An international call has been put out to organize a Week of Solidarity with J20 Defendants. July 20th marks six months from the initial arrests during Donald Trump’s inauguration. In that time, what began with the mass arrest of over two hundred people and a single count of felony rioting (which is extreme in its own right) has developed into a massive federal case of state repression. A superseding indictment returned by a grand jury on April 27th filed eight felony charges against every defendant in the case: conspiracy to riot, riot, incitement to riot, and five counts of property destruction. The total maximum sentencing for all eight charges amounts to over 75 years in federal prison. This is an effort by the prosecution to coerce as many pleas as possible from co-defendants. Despite this, nearly two hundred defendants in the case have secured trial dates over the course of three status hearings this past June, and are committed to fighting these charges in court.
Here in North Carolina, our Week of Solidarity will be a platform to launch #DropJ20, a campaign targeted at US Attorney Channing Phillips to have the charges dropped. Our intention is to generate as much visibility around the case as possible, and to apply pressure on those with the power to end this political persecution!
To that end, we’ve planned several reproducible actions that can be organized in similar regions with a high density of supporters who want to get active in the case. We hope that as many defense committees and regional support crews as possible recreate this platform for their own cities, and modify them as necessary. Drop the charges against Inauguration Day protestors! This kettle will not settle
Thursday, July 20th – Coordinated Day of Beautification Actions: To kick-start the Week of Solidarity, we’re asking that as many organizations, affinity-groups and individual comrades as possible plan and coordinate a beautification action that calls attention to the J20 mass arrest, the political nature of the charges, and the #DropJ20 campaign. These can include wheat–pastings, banner-drops, projections, etc. While we hope that actions like these take place throughout the entire week of solidarity, by coordinating these autonomous actions to take place on the same day their effectiveness and visibility can be maximized. You can find a collection of flyers here.
Thursday, July 20th – Anarchists on the Silver Screen @ Firestorm Books & Coffee (610 Haywood Rd • Asheville, NC 28806): A movie marathon to kick off the week of solidarity with J20 defendants. We will be showing two short films and a fun full length movie – featuring the latest Trouble episode, the debut of Channel (A) – Episode 2, & What To Do In Case of Fire. It’ll be a time folx! Bring donations for defendants, your friends, and cozy pillows for an evening of riotous laughter and cinematographic subversion.
Friday, July 21nd – Letter-Writing/Call-In Party @ Northgate Park (300 West Club Blvd • Durham, NC 27704): To increase the public pressure to drop the charges, we’re organizing a letter-writing/call-in party at 6:00PM. We’ll be enjoying BBQ and writing letters to US Attorney Channing Phillips to demand that they drop the charges. We’ll also be calling in to Rochelle Howard at the Office of Police Complaints, which has funded an investigation into the misconduct and brutality of the MPD on Inauguration Day. The investigation is being delayed until October, 2017, one month before the earliest trial dates are set. This investigation has to happen now! With enough political pressure, we can make both of these goals happen!
Saturday, July 22nd – Benefit Show @ the Back House (Riverview & Clifton • Asheville, NC): A benefit house show is being held at the Back House at 6PM as a fundraiser for the NC J20 Defense Fund! Mutual Jerk, Poor Excuse and Clyde Conwell will be performing, along with a secret special guest! The night will also be a bakesale and BBQ, and folks are asked to bring $5-10 for donations!
Sunday, July 23rd – J20 Defendants Support Group: One large part of this process is dealing with the trauma, namely large amounts of stress and anxiety that comes with it. We want to support each other through this and find ways to make this journey more tolerable for all of us. To increase our resiliency against repression, we’re organizing a defendant-led support group in the park (no snitch-phones allowed!) to share our experiences with each other in a judgement-free space.
Tuesday, July 25th – Benefit Show @ the Nightlight (405 1/2 W Rosemary St • Chapel Hill, NC 27516): The Nightlight presents Institute, a punk show benefit for J20 defendants! Headlining the night will be Drugcharge and Decoy, and doors open at 9PM! All money raised at this event will also be going to the NC J20 Defense Fund, and they’re also asking that folks bring $5-10 to donate as cover for the show.
Wednesday, July 26th – Resisting State Repression, A Press Conference @ Durham Central Park (501 Foster St • Durham, NC 27701): To round out the week, we’ll be holding a press conference as the Durham Central Park at 12:00PM, open to the press and to the entire community of Durham. The conference will present background and updates of the case and its development up to this point, an overview of how this case fits into a larger national tapestry of state repression and violence, and the unveiling of our #DropJ20 campaign.