[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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
It is critical that we build broad support and defense for radicals
facing political persecution. Efforts are underway in Seattle
<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
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