[Pnews] Response to "Is Freeing Minks terrorism?" - Support Political Prisoners and the Right to Resist Oppression!

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jul 31 14:28:50 EDT 2014

In a recent Truth-Out article "Is Freeing Minks Terrorism? Questions we 
should be Asking Ourselves," Lauren Gazzola writes about the Animal 
Enterprise Terrorism Act ("AETA") and the case of Tyler Lang and Ken 
Olliff. All progressive people should oppose AETA. The efforts of the 
federal government to categorize the freeing of minks is appalling and 
should similarly be opposed.

One particular paragraph in Lauren's article was particularly troubling 
to me, however, and I thought it warranted speaking out about. The 
paragraph reads:

"A society's strongest condemnation tends to be deployed not solely 
against those who commit the most heinous acts, but also against those 
who most forcefully oppose social norms. Sometimes - say, in the case of 
murder - the worst acts and our social values coincide. But when the 
state's most powerful condemnation in the form of criminal law is 
brought to bear against those with unpopular political views, we should 
not only consider the excessiveness of the punishment, but also stop to 
examine those views themselves."

In Lauren's view, it would appear, it is okay for the state's strongest 
and most powerful condemnation (and the punishment that would go along 
with it) to be directed against those who commit the "most heinous acts."

There are in the United States, dozens of political prisoners, locked 
up, some for over 40 years, for committing what are categorized as the 
"most heinous acts" that Lauren's argument condemns. They include 
Leonard Peltier, Sundiata Acoli, Oscar Lopez, Robert Seth Hayes, David 
Gilbert and countless others.

Sundiata Acoli (Clark Squire), over 77 years old, has been in prison for 
over 41 years, arrested and convicted for the same incident on the New 
Jersey Turnpike as Assata Shakur. Sundiata was a long time civil rights 
and Black liberation activist who had earlier had 2 years of his life 
stolen from him when he was jailed in the COINTELPRO prosecution of the 
New York Black Panther 21 case.

Abdullah Majid (Anthony LaBorde) is a former BPP community activist and 
legal worker at Bronx Legal Services. He has been imprisoned for almost 
35 years, convicted after 3 trials for killing a NYC police officer 
where the prosecution systematically excluded African-American people 
from the jury.

Of these and other political prisoners now sitting in America's prisons, 
all have been locked up too long and should be freed. Some were outright 

Some made political (or self-defense choices) responding to the war that 
this country waged against the Black liberation and other 
radical/liberation movements.

In that war, it has only been the oppressed who have been punished. No 
government official or law enforcement official has ever been criminally 
punished for that war. No one ever served time for the murders of Fred 
Hampton or the dozens of BPP members and others who were murdered or 
driven into exile or driven crazy by COINTELPRO and its related programs.

By all means, let's have an open and honest discussion about that 
history and what happened. About what kind of movements for social and 
political change we want to build. We should support Tyler and Kevin 
and, yes, we should oppose the AETA. But, no Lauren, our state's "most 
powerful condemnation" has not been directed against those who oppose 
the AETA and who are animal rights activists.

And while society may agree that murder is heinous, let's not accept 
that all killings are the same: let's not conflate police shooting an 
unarmed youth with an act of resistance to oppression, or an act of 
self-defense against those same police.

Let's not build support for the struggle against AETA at the expense of 
those who have been sitting in prison for lifetimes.

Susan Tipograph is a criminal defense lawyer in NYC.

Original Article is here:

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