this is unjust. They beat me half to death and then just joked about it,” he said. “I don’t know if there is anything else I can do from here.”
From Anarchist News:
On 4th February, at around 10pm local time, riot police brutally evicted a group of anarchists, community activists and local history enthusiasts who had been occupying a disused railway station, Warsaw station, in St Petersburg, Russia.
Hearing that the site would soon be demolished to make way for a multi-storey housing complex, the activists had turned one of the last warehouses attached to the historic train station into a community centre, hosting concerts, poetry readings and a photo-exhibition of the history of the station.
The neo-renaissance-style building was built in the middle of the nineteenth century, linking St Petersburg directly with Warsaw, then part of the Russian Empire. Closed as a station in 2001, it was briefly transformed into a train museum, before falling empty. Developers had submitted plans to develop the area in October, despite the fact that parts of the building are protected by conservation law. Furthermore, the city’s unique status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site means that the construction of buildings in the city centre that are out of keeping with the imperial style should be carefully monitored by the government.
In fact, the difficulties of the on-going preservation of historic buildings in St Petersburg became a focus for civic activism in 2006 when one of the country’s largest oil and gas companies, GazProm, announced plans to build a 395-metre skyscraper opposite the historic Smolny complex, once the first seat of the Bolshevik government. Demonstrations were held, a new grass-roots social movement was founded, ‘Living City’, public figures joined the campaign and, in 2010, the project was moved to a less controversial site. Protecting public space from the encroachment of capital runs deep in the veins of this city.
Warsaw Station lies on the edge of the historic city centre and its status as a site of historical and cultural significance had been labeled ‘disputed’ by the city administration. In 2007, however, this status was changed, enabling developers to submit proposals for the site. Currently the non-governmental organisation, the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture (VOOPiK) is investigating the historical value of the buildings. According to the group, 15 historic buildings have historic or cultural significance. However, many fear that the developers themselves could demolish the buildings before the examination is finished: an unexplained incidence of ‘arson’.
So, in early January, activists occupied the last surviving warehouse of the Warsaw station complex. At first its owner appeared not to mind their presence and did not switch off electricity and other amenities for more than a month. However, on the 4th February things changed: at around 4pm activists found security guards ordered by the warehouse owner were attempting to use a sledgehammer to break down the inner wall of the warehouse. A fight broke out between the activists and the guards who then called the police claiming that the activists had been threatening them. Upon the arrival of the police some activists barricaded themselves in the building while others organized a human chain around the building trying to block police access to the door. The final stand-off between squatters and police and riot police lasted more than 6 hours.
Nineteen activists were arrested, with several hospitalized for concussion. The police also sustained injuries during the eviction, with two needing medical treatment for lost teeth and a fractured skull. Sixteen squatters received fines of around €40, but the remaining three are being charged for violence against police officers, an offence which could see them jailed for up to ten years. In fact the speed with which this has been rushed to the courts speaks for the probability of the maximum sentence.
Solidarity with the arrested squatters! Please publicize their bravery as widely as possible! They urgently need funds for legal assistance: to enquire about making a donation or to help get a fundraising action together please e-mail email@example.com
Finally, although it is unlikely that the penetration of Warsaw station by private capital will evoke such a huge public outcry as the GazProm project, the battle to save it has certainly put the site on the map. Videos, articles and photo reports of the eviction have flooded Russian media over the past day – both at local and national level – and, although the squat itself might be gone, the snug relationship between city capitalists and local government is once again in the spotlight. The developers will no doubt have a long, hard road in front of them. It is a crime that three individuals may have to pay such a high price for their defence of social justice.
Photo reportage of the eviction: http://lenta.ru/photo/2013/02/05/squat/#0
Squat blog (in Russian): http://spasisohrani.livejournal.com/
video (in Russian) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAcslamlh4U
From Support the ACAC 19:
On Friday February 8th, 2013 members of the Anti-Capitalist Anti-Colonial (ACAC) 19 will be appearing in San Francisco Superior Court at 850 Bryant Street for a pretrial motions hearing. We call on you, supporters, friends, and comrades to pack the courtroom. Also you can support the ACAC 19 by calling, emailing, and faxing the District Attorney to pressure him to drop all charges. Let us show that our comrades are not alone in their relentless struggle against colonialism, capitalism and the state.
The main phone number for the San Francisco District Attorney’s office is (415) 553-1751.
When calling we suggest something like the following script:
“Hi my name is _______________________ and I am calling in support of 19 anti-colonial anti-capitalists arrested during a protest march on Saturday October 6th. I demand all charges be dropped immediately and an end to the harassment of the ACAC 19 by the San Francisco Police Department and District Attorney George Gascón.
Below you will find a fax petition demanding that the San Francisco District Attorney drop all charges against the ACAC 19. To join the effort, please follow these simple steps:
1) Go to http://faxzero.com/ .
2) Fill out the form with your name and email address under Sender information.
3) Fill out George Gascón under Receiver Name and (415) 575-8815 for the Receiver Fax Line.
4) Copy the text at the bottom of this email into the box that says “Type text to appear on the cover page”. Personalize the text in the box to include your name and also anything else you would like to say.
5) Enter the confirmation code
6) Click the Send Free Fax Now button at the bottom of the box.
7) Check your email and click on the confirmation link. Clicking on this link will actually send your fax.
8) Wait for the email that confirms that your fax has been sent.
9) Please send the ACAC 19 Support Committee a message firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that you sent the message, and what response you received when you called.
Drop All Charges Against the ACAC 19
To: George Gascón
District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco
San Francisco, California
Fax Line : (415) 575-8815
District Attorney George Gascón:
I am writing in support of 19 anti-colonial anti-capitalists arrested during a protest march on Saturday October 6th. I demand all charges be dropped immediately and an end to the harassment of the ACAC 19 by the San Francisco Police Department and District Attorney George Gascón.
This petition can also be emailed to these email addresses:
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) Two of four suspects arrested for allegedly robbing a bank and post office in Greece are wanted members of a domestic terrorist group, police said Saturday.
The suspects, whose names have not been released yet, are being questioned by a police counterterrorist unit in the northern city of Kozani. The terrorist organization in question is armed anarchist group Conspiracy Nuclei of Fire, police officials said on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment on an ongoing investigation.
The group has claimed a number of bombings, including attacks against the homes of two former ministers and a ministry, all of which have caused no injuries. The militant group has also claimed responsibility for a series of mail bombings in 2010 targeting embassies and European officials, including an attempted attack on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office in Berlin.
The four suspects, all in their early 20s and described by police as “university students,” were arrested shortly after two robberies of a bank and a post office branch in the village of Velvendo, near Kozani, on Friday. One of them was the driver of a getaway van who was waiting for the others in a nearby highway. Suspicious police apprehended the driver, but he managed to set fire to the getaway vehicle, which he had disguised to look like an ambulance.
According to local police, seven suspects went to the village, with four of them in teams of two breaking into the bank and the post office branches, with two more acting as lookouts and a seventh person posted on the approach to the village.
Although the branches were open, the robbers used sledgehammers to smash their way in through the windows. They left with €175,000 ($240,000) from the bank and about €4,000 ($5,500) from the post office, but were delayed for at least 10 minutes because the bank safe had a delaying mechanism.
When the seven did not find the getaway driver, they stopped a car and hijacked it, along with its occupant. Three of them left with the hijacked car and the other four with a van. The three in the hijacked car were arrested later Friday. The four in the van are still on the run.
Police say the arrested suspects carried three AK-47 assault rifles, a submachine gun, a sawed-off shotgun, two pistols and several rounds of ammunition. All arrested suspects wore body armor.
From the Committee Against Political Repression:
Grand Jury resister Kerry Cunneen gave an interview to Finn’s Revolution radio show. Here is a rough transcript of the interview:
Question: What is anarchism and how did anarchists find themselves at May Day in Seattle?
Kerry: Anarchism is a political philosophy centered on the idea that a society without domination is better suited to foster the wellbeing of its members. Anarchists are necessarily anti-capitalists because capitalism hinges on exploitation and economic division in society. We also oppose the concentration of power that we refer to as the state. These various bodies of law, force, and control seek to contain the possibilities for society and compel us all to perpetuate capitalism. There are many other forms of social domination that anarchists will fight to abolish, such as racism and patriarchy, that are also deeply entwined with capitalism.
As for May Day, it is, among other things, an anarchist holiday. It is a day that commemorates the militant labor struggle for the eight hour work day and the anarchists who were killed or imprisoned by the state for participating in this struggle. In Chicago, where the labor struggle was particularly militant, the police opened fire on a picket, killing and wounding picketers. The next day a demonstration was called and a bomb was thrown at the police line, killing an officer and wounding others. The state tried eight anarchists for the murder, and regardless of whether they were at the demonstration or not, all eight were sentenced to death or life in prison. We take May Day as a chance to remember these militant struggles and to inspire us to keep fighting against the state that wants us submissive or dead. Every year there are demonstrations and other events in cities all over. In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle was calling out to anarchists to come together and have a really massive anti-capitalist march. Many anarchists answered the call and showed up in Seattle that day.
Question: What was May 1, Seattle all about? Were there progressive groups involved? What was your involvement? Were you arrested or investigated? If so, how were you treated?
Kerry: There were a lot of events and marches scheduled for May Day in Seattle
this past year. A lot of them were related to occupy. I can’t say much about
the organizing of Seattle’s May Day because I don’t live there and was not
part of the organizing. I can say that May Day demonstrations have in many
places become somewhat placid, not resembling the spirit of resistance to
state control. They often get city permits, and designate peace police to
make sure the march is whatever the organizers want it to be. The anti-
capitalist march in Seattle was organized to be different. This march was
meant to be a disruption of capital. It was unpermitted and there was no
leadership in the march or expectation of abiding laws.
I was in Seattle at the anti-capitalist march on May Day. It was a glorious
day for anarchists, in my opinion. We effectively disrupted the goings on of
downtown Seattle. I was not arrested or anything, but clearly I have
become involved in the investigation somehow. But, with secret
investigations it is difficult to glean much information.
Question: Some people are appalled when property damage and injury occur in these kinds of events. What can you say regarding that?
Kerry: I would say that property destruction is an important tactic in the fight
against capitalism. I think property destruction does a number of things that further the struggle against domination. For one, it solidifies for us and reminds us that the powers we fight are not abstract and insurrmountable. They are
vulnerable to attack. I think also that when an institution which forcibly
maintains power over us is targeted by property destruction, this will often
resonate with others who experience the violence of that institution. It
makes us feel less alone and less like victims. I think that property destruction has a good effect on those who carry it out as well. I think most people need to unlearn submission and show themselves that they have the capacity to act for
their own liberation. I think that when people burn cop cars, break bank
windows, or blockade a road (thwarting the transfer of goods and or law
enforcement) they are also demonstrating to themself some of the
magnitude of their ability to resist. I think too that in some cases the
economic damage of property destruction can be effective against the state
and capital. It is not as though breaking windows is an end goal, but it is a
tactic that people shouldn’t thoughtlessly cast aside as if it were the
introduction of violence into the fight against the state, instead of the
response to endless state sponsored violence.
There are many flawed arguments against property destruction, but
without a specific one to debunk, I would only extrapolate on this point that
in general people are accustomed to experiencing and absorbing state
violence as normal. There is a desensitization and sometimes a blame
shifting that goes on to justify state violence against people. But, when
people fight back against these concentrated powers it is sensationalized
and often viewed as unprovoked or illegitimate. In the case of a
demonstration in the streets, it is really awful to hear someone criticize the
breaking of windows as they gloss over the acute violence at the hands of
the state. Demonstrations are often brutally repressed, people are beaten,
pepper sprayed, arrested and imprisoned and this is expected and often
accepted by witnesses and people in general. How can a rational person
deny efforts of resistance the use of violence against those who hold it in a
monopoly? We want to win, we really mean to destroy capital, and for that
we will need to be open to the idea of property destruction. We have to
strip capital of its power over society. This is not an easy or voluntary
occurrence but one that is achieved by force. Property after all, is a farce.
Question: Kerry, you, Maddy, Matt & Kteeo are currently refusing to cooperate with a Grand Jury in Seattle which is investigating events which occurred during May Day protests last year. First, why do you think the government has subpoenaed you and has decided to pressure you to testify? And why are all of you refusing to appear?
Kerry: I don’t know why I was subpoenaed to the grand jury. I am an Anarchist, I am known to have been in Seattle on May Day and the Feds are grasping at
straws trying to make a case against Anarchists in whatever way they can.
I doubt they have any idea who broke the courthouse windows nor do they
care. I think they are using the attack on the courthouse as a pretext to
bring down a heavy hand and try to scare Anarchists away from militant
resistance. It isn’t working and I am glad to think that this is frustrating to
I refuse to appear because I despise the state. They are working to undo
everything that Anarchists stand for. I refuse to help them on the principle
that prisons should be abolished. I refuse them because I am in complete
support of the crimes they are investigating. I refuse them with a visceral
hatred for the law and all of the lives they ruin. I am glad for the little bit of
resistance I can provide in denying them information. I respect and admire
Matt, Kteeo and Maddy for making the sacrifice that is involved in sitting for
and undetermined jail sentence. I just am not personally willing to take a
step in the direction of my own jail cell.
Question: Clearly the government is attempting to intimidate you and anarchists and activists in general. First by calling you to testify in a Grand Jury setting thereby trying to force you give up your right to remain silent which exists in standard judicial courts, and then by jailing some of you to wear you down. Can they legally keep any of you in jail indefinitely until you testify, and just how long do all of you think this can last? Can you talk about what legal actions are being taken on your behalf?
Kerry: The state has the power to do lots of things, legal or not. Legally though,
people can be held in civil contempt for not testifying for a period up to 18
months or whenever the grand jury ends, whichever comes first. The grand
jury is slated to end by March of 2014 so there could be a lot of people in
jail for a long time over this. There are currently no legal actions being
taken on my behalf that I know of. I am not in need of any legal help unless
I am arrested. There doesn’t seem to be much that lawyers can do to help
people who are subpoenaed. All of the attempts to get the subpoenas
thrown out have been laughed out of the courts. They are going to do all
they can to turn people against their principles. I don’t see it working with
most Anarchists though.
Question: Kerry, where can listeners find out more about all this, and what can they do to get involved and help?
Kerry: So, the support group for the subpoenaed folks has a website. It is
nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com. That is where you can go for news
and updates about the grand jury in the Pacific Northwest. It is also where you can donate some much needed money which will help us fill the commissary of
the folks in jail so they can continue to write letters, eat and such things.
We also need money for lawyers fees and in case of indictments coming
from the grand jury. There is a support site for the 5 people recently
indicted for alleged crimes during the various marches of May Day in
Seattle. The site is seattleantirepression.wordpress.com. There is also a
site, saynothing.info which is cataloging the numerous actions of property
destruction which are being carried out in solidarity with those resisting the
grand jury and its targets.
I would say that people can help by holding fundraisers and other events to
raise money and awareness about what is happening. You can contact
either support groups to figure out how to set something up in your area.
Probably the most important thing though, is that people continue to
struggle in the spirit of the anti-capitalist march on May Day. People need
to attack, in whatever way they feel they can, the institutions that hold us
down. We are all inspired by resistance and it helps those of us facing
repression to know that we don’t struggle alone.
Thanks to the amazing support of Colorado is Global and Diana Aqra for this write-up on Denver ABC’s participation in yesterday’s MLK Marade in Denver.
DIANA AQRA, DENVER, CO – The remembrance of the political legacy led by Martin Luther King Jr. heightened the opportunity to raise awareness of the many political prisoners being held captive in US prisons today.
Not many people being aware that the US can detain people solely on their political beliefs, the Denver Anarchist Black Cross, or Denver ABC, shown in the picture above, marched and passed out pamphlets illustrating pictures of the many, mostly black, men and women still being held prisoner in the US for having “against the grain” political beliefs.
On behalf of my family, community and close friends I extend the gratitude to all the people who have stood next to me and believed from the beginning that this case was a distraction from the work that has been the focus of Homies Unidos. I want to thank the We Are Alex campaign who created chapters in San Francisco New York, Los Angeles and the DC area, with out you speaking out and outraged by my arrest I would not have been able to have fought my case while on bail. Special thanks to all that trusted in me enough to put their homes and sureties that totaled the $2,000,000 bail. And to all that send letters of support and wrote to me while I was in prison for those seven months. I will treasure those moments eternally.
We have not stopped the work, which is greatly needed in our community, but our funding has suffered since my indictment. We expect that we will get more support for the programs which have been reduced significantly since the dismissal of the indictment.
I will look back at this day and will be forever grateful of all who stood firmly next to me in this extremely difficult time and provided support to my family when they most needed it. I have taken my work seriously and with integrity and will continue to do so in the years ahead.
Judge Dale Fischer dismissed all charges without prejudice which gives the government until late March to refill charges. We expect the Government to do the right thing and not refill as they did on December 18 by recommending the dismissal of all charges after reviewing what the initial prosecutors had done to get the indictment.
We will rebuild Homies Unidos!!!!!!!
It is urgent that you listen to the audio email below. It is the latest update from Ralph Poynter, Mya Shone & Ralph Schonmann about LYNNE STEWARTS fate in prison.
Lynne Stewart’s breast cancer is spreading to her lungs and shoulders. She needs immediate treatment NOW. The prison authorities have known
this since September.
WE ARE ALSO IN THE PROCESS OF LAUNCHING HER APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT. DEADLINE FEBRUARY 21,2013.
All we are asking for in support is that you:
Listen to the audio below and update yourself on the facts. Check out the website as well.
Write a letter of support to Lynne Stewart- 53504 – 054, FEDERAL MEDICAL CNTR, CARSWELL, P.O. BOX 27137, FT. WORTH, TEXAS 76127. You don’t have to write the prison authorities because THEY READ EVERYTHING WE SEND AND TELL HER SO.
Send this email out to all your listservs, especially to LAWYERS because we are asking ALL ATTORNEYS SUPPORT HER CERT , (A REQUEST FOR THE SUPREME COURT TO HEAR HER CASE.
When it comes to the oppressed, there is no such thing as law or justice. THEREFORE, the movement determines the argument before the courts. Not this myth of justice before the law. We need attorneys who understand this and understand that LYNNE STEWART was one of the very few attorneys who understood this. She never had her political prisoners surrender their right to self defense or self determination. In her trial when questioned she still defended this human right and her right to give her clients the best defense possible. When she was re sentenced from 28 months to ten years, one of the reasons was that SHE SHOWED NO REMORSE. SHE DOES NOT FEEL REMORSE FOR DEFENDING THE BILL OF RIGHTS, therefore, we should defend her and all POLITICAL PRISONERS.
NEW ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT
But, to listen to the report, go to:
128 kbps version (hi fi):
32 kbps version (lo fi):