From Pittsburgh to DC: Drop the Charges!
Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Editorials, Repression
Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Editorials, Repression
Today in Pittsburgh, the 11 comrades arrested for allegedly demonstrating in solidarity with striking inmates at the Allegheny County Jail are scheduled to waste a perfectly good Friday in court. We dropped this banner in hopes that a few of yinz might see it on your way downtown. We sincerely love you, even if we don’t know you. Stay strong! The bastards aren’t invincible, no matter how many cops they can get to lie under oath. Who knows, maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of justice, like the one we celebrated just last week when former ACJ inmate Andre Jacobs won an abuse settlement against the jail for nearly $300,000. Fire the warden, fire to the prisons!
Today, Dane Powell is far from his home in Florida. As preliminary hearings take place here in Pittsburgh, Dane will be in another courtroom in Washington DC, receiving his sentence after having plead down to felony riot and felony assault on a police officer. Dane faced the choice between a plea deal and the possibility of never seeing his kids again. On January 20th, 2017 – Day One of the Trump Regime – Dane (allegedly) joined one of the largest black blocs in US history to directly confront the hetero-patriarchal, white supremacist, capitalist Empire on its home turf. He is one of over 200 comrades charged with multiple felonies for (allegedly) choosing to fight that day. While it may be too late to drop the charges, this banner is also for him. “We love you, stay strong, the revolution lives on!”
Solidarity with the rebel inmates at ACJ and everyone arrested at L&12 on J20.
In the video below, you can see Dane carry a child through the crowd in search of a street medic after police indiscriminately attacked with chemical weapons. Other black bloc comrades can also be seen defending and shielding protestors from police violence. Click HERE to watch a mini-documentary / video montage that includes footage from both the ACJ noise demonstration and the J20 riots.
These judicial proceedings are an expression of the war that the authorities are waging on the bond between thought and action, which is the foundation of anarchism’s dangerousness. […] active solidarity is a fundamental element of our anarchist acting and relations of complicity aimed at the destruction of dominion. This form of solidarity goes beyond repression’s attacks, and is capable of not letting itself be suffocated by the specificity of the trajectories of struggle when we recognize ourselves in a common tension of attack. In particular, active solidarity is an essential instrument to respond to state violence and not take its blows passively but maintain a stance of attack, so as not to develop attitudes of victimization, which is what repression wants. Thinking in terms of offensive, of permanent and internationalist conflictuality beyond each one’s path, the risk of isolation can be reduced and one of the enemy’s most important goals can be made ineffective.
The insurrectionist’s response to state repression is to release the tension you feel, to find the frontline that weighs heaviest on your mind and attack. The frontlines are all around us: from the fucked up shit that the system pulls on us, to the fucked up shit that we pull on each other. Find a reason to get out of bed that offers something more than the day’s routine of work, school, court, addiction, or whatever other obligations we millennials face. Participation trophies all around.
We are calling for a Week of Solidarity with the J20 defendants from July 20 to 27, 2017. July 20 marks six months from the initial actions and arrests during Donald Trump’s inauguration, and on July 27, a motion to dismiss the charges will be argued in court. The case has finally begun to receive the media attention it warrants; with this court date approaching and the cases underway, this is a crucial time for a second Week of Solidarity.
On January 20, 2017, thousands of people came to Washington, DC to protest the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. In the early morning, blockades shut down security checkpoints and discouraged people from attending the inauguration itself, while impromptu marches and direct actions occurred throughout the day. There was a spirit of defiance in the air.
Iconic images circulated almost immediately, from the punching of white supremacist Richard Spencer to pictures of a limousine on fire. These were only the most spectacular images, however, of a day that was characterized by generalized disruption.
Midmorning, an “anticapitalist and antifascist” march of several hundred people made clear its opposition not just to Trump but also the system that made Trump possible. Led by banners reading “MAKE RACISTS AFRAID AGAIN” and “TOTAL LIBERATION FROM DOMINATION,” the disruptive march took the streets of DC to the sound of fireworks and anticapitalist chants. After about half an hour, the march was brutally attacked by police, who used chemical and crowd control weapons along with physical force, then boxed in (“kettled”) and mass-arrested people. Everyone on an entire city block was arrested and given the same charge of felony rioting. Approximately 214 arrestees now face a total of eight felony charges, including conspiracy and destruction of property. All of the J20 defendants are now facing up to 75 years in prison.
A great deal has happened in the six months since the inauguration. Confrontational protests have taken place across the continent, challenging the political landscape shaped by Trump’s election. Participants have stood up to emboldened white supremacists, disrupted airports in the face of anti-Muslim bans, blockaded proposed pipeline routes, set up sanctuary spaces and rapid response networks against ICE deportations, and much more. In turn, states are passing legislation aimed at further criminalizing protest and limiting resistance.
The J20 case fits into this wave of repression. The police seized and hacked phones in an attempt to strengthen the government’s case, and subpoenaed social media accounts. They raided an organizer’s home in DC. Arrestees had their personal information leaked online. The prosecution filed additional charges, essentially accusing the entire group of breaking the same handful of windows. All this has disrupted the lives of the defendants in the J20 case, who have lost jobs, incurred legal expenses, and been forced to make repeated trips to DC. The majority of cases are now headed to trial, with a handful of trials set for November and December 2017 and the rest scattered throughout 2018. Despite the fact that the state forced a large number of strangers into this situation at random, the majority of defendants are working together, responding to the charges in a collective way.
In order to continue to build our capacity to counter state repression and strengthen our interconnected struggles, we are calling for a Week of Solidarity from July 20 to 27, 2017, to make support for the J20 defendants widely visible. July 20 marks six months since the initial actions and arrests; on July 27, a motion to dismiss the charges will be argued in court.
Filler is a radical zine & distro affiliated with Pittsburgh’s autonomous student network.