Friday, February 23, 2007
Thursday, February 15th was just like any other morning for me. I woke up at six, went down to breakfast and ate with my friends. I came back to my cell and turned on the morning news. My cellie went back to sleep, covering his eyes from the light of the TV as I made a cup of coffee.
I had just started paying attention when the ticker at the bottom of the screen read, “The man who set fire to three SUVs as an environmental protest, will serve a shorter sentence than originally planned.”
“That’s me,” was my first thought. My second (and much louder) thought was, “I won my appeal,” I exclaimed, disturbing my cellie and waking our neighbors.
My cellie looked to the TV as the screen continued, “The Court of Appeals has ruled that Jeffrey Luers was improperly sentenced.”
“That’s you!” my cellie exclaimed, echoing my first thought and waking up more neighbors. My cellie got out of bed as the ticker informed us “Luers will be sent back to Lane County for re-sentencing.”
The neighbors started asking us to keep it down. My cellie turned to the bars and shouted, “My cellie just won his appeal.” And in a show of cheer one can only find in prison, the morning silence was forsaken as everyone started congratulating me.
I have spoken with my attorney and there are still many battles ahead. Hard choices will have to be made. I am by no means close to walking out of prison, just one step closer. This is a victory, and while my own personal struggle is making headway others are just beginning.
On January 23 eight former Black Panthers (Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones, Richard O’Neal, Harold Taylor, Francisco Torres, and Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim – both of whom have been political prisoners since 1978) were arrested and charged with the 1971 killing of a police officer. Taylor and Bowman were first charged in 1975. However, a judge threw the case out after ruling that the men had been physically tortured and coerced into giving confessions.
These men are not the only victims of an ongoing political witch-hunt being conducted by the Bush Administration. The SHAC 7 are serving time for maintaining a website. Rod Coronado is awaiting trial for publicly discussing his role in an Animal Liberation Front campaign that he served time for in the 90s.
Bush has recently, and very quietly, passed laws bringing the National Guard under federal, instead of state, authority. He has enacted laws that make it permissible to open the mail of US citizens without a warrant. Laws are being passed nearly everyday eroding civil rights and granting extraordinary police powers. The Bush Administration rules by creating fear and then uses that fear to justify increased executive power and excuse human rights violations and war crimes.
While Democrats discuss “non-binding” resolutions on the Iraq war, innocent Iraqis and US soldiers are dying. Dying for what? Another imperialist war for oil!
Bush claims we are fighting to protect our freedom. He must not be referring to the civil rights he has taken. Rather, he must mean the freedom to be the world’s largest contributor to climate change; the right to be the greediest nation in the world, consuming more of the world’s resources than any other nation in history.
And now that human-caused global warming is acknowledged as a real threat, what is being done? More debates and the same lack of action.
The American public has placed their faith in a Democratic controlled congress and senate. Indeed, the Democrats may offer some solutions, but they will never create social change. That task has historically fallen to the people.
Generations of activists and revolutionaries have fought against corrupt powers to create social change. Several generations of political prisoners are still behind bars, and still the silent war wages on. While each generation and each individual have faced their own struggles, making sacrifices for their cause, each of us shares a dream. We all believed and continue to believe that a better world is possible: One with justice, equality, and freedom for all.
We believe strong enough that we have staked our lives and our freedoms on it. Because we know that only action creates change.
Every generation of warriors have stood and fought for something better. Every generation of warriors has asked you – the people – to stand by them, in solidarity. They have asked for your support and action in creating change.
I am not saying or asking anything new. Indeed, much greater people than I have asked the same thing of their generation in the name of the struggle. So what makes me think this time is different?
Nothing. I’m just hoping that this time you will do more than listen and nod your head in agreement. I’m praying that this time you will take it upon yourself to get involved; to get your family, friends, and neighbors involved. I’m asking you to believe that change is possible and that united we can create it.
This June, show your solidarity with me, and all those who have struggled, past and present, to make this world a better place. Struggle with us. Hold demonstrations or gatherings at federal buildings or US embassies and demand change. It doesn’t matter what cause or issue you fight for - we are all connected. What does matter is that we stand united and make our voices heard.
- Jeff “Free” Luers
Write to: Jeffrey Luers
Oregon State Prison
2605 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97310