On Friday afternoon, an array of approximately 100 supporters attended a pretrial motions hearing for the ACAC19. The ACAC19 is a group of nineteen political dissidents arrested in San Francisco on Columbus Day while demonstrating in solidarity with indigenous, global and local struggles against imperialism.
The crowd trickled in from around the Bay, gathering on the steps of the San Francisco Superior Courthouse, sharing pizza, conversation and a supporter’s impromptu puppet show. “All Cops Are Columbus,” read a sign taped near the steps until a cop tore it down. A big banner stretched across the face of the building declared “No Justice Here! Against All Repression.” Ali Winston, who often whistle-blows on corruption in Bay Area police departments, was the only journalist present.
A long line of supporters and defendants slowly filed through the metal detectors. The officers turned off the second metal detector, making the line move so slowly that the hearing was over before many people, and even some defendants, were through the line. Later, in the courtroom, the supporters, defendants and nineteen defense lawyers sat across from Judge Harold Kahn. The Judge extended the motion-filing deadline, which is now March 14. The final pretrial motions hearing will be scheduled for a full day on March 29. The defense will be filing a pitchess motion, a motion to expose involved officers’ records of abuse. There will also be a motion to quash search warrants placed on defendants’ phones. “Wait,” Judge Kahn implored during the hearing: “Why would you need a search warrant for a case like this?”
“Good question,” everyone in the courtroom shrugged.
In addition to sustaining comrades as individuals and defending the community as a whole, acts of solidarity–such as showing up at comrades’ court dates– force the repressive apparatus to rethink how and why it attacks us in the streets. Our solidarity is not just a form of defense, but a weapon against state repression.
Come support the ACAC 19 on March 29 and regularly check the ACAC19 Support Commitee website for updates. If you can’t physically attend, call the SF District Attorney and demand all charges be dropped against the comrades.
Considering that recently, over half a dozen people in the Pacific Northwest have received Grand Jury subpoenas in the last few months, houses connected to OWS organizers have been raided, and many of our comrades down here are facing very serious charges, folks put together a Grand Jury panel/discussion that focused on how we (the collective Left in the Bay Area) can protect ourselves and each other in the case of heightened repression.
This was a full day event with short presentations from folks with Grand Jury experience–Kristian Williams (author of Our Enemies in Blue), Richard Brown from the SF8, and others.
This event was one of many steps to collectively hammer out out how we are going to support each other as we fearlessly move forward in the struggle.
(photos by Emily Loftis)
Please do not post photos of panelists to other
sites without receiving their expressed consent.
On October 6th SFPD attacked and provoked an anti-Columbus day march that gathered to give remembrance to the genocide and colonialism wrought upon the native peoples of the Americas. SFPD targeted marchers because of their political message, and attacked and arrested twenty anti-colonial activists after a hasty and confusing dispersal order. These police tactics clearly illustrate that the state does what it wants, when it wants, in order to protect its hegemony and stolen property. The SF District Attorney then charged these activists and organizers with outrageous and erroneous accusations that reflect the state’s goal to eliminate and neutralize dissent from those who challenge its own legitimacy. To further punish these courageous people, the state beat the arrestees and tortured them with sleep deprivation, taunted them and withheld food and water at the SF county jail, and set a very high bail. The state clearly does not care to observe its own specious claims of freedom of speech, which supposedly sets it apart from a fascist regime. Instead it is using every means it can to sew fear to discourage further resistance.
In addition, the SFPD worked with the mainstream media to paint these activists as violent and incorrigible. The media effectively convicted these activists of fabricated charges before they were tried in the farcical justice system, easily tainting the jury pool. All of this is to be expected, since the SF Chronicle has always done the work of the SFPD and the DA, even when time and again revolutionaries have fought hard in the courts and proven that the police were the true malfeasants.
It is in this vein that the radical communities of the Bay Area should continue to organize. We must use this opportunity to show that the courts and police are full of lies and that this is about politics, not “violent” acts. The police and DA will try to associate these activists with other past actions because they know that lying and instilling fear in the jury and the public is the only way they can win. These charges are overblown even by their standards, and they have nothing to stand on unless we remain quiet and disorganized. We should build a campaign, not only to drop the charges, but to challenge the ongoing state persecution and incarceration of political dissidents, as well as continue the struggle against the prevailing colonial order of power that brought our comrades to the street on October 6th.
In the spirit of indigenous resistance and struggles for autonomy everywhere…
Beyond the Barricades
Please contribute to general bail funds for all those arrested here, Seattle folks who were arrested here, and our close comrades here. Please note that the Occupy Oakland WePay shows the total raised overall since the page began and does not reflect what is left in the account after months of state repression.