Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Remaining RNC 8 Defendants Accept Plea Agreements for Gross Misdemeanors; No Jail Time

October 19th, 2010 rnc8.org/

October 19, 2010

Contact: Jude Ortiz (RNC 8 Defense Committee), 612.886.4565,

Case Resolves with Community Service Sentence but No Jail Time

St. Paul, Minn. — The remaining four RNC 8 defendants announced today that
they will accept plea agreements to resolve their over two-year legal and
political felony battle. Rob Czernik and Max Specktor plead to one count
each of gross misdemeanor conspiracy to riot. Garrett Fitzgerald and
Nathanael Secor plead to one count each of gross misdemeanor conspiracy to
destroy property.

The agreements specify that the defendants will complete 100 hours of
community service, will have probation for one to two years, and will be
fined $200 each. However, the plea agreements do not call for jail time or
restitution. Additionally, the defendants will not be required to testify
against anyone else in any other criminal case arising from their cases.

“This plea must be embarrassing for Susan Gaertner and Bob Fletcher. Their
case was so weak from the beginning that through political pressure, they
have been forced from pursuing felony terrorism charges into settling on a
plea with no jail time,” said Jaime Hokanson of the RNC 8 Defense
Committee. Hokanson expounded on the circumstances that led to the plea:
“The way the criminal justice system actually works is to wear down
defendants through grueling proceedings, not to honor the supposed right
to trial by jury in which guilt must be proven in open court. What the
state calls ‘justice’ is just more of the coercion and force that the
defendants and thousands of other people were organizing against in the
first place.”

The resolution of the case marks the end result of a wide-ranging campaign
to defend the RNC 8. Since September 2008, fundraisers and other events in
support of the defendants have been held in dozens of cities nationwide,
and as far away as Russia and New Zealand. In spite of efforts by the
state to vilify the defendants for their openly anarchist politics,
monetary donations to the RNC 8 Defense Committee surged. Thousands of
people signed a petition that was delivered to Ramsey County Attorney
Gaertner shortly before the original terrorism enhancement charges were
dropped in April 2009. Supporters continued to demand that all charges be
dropped and, as a result, defendants Monica Bicking, Luce Guillén-Givins
and Eryn Trimmer saw their charges dropped completely.

“We have long held that the charges against the RNC 8 were politically
motivated, as the defendants were openly organizing resistance to the
Republican National Convention as anarchists,” said Hokanson. “Police
intimidation, harassment and slander of activists in the lead up to the
RNC was part of a broader strategy of criminalizing political organizing,
and this view is now widely accepted in the Twin Cities. Many of us are
disappointed we will not have the chance to further expose the
criminalization of dissent at trial, but we are pleased the state did not
succeed in sending eight respected activists to prison.”

RNC 8 supporters had been planning an array of solidarity activities
during the expected trial, including a series of six joint fundraisers
with other social justice organizations (http://rnc8.org/events/). Those
events will go on as planned, demonstrating a continuing bond with Twin
Cities social justice causes. This solidarity has helped strengthen the
activist community against repression from the state, as evidenced in the
broad support of anti-war activists in the wake of FBI raids last month.

“Supporting the RNC 8 through their ordeal has made our community and our
movement stronger in many ways,” said Melissa Hill of the RNC 8 Defense
Committee. “The judicial system always exerts pressure on everyone, and
activists are not exceptional in this. Now our struggle against state
repression moves into a new phase. The continued FBI harassment of
activists in our community calls on us to stand together in solidarity to
fight back against attempts to destroy our movement. We will meet this

For more information, visit http://www.RNC8.org. Also follow us on
Twitter: @defendthernc8.


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Sentencing Statement from Max Specktor
by Webmaster ~ October 19th, 2010

The following statement was read by Max Specktor before his sentencing at
the plea hearing of October 19, 2010.

I accept total responsibility for my actions in this case, but this
conspiracy is only part of the story, so I would like to share some other
thoughts and plans of mine, to provide some context for these actions.

I refuse to participate in the spectacle of democracy; the idea that two
parties, or 3, or 100 parties, can represent all the opinions in this
country. Instead, I believe in self-determination and autonomy. In
practice, this means that I alone make decisions about things that only
affect me. And in a group setting, we make our decisions together.

I refuse to accept the logic that our world is for sale. I don’t believe
that everything can be bought and sold, or that appearing happy is more
important than true happiness. Instead, I choose a world that is free. In
practice, this means decentralizing the power and wealth that is so
concentrated in the hands of a few, and prioritizing real needs over
conspicuous consumption.

I refuse to sleepwalk through life. Instead, I’ve chosen to celebrate life
and fight to defend it. In practice, this means I am an active participant
in my community, and work to provide resources to assist in supporting
that community. In these hard times, I believe that communities need to
learn how to support themselves and I am committed to furthering that

I accept the fact that I have a lot of privilege in being able to explain
my motivations today. I also owe a lot to the hard work of others for
supporting me throughout this process. However, there are too many people
who do not share this privilege; they lack a proscribed channel for
articulating their demands. Instead, their desires and frustrations
explode out of them: in the streets, on their jobs, in their homes. My
only hope is that out of this chaos, we can maintain the wisdom and
foresight to build the world we wish to see. These are my motivations.

–Max Specktor

Filed under: From The RNC 8 | Comments Off
Nathanael Secor’s Sentencing Statement
by Webmaster ~ October 19th, 2010

The following statement was read by Nathanael Secor before his sentencing
at the plea hearing of October 19, 2010.

While this case has always been about the criminalization of dissent, it
would be disingenuous to characterize me as a victim of the state. I
openly admit before the court and everyone assembled that I conspired to
commit criminal damage to property. This decision was mine, and was not
swayed by the blockading strategy of the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group
of which I was part but which never advocated property destruction.

Others have been similarly charged in the resolution of their cases, but
there are many people and departments who will never be held accountable
for the actions they have actually carried out. The Ramsey County
Sheriff’s Office and other cooperating agencies broke down unlocked doors
and used violence and threats for the political purpose of repressing
activists and agitators working to expose the injustices of colonial wars
and environmental destruction. We are told this is called “keeping the
peace” and was done in the name of “justice,” yet when other people find
it necessary to go beyond the sanctioned means of protest, they are called
“terrorists”. And the stakes are high – at the RNC we saw hundreds of
protestors arrested and subsequent terrorism charges both used to justify
a $50 million security budget and an absurd degree of social control on
the part of the police.

The message is clear: there are those who make the decisions, those who
enforce the rules, and if you fail to acknowledge this or if you work to
change this inequitable distribution of power, there are consequences. And
while some of us are able to walk away from this situation relatively
unscathed, there are segments of the community and the world that the
state deems it acceptable to harass and intimidate on a daily basis, who
face severe consequences. For these people, survival is a political act
and breaking the rules means risking routine physical violence or death.
This is why struggling against this system of exploitation is so integral
– because many of us as people of relative privilege are uniquely
positioned to address the legacies of colonialism, hetero-patriarchy, and
classism that are the sources of so much violence.

We must seize every opportunity to abolish these institutions of
domination. We must be prepared to firmly face the politics of
business-as-usual. And we must continue to work for nothing less than full

–Nathanael Secor

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