Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Editorials, Featured, Repression, The State, US
On January 18, 2018, the US Attorney’s office dismissed charges against 129 of the remaining 188 #J20 defendants.
This was almost on the anniversary of MPD’s mass arrest of 230 people at the anticapitalist and antifascist march against Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017. Following the mass arrest, all defendants were indicted on a multitude of felony and misdemeanor charges.
Today, 59 people are still facing seven felony charges each, punishable by over 60 years in prison. While the government alleges that these people damaged property, planned the protests, or had knowledge of the black bloc tactic, we know that this case has always been about political repression and expanding the state’s ability to stifle resistance. The government is making a calculated choice to single out this group as they further their efforts to redefine basic political organizing as conspiracy and to set the terms of what is “acceptable” protest. Just as the anti-capitalist march was brutally attacked by police in the streets, the government is attacking dissent by leveraging the so-called “justice system” to break people’s spirits.
Charges dropped against all but 59 #J20 defendants – once again showing the state's infirm prosecution. But more support & solidarity needed for remaining defendants, who will face wrath of state with something to prove
— Natasha Lennard (@natashalennard) January 18, 2018
In December, we celebrated the full aquittal of the first six defendants. While we continue to celebrate with the dismissal of charges against these 129 defendants, we do so knowing that this was only made possible by the bravery and hard work of both resistors and supporters. We see the narrowing of the defendant pool for what it is: a scare tactic and a renewed effort to try to secure as many convictions as possible. As the government continues in its attempt to repress political activity through conspiracy and rioting charges, we will remain steadfast in our support of these 59 defendants.
The overwhelming majority of people arrested on January 20 immediately recognized this as a political prosecution from the start and quickly agreed to work together and coordinate our collective defense. It is this collective defense – along with the innumerable fundraisers, events, and work put in by supporters – that has gotten us this far. We will actively support each and every remaining defendant. The government will not break the solidarity among the remaining defendants in this case, nor will their repressive strategy stop resistance to fascism, capitalism, and the state. Every attempt to weaken us will only make us stronger. Our capacity to resist has only grown.
This has been a long and harrowing year for the 194 people who committed to taking their cases to trial and will continue to be for those still facing charges. As J20 defendants, we have been bolstered by a massive support base and our ability to fight our charges without having to sit in jail for this past year. We know that most people captured by the state are not this lucky. The legal system is designed to punish arrestees long before they can get to trial, whittling down their emotional and financial resources to impair resistance and coerce concessions. The legal system is a weapon used to repress anyone that challenges white supremacy, colonialism, and capitalism. This is the daily reality for black, brown, immigrant, indigenous and poor communites who challenge those systems both actively and by their very existence. We recognize the support of a social movement and the need for anti-prison efforts to reach every person facing charges and intimidation. The dismissal of charges for 129 defendants, and the prior acquittal of six others in December, shows both the power of solidarity in fighting against state repression and the privilege of media attention.
Over 30 cities across Turtle Island are participating in a week of solidarity with J20 arrestees. Thank you to everyone who has shown us support; whether you hosted or donated to a fundraiser, boosted our case on social media, dropped a banner or held a demo, came to court looking sharp as hell, or sent your friends sweet words of love and solidarity–it all keeps us going. We are all in this together. Keep showing up for the 59 remaining defendants and for all who resist the state.
Until everyone is free,
Defend J20 Resistance