Monday, July 27, 2009

Olympia Anarchists Sentenced for May Day 2008 “Riot”

On Tuesday, July 21st, 4 local individuals were sentenced for smashing bank windows, “rioting”, and thwarting the arrests of others on May Day ’08 in Olympia. The court house in Olympia was packed with supporters. A ring of police stood between us and the judge, smirking and chatting with the prosecutor during recess.

The actual crime of this whole affair is the persistence of the state, its apologizers and witless functionaries, and the daily coercion which becomes concentrated against individuals who show resistance. This was displayed nakedly as the prosecutor and judge showed special enmity for our companero, Bryan, by ordering 120 days in jail because he held his head up during the proceedings intended for humiliation.

We know that jail time is one of the prods used by Authority to break a human being down into subservience. In this regard, we think Bryan may still be better off than others who received less time, because his spirit was never fooled that the same State which is purposefully attacked every May Day might spare anyone even a little breathing room from its wretched odor.

We are reminded of a comrade in Greece, Ilias Nikolau, accused of an explosion on the police in January, who sees clearly the stakes of his imprisonment. He writes, “To all those who think that they have overcome me, that they have overcome us…
For me and my comrades it works just the other way around! Because as long as there are prisoners of war, we will continue to struggle.”

We are sickened by Bryan’s lawyer, who thought his liberal grandiloquence would convince the liberal judge of anything but more of the same. Had he watched Stefanie’s defense (Stefanie abstained from groveling and was granted 30 days of electronic monitoring), at the very least we might have been saved 30 minutes incarceration by his painful sermon. The other sentences were 45 days for Randal, and 30 days for Shyam. References by almost every suit around the court indicated that the final absconded defendant, “the At-large Mr. Wilson”, was being vilified to the furthest extent. We all laughed at the twit piece-of-shit prosecutor describing black clothing as ‘combat attire’, but the judge threatened us to be silent because she wanted to give her dirty verdict and then disappear from any responsibility of her own. Some grumbles accompanied our departure and someone shouted to her before leaving that she embraced a vision of democratic self-deprecation. We feel that the Judge and Prosecutor attempt to inseminate their filthy Ideal of pacifist democracy and the sanctity of property.

All four have two weeks before beginning their sentences, as well as two years probation. The other two arrestees, Daniel B. and Forest, have already served 60 day sentences. Plank of America is requesting +$10K for its broken windows, and the judge will most likely comply with that bullshit, too, in the next month.

Do you think we ignore that in other countries your doppelgangers simply kill our comrades for their crimes? Do you think we forget all those who have been ‘suicided’ inside your wards? Why do you think that in Greece and Germany it is not so forgotten that the state prosecutors and prison directors were the target of attacks? It is because we understand this entire open-air prison to be a death threat. As the torment increases, we will continue fighting for our lives!

Scumbag mainstream article here:

leaflet on international imprisoned anarchists:

Do not pass go, Do not collect $200

On July 21, 2009, the events of May Day 2008 finally came to a close with the sentencing of four anarchists of the South Sound region. For over a year they have been legally bound to endure an array of court dates, legal costs, extradition waivers, etc. All this has stemmed from some debatable interactions with banks that have since then had a wide impact on the Olympia activist and broader communities.

May Day 2008 began at noon downtown in Sylvester Park with a large crowd listening to speakers who talked about issues ranging from establishing Olympia as a sanctuary city to the history of May Day. Because the rally was intentionally focused on immigrant solidarity, all the speeches were directly translated into Spanish. At the conclusion of the speeches the crowd led itself on a permitted march up Capital Blvd. to the Capital Campus. At the Capital more speeches followed as well as some disagreements over tactics. Next, the crowd continued the march to the City Hall and then downtown where a “break away” march occurred. The break away march consisted of people who were seemingly prepared to use a diversity of tactics. These tactics proved to include property destruction via rocks through the windows of banks. The cops reacted predictably as pigs and began assaulting and arresting people at random. Six people were arrested and taken away though many more were de-arrested.

In the weeks that followed police harassment against activists continued as well as a disturbing amount of in-fighting and finger pointing towards local anarchists. Claims went as far as to blame anarchists for the denial of the Sanctuary City proposal, demonstrating a lapse in memory regarding standard city council behavior. Whether or not all groups agreed the tactics were effective they did work to initiate a significant amount of dialogue around property destruction and what solidarity looks like.

Over the next year, despite state repression, anarchist activity continued undeterred. In addition to countless hours of day to day community organizing, the cops were attacked at their Westside station.

Mid afternoon on July 21, 2009, about 20 or so friends, family and comrades of the arrested converged at the Thurston County Courthouse to witness the conclusion of the court proceedings. While the defendants and their supporters waited for the proceedings to begin, a badge wearing buffoon tried to quiet the crowd but was met instead by jeers and laughter. The atmosphere amongst the visitors remained supportive and there was an understanding that this particular charade of justice was soon coming to a close.

Inside the courtroom at last, the authorities displayed a typical detachment with reality. There was an excessive amount of sheriffs supposedly meant to deal with the anarchist crowd control. The prosecutor Bruno, a parody of JP Moneybags, consistently talked in language equating anarchists to criminal combatants. The Judge could hardly suppress her disdain for the accused with body language that all but gave away her bias. In the end after final statements were given, a last ditch effort to demonize the defendants was provoked when Prosecutor Moneybags submitted a photo of an unidentified person in black clad clothes. Meanwhile, the defendants and their supporters braved the drudgery with jokes, small talk and hugs.

The co-defendants received from 10 to 120 days in jail, although they will avoid hard time because Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch authorized the use of work release or home detention with electronic monitoring. They must report by Aug. 4. Hirsch also ordered the co-defendants to each serve 240 hours of community service.

Not all defendants interacted with the judge in a similar fashion when given space to present a statement. Responses ranged from so-called “groveling” or using an apologetic response and conceding to making a mistake to a “defiant” non-response. It should be understood that whichever approach is taken, the bottom line is the state is illegitimate and we should not expect nor desire them to be moved by our behavior in court. More importantly, within our anarchist communities we should respect our own capacities to navigate the legal system in whichever way we see fit. Ever heard of self-determination? We would do well to balance a level of being self-critical with a space for support and compassion. There is no interest in being part of replicating the same characteristics of culture thriving on bickering and miscommunication.

If there is anything to be remembered from such a day in court, it is that amidst the fallacy we remained in solidarity with each other and were able to offer and provide comfort to our compañeros during a time of misfortune. We do this because we love each other, what we stand for, and how we are creating a world where days in court are a boring memory.

Anarchist activity looks like many different things for all anarchists. We are deeply involved in building communities based on mutual aid, voluntary cooperation and happiness inside a world programmed not to understand such concepts. While our daily affairs may lead us into conflict with cops and other authorities, anarchy is much more than the reliable opposition to banks, schools and prisons. We must consider moving beyond defining anarchist activities solely as confrontation with figments of the state. We do not advocate a cease of direct action but rather an applause of the all the dreams that we can realize.

On August 4th the defendants are ordered to comply with their respective sentences as given by Judge Hirsch. As documented in the court proceedings all four defendants have been and will continue to be involved in important work within their communities. Luckily, the court has no idea about what community work actually means and how subversive it is to their positions of authority. These punishments should not be seen as setbacks but rather as court-appointed hindrances that we will creatively endure together. We would like thank our friends who will now have the opportunity to reflect not on mistakes but on the learning process of being an anarchist with a monitoring chain on their ankle.

PS – on May 1st 1886 the struggle for the 8 hour work day culminated with the arrest and eventual execution of four anarchists (Albert Parsons, George Engel, August Spies and Adolph Fischer). May Day has deep ties with the anarchist tradition. In the Olympia community we would like to recognize this tradition and not repeat the history of state repression of anarchists by continuing to put anarchy on trial.

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