[Ppnews] Rob los Ricos to Be Released From Prison June 29, 2006

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 28 08:57:57 EDT 2006

From: Break Chains <breakthechains02 at yahoo.com>
Subject: Rob los Ricos to Be Released From Prison June 29, 2006

Rob los Ricos to Be Released From Prison June 29, 2006

Anarchist activist plans summer/fall speaking tour.

By: Marlena Gangi
  <mailto:en_lucha at riseup.net>en_lucha at riseup.net

Rob Thaxton, AKA Rob los Ricos, will be released from the Oregon 
State Correctional Facility on June 29 after having served seven 
years as a convicted felon.

Thaxton, a Chicano anarchist, was arrested for hitting an officer on 
his shoulder with a rock during the June 18, 1999 Reclaim the Streets 
demonstration (which came to be a police riot) in Eugene, Oregon. Of 
the twenty-one people arrested in connection with the June 18 
protest, Thaxton received the stiffest charges: Assault II, Riot and 
Attempted Assault I. An Attempted Murder charge was briefly brought 
forth and then dropped.

The June 18 protest was timed to coincide with the 25th G8 summit in 
Kolm, Germany. Eugene was one of 140 cities that rose up against the 
institutions of global capitalism that day.

Thaxton explains, "The G8 Summit is where the representatives of the 
eight wealthiest nations in the world come together to figure out 
what to do with the rest of us."

Raised in the Texas panhandle Thaxton, 46, began his activism at the 
age of twelve. He came of age during the Civil Rights struggle and 
institutionalized racism served as an early catalyst for his 
political leanings.

"I was called "nigger" a lot by redneck kids. I admired Blacks for 
standing up for their rights. Muhammed Ali's refusal to enter the 
army blew my mind. 'No Vietnamese ever called me a nigger,' Ali explained."

The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Robert 
Kennedy left an early mark.

"The so-called 'race riots,' the anti-war protests, the whole 
struggle for basic human rights that took place in this country that 
was supposedly built on a foundation of democracy; I saw the 
hypocrisy and refused to accept the myth of equality. I read the 
Communist Manifesto and considered myself to be a revolutionary by 
the age of twelve. I understood that the police and government were 
not my friends."

While in high school and as a college student, Thaxton went on to 
organize with the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El 
Salvador, ACT UP and served as Program Director at KNON-FM "the 
people's radio station" in Dallas.

Organizing in Austin, Thaxton worked with the growing anarchist 
community there as well as with the Palestine Solidarity committee, 
Earth First! and the Black Banner brigade. He traveled to Portland to 
write for the Anarchist Info Shop. In Columbia, Missouri, he helped 
publish Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed. It was at this time that 
Thaxton's activity came into the scrutiny of the FBI. He headed back 
to Dallas.

The Reagan era left Thaxton with little hope for the future and even 
less for the present. Activism was in lull; greed was good.

"In between minimum wage jobs and periods of homelessness I felt 
myself drawn to street life. I did hard drugs and hung out a lot with 
hookers, hustlers and junkies doing the kinds of things people like us did."

Thaxton lived in Hawaii before returning to Portland where he became 
a father. As his relationship with the mother of his daughter came to 
an end, he found himself once again shooting up hard drugs and lost 
in the life of the streets.

"When faced with heart rendering decisions, I turned to drugs to 
avoid the situation for awhile. It took the love of a remarkable 
woman and the unconditional support of activist friends to overcome 
this way of thinking."

Set on turning his life around to create an existence independent of 
dominant culture, Thaxton headed deep into the woods of southern 
Oregon with like-minded activists.

"To live outdoors, free of authority, growing our own food, drinking 
water from springs, building our own housing: I finally came to 
accept myself, my circumstances and decisions that defined my life as 
it existed up to 1999."

And then came the June 18 International Day of Solidarity in 
opposition to the G8 Summit.

"There was an anarchist gathering in Eugene on June 16. My friends 
had enough sense to leave on the 18th, but not me." June 18 was to be 
his last day of freedom.

Finding himself immersed in the daylong Reclaim the Streets clash 
between police and protesters, Thaxton was caught in a crowd cordoned 
off by riot-geared police.

"We were standing around, illegally blocking traffic. Out of sheer 
boredom a Taco Bell was attacked. They gave an order to disperse but 
they had us surrounded. Cops in protective gear shot mace and clubbed us."

Thaxton threw a rock in the direction of charging police in an effort 
to put distance between them and him. The rock connected. Sgt. Larry 
Blackwell, the cop who took the hit, raced toward Thaxton in a rage. 
Unable to escape, Thaxton was thrown face first to the pavement and 
repeatedly clubbed. His left shoulder was dislocated when pulled to 
his feet. As blood dripped from his nose broken by the first impact, 
he was told that he should have been shot. When transported to the 
Lane County Jail, police threatened to "get him" in his cell.

After a brief exam, he was given Vicodin and a sling for his arm. His 
booking photo was digitally altered to delete gashes on the swollen 
and purple left side of his face.

"The nurse refused to examine my scalp because of the amount of dried blood."

Thaxton's bail was set at $240,00. In a trial fraught with bias as 
Judge Mary Ann Bearden continually sided with the prosecutor, Bearden 
also allowed jury members to be seated who stated that they could not 
be impartial about anarchists given the news coverage of the events 
of June 18.

In September of 1999, Thaxton was sentenced to 70 months for Assault 
II. Bearden departed from Measure 11 sentencing guidelines to hand 
down18 months for Riot. The sentences ran consecutively rather that 

Throughout his incarceration, Thaxton has been singled out for harsh 
treatment because of his ethnicity and unrepentant political stance. 
When the Oregon Department of Corrections "documented" anarchists as 
a Security Threat Group, they became designated gang members. 
Thaxton's incoming mail including publications by or about anarchists 
was intercepted. This included anything with the anarchist Circle A insignia.

Not one to retreat, Thaxton sent a call to supporters to mail in post 
cards that displayed the Circle A with the caption "This is Not a 
Gang Symbol." Some 500 cards rolled in and Thaxton was sent to 
solitary for 4 months. Former anarchist political prisoner Brian 
McCarville filed suit to change this mail rule and won. Anarchist 
prisoners were once again allowed to receive anarchist material.

For one who has written countless articles during his imprisonment 
ranging from commentary to political theory and book reviews, Thaxton 
is uncharacteristically mum on the form that his activism will take 
once released. Well published before his arrest, Thaxton has received 
international attention throughout the years as anarcho list serves 
and websites ring electric with what many perceive to be the sheer 
injustice of his trial and sentence.

"I've been down so long, I'm really not sure what it looks like on 
the outside," he says.

He expresses some concern about what supporters might expect him to 
do or be once freedom is granted.

"I'm no movement poster dude. I'm flawed and have relationships to 
mend. I plan to keep writing, I'm working on scheduling a speaking 
tour and am intent on pulling my articles into book form and have it 
published sometime this fall. For now, I can't really say too much 
about what my future might hold. I'm just looking forward to getting out."

Rob Thaxton is featured as a contributing author in the recently 
released Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of Earth from AK 
Press. Thaxton will give a reading presentation on Saturday, July 1 
at Laughing Horse Bookstore 12 NE 10th St. Portland Oregon. For more 
information call 503.493.2505.

Marlena Gangi is an activist, educator and photojournalist. She 
resides in Portland.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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