[Ppnews] Seattle - Raids and felony charges, but we’re still not afraid

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sun Dec 16 19:17:30 EST 2012

    Raids and felony charges, but we’re still not afraid


Five people in Seattle, including a member of our Red Spark collective, 
are currently facing serious charges allegedly related to May Day 
demonstrations that took place earlier this year. Charges include riot, 
assault, property destruction, and criminal mischief, which carry over 2 
years of jail time for at least one of the accused. A trial could begin 
as early as late January or February.

The May 1^st actions concentrated some of the most radical moments of 
Occupy in both Seattle and throughout the country.  These demonstrations 
mobilized thousands of people in multiple actions, including a Hip-Hop 
Occupies festival, an immigrant rights march, and a march against police 
murder. A mid-day anti-capitalist march ended with banks and a federal 
courthouse getting their windows smashed.

The May Day 5 are courageous for placing their lives on the line to 
fight for a radically different future.  They deserve our full support, 
as do all other progressives and radicals caught up in a growing wave of 
extreme political repression.

This is not a question of “innocence” or “guilt” in the eyes of this 
system and its state - nor is it the question for us.

This is about denying the basic reality:  the FBI and SWAT team raiders 
claim to represent “democracy” when it is they who refuse to allow 
democratic assemblies of millions of people in this country.  They say 
their violence is legitimate, and that the people have no right to 
defend themselves.

These charges are not legitimate.  Neither is the state that imposes 
them, the police that enforce them or the banker technocrats they 
defend.  This is about the right to fight for a better world. Revolution 
is illegal by definition and its adherents are routinely criminalized.  
But we are not afraid.  The tactics that a liberating movement chooses, 
whether they be targeted property destruction or civil disobedience, 
will be demonized whenever they threaten the powers that be.

*High Stakes*
The May Day charges occur in a wider climate of heightened social 
protest and repression. Although these charges have been filed in King 
County, Washington, there is no doubt that Federal agencies will be 
watching to see how our movement responds as a whole. A Federal Grand 
Jury <https://nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com/> in Seattle is 
conducting a political witch-hunt against radicals in the Pacific 
Northwest. Two Grand Jury resistors presently remain imprisoned for 
refusing to answer prosecutors’ questions and a third resister 
<http://www.facebook.com/events/394511713957398/> is prepared to be 
taken into custody on Friday.  Last week, Seattle  prosecutors mailed a 
court summons 
to a protestor who has been seen at rallies against the Grand Jury.

In the last 12 months there have been violent 
house raids <http://youtu.be/ySlgtgvQ-QQ>, Federally-coordinated police 
assaults on the Occupy movement, and extensive use of surveillance, 
informants, undercover agents 
and entrapment 
as the government attempts to neutralize and criminalize protestors. It 
has been revealed 
that the FBI was spying on anarchists from Portland /before/ the May Day 
demonstration in Seattle for which they are purportedly being investigated.

In Seattle, the City spent seven months and unbelievable amounts of 
resources in response to targeted property destruction that occurred on 
May Day, including mobilizing the public to snitch on alleged 
law-breakers. The City is even procuring domestic drones 
<http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2019607687_drones05m.html> that 
will inevitably be used against protesters. These decisions come  as 
public transit routes are cut, public housing is decimated for condos, 
libraries are forced to close their doors, and the homeless are left out 
in the cold.  This double standard doesn’t just expose a bitter 
hypocrisy. It underscores the inherently political nature of the charges 
against the May Day 5.

The repression that we have witnessed comes after months of bold action 
in Seattle (and all over the world) in direct defiance of private 
property and profit—as well as the system sworn to defend it at all 
costs. Beginning in the Fall of 2011, people took over vacant and 
foreclosed homes to house people, occupied a bank and a abandoned 
warehouse, and shut down <http://youtu.be/RvMynLiPiAU> West Coast Ports 
in support of port truckers, port workers, and as a broader attack 
against Goldman Sachs and “Wall Street on the Water Front.”

A militant, independent mass movement had joined forces with insurgent 
workers to temporarily halt the circulation of capital.

Although police and federal agents were embedded in the Occupy movement 
from its earliest days, the Port actions drew particular attention from 
Homeland Security 
and Obama threatened to use armed Coast Guard 
ships to break the port workers struggles in Longview, Washington.

It is not “vandalism” that the state fears, but a popular uprising as 
the economic crisis deepens. The last few years of rebellion have 
directly called into question the very legitimacy of this system; and 
both sides understand what is at stake. All over the US, the state is 
marshaling its vast resources, from the DHS and FBI to local police and 
the courts to threaten, punish and frighten those who have openly rebelled.

The insecurity of our rulers is reflected in massive popular revolts 
that stretch across the globe. They fear a rapidly developing 
international movement that fundamentally challenges the logic and 
ideological underpinnings of this system. The Egyptian revolution was 
not just an inspiration for the Occupy movement - it played a concrete 
role in weakening American imperialism around the planet.

*New Repression Tactics?*
The US has a long history of political repression in response to 
movements that mounted serious challenges to the system. In the late 
60s-70s, the political police (FBI) employed a diversity of tactics 
ranging from surveillance, infiltration, disruption, harassment and 
decapitation strategies including assassinations.

But how do we understand and overcome the present repression?

There is a new strategy of “death by a thousand cuts” being implemented 
by the police and courts, and monitored (or coordinated) by Federal 
authorities. We have seen this in the excessive arrests 
<http://occupyarrests.moonfruit.com/> over minor criminal charges that 
would make all but the supreme  dictators of the US blush.

The danger is that such charges, viewed narrowly, threaten to weaken our 
movements, exhaust our limited resources, isolate us politically and 
make us afraid to act. The sole intention of militarized house raids is 
clear: to terrorize and divide us from the broader public (and whoever 
the police and media declare to be the “good activists”).

The mainstream media has portrayed radicals, especially anarchists, as 
terrorists.  They are eager to condemn ‘violence’ committed against 
panes of glass, but cannot be bothered to condemn the racist Seattle 
Police Department terrorism against people of color in the community. 
The figurehead of the US government is literally a Peace-Prize winning 
mass murderer who casually drops bombs on children and conducts brutal 
occupations of third world nations.

*Join Us*
It is critical that we build broad support and defense for radicals 
facing political persecution.  Efforts are underway in Seattle 
<http://seattleantirepression.wordpress.com/>, Portland 
<http://nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com/> and elsewhere.  Link up 
and help organize actions in your city.

We have an opportunity to engage in strategic conversations about the 
current nature of repression: how do we understand it, learn from it and 
orient ourselves in a way that responds to it?

How can we build the broadest networks in the near term to win support 
and keep our people out of jail? How can we break through with exposure 
of the state’s attacks to the wider public?

What organizational forms are best suited for our present reality, while 
at the same time guarding against infiltration and provocation from 
agents of the state? There have been early discussions amongst various 
political tendencies that address 
the <http://redandblack.rocus.org/?p=72> question 
<http://www.redsprk.org/post/29675405551/species-of-revolt>. The ability 
of our movements to withstand repression is central to that conversation.

What approach will allow us to both defend our politics and militancy as 
well as win over allies and build movements that can win?

If we are going to win, we’ll win together.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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