Archive for freedom

Tortuga House Update: Pennsylvania Drops All Charges Against Madison & Wallschlager For Twittering

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2009 by Anarchy Library

g20-twitterist

In the face of a PR nightmare, Pennsylvania authorities have withdrawn all charges against two members of Tortuga accused of using Twitter to aid protesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. At a hearing today, instead of oral arguments regarding a defense motion to unseal the secret 18-page affidavit authorizing the arrests of Elliott Madison and Michael Wallschlager at a motel just outside of Pittsburgh, the prosecution immediately moved to withdraw all charges against the two before the defense had a chance to argue its case. Although clear from the beginning that these charges were absurd based on the State’s very own laws, our housemates were incarcerated for 36 hours, had their van towed and belongings confiscated, and one house member was given $30,000 in straight bail.

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Johannes Mehserle Arrested, Protests Continue

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2009 by Anarchy Library

The BART police officer filmed shooting Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day has reportedly been arrested. Update

A rally planned for Wednesday, January 14th from 4pm to 7pm in front of Oakland City Hall (Frank Ogawa Plaza) will proceed as planned, according to rally organizers. Christina Gomez from the Coalition Against Police Execution (CAPE) stated, “Tomorrow will definitely be a day for us to share this good news with folks. The job is not done. He has been arrested but he has not yet been prosecuted. We have to put pressure on DA Orloff… The fight is definitely not over.” More Details

There have been protests and meetings nearly every day since last Wednesday, when downtown Oakland erupted with social unrest, including one Monday night in San Francisco.

On Monday January 12th, BART police handed over evidence to Alameda County District Attorney (DA) Tom Orloff on the shooting. Johannes Mehserle has refused to say anything but police say they questioned the six other BART police officers who were on the scene. BART police also say they questioned 21 people who witnessed the shooting, but police decided to make no recommendation on whether charges should be filed in their hand-off to the DA.

Alameda DA Orloff had said he didn’t plan to charge Mehserle until the end of next week but it is now thought that he could respond sooner.

Indybay

An Anarchist Perspective on the “Violence” of the Oscar Grant Riots

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2009 by Anarchy Library

The news of the riots that followed the shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant has sensationally occupied the headlines of Bay Area newspapers and television programs over the last week. These reports have focused almost exclusively on the vandalism of local businesses and cars and have remained chillingly silent on the topic of the police violence that occurred that evening. The troubling assumption made throughout all of the reportage is that the destruction of storefront facades and car windows somehow equates to the horrific execution of Oscar, and that it justified the police violence against demonstrators that night.

As anarchists who were involved in the demonstrations, we fully reject the notion that the vandalizing of private property could ever be weighed against the violence committed against not only Oscar Grant, but against youth of color every day by police and the prison system. This way of thinking, that gives property more value than people, is what allows the violence of the police to become dangerously normalized and unquestioned.

At the time of this writing, the police officer that executed Oscar Grant in cold blood still walks the streets without criminal charges, while some of those arrested during the demonstration are locked away in prison awaiting trial and will likely face harsh sentences. The violent system that so quickly punishes those who demonstrated while simultaneously protecting the murderer of Oscar Grant should be the target of our collective criticism and condemnation, not the angry youth who reacted to the shooting in the streets that night. While Bay Area journalists have presented themselves as being objective reporters of the aforementioned events, their reports and broadcasts repeatedly reveal their bias in favor of the police when recounting the evening of the demonstrations. The endless images of smashed windows and burned cars, and the litany of condemnations of “lawlessness” and “destruction” serve to obscure the most violent events of the night, and indeed the only violence perpetrated against human beings: the brutal police beatings of protesters. One witness described a police officer beating a protester on the head so severely his bike helmet was split in two. Another described how police made over 70 protesters lie down on their stomachs in positions that eerily echoed Oscar Grant’s pose as he was shot. A visibly pregnant woman was screaming in pain after being attacked by police. It is clear to us that the police were protecting private property and not human beings that night. We are disgusted by this, and we condemn Bay Area journalists for being complicit with police violence by attempting to justify their actions.

A very distorted and troubling view of what constitutes violence in our society is perpetuated by the current coverage. A car does not scream in agony when it burns, and similarly a storefront facade does not sob when its plate glass window shatters to the sidewalk below. It is true that the cost of replacing cars and windows may be a burden for the working-class people who were affected, and that is certainly regrettable. However, there is simply no comparison between those costs and the brutal consequences of police violence. The youth who were brutalized by police the night of the demonstration will have to live with their injuries and traumas for years to come, and Oscar Grant cannot be replaced. We call on the public to recognize the real violence in our society – the violence of the police, the prisons and the politicians. As long as police and corrupt politicians protect the cop that killed Oscar, as long as youth of color are continuously attacked and criminalized by the police and court system, as long as property is valued over people – we will not grieve over the property vandalized on Wednesday night.

Signed,
Bay Area Anarchists

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Come Out: An anarchist protest of the Presidential Inauguration

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2009 by Anarchy Library
We are Ungovernable

We are Ungovernable

An anarchist protest of the Presidential Inauguration

The recent economic crisis has shown us what happens when a small group of wealthy individuals is able to make decisions with long-lasting consequences for the welfare of the American people. Bankers and investors single-mindedly pursued the accumulation of short-term profits, ignoring the devastating effects their behavior could have on the general economy. Now we are preparing to handover the country’s welfare to another small group of wealthy of individuals: the Obama administration. They have consistently and without reservations supported President Bush’s bailout project, and plan to fork over more public money to the same institutions that started the crisis in the first place.

These are bad decisions. They put the welfare of businesses above the welfare of the American people. Businesses do well by slashing wages and cutting jobs in an endless struggle to meet the bottom line, and in doing so screwing over the mass of workers who produce the majority of their wealth. And yet they are also the main provider of employment and healthcare in this country. It is therefore understandable why our government has seen the rejuvenation of the private sector as the key ingredient to improving the welfare of everyday Americans.

This is a protest in support of a different solution: anarchism.

Anarchism is a political movement made up of people obsessed with public accountability. Anarchists…

(1) … believe decisions concerning the production and distribution of goods and services should be made democratically. Our current system, capitalism, puts the majority of our country’s resources in the hands of a few wealthy individuals who have no vested interest in the well-being of the great majority of Americans. As we have seen with the economic crisis, eventually the whole nation suffers. Rather than strap businesses with taxes and regulations to limit their most grievous behavior, anarchists believe we should scrap capitalism altogether and substitute a set of democratic enterprises.

(2) … applaud what little accountability our government has and demand more. But when anarchists talk about democracy they are not referring to our current form of representative democracy, where the people elect officials to make public decisions for them. Anarchists stand for direct democracy, where public decisions are entrusted to the assembly of all individuals who chose to participate. And for anarchists, all decisions affecting the general populace are public.

The anarchist solution can be summarized in this way: let the people decide, and their interests will be guaranteed. Unlike our Founding Fathers, who in the words of James Madison, designed a government to protect “the minority of the opulent against the majority”, anarchists think the American people possess the ability to make sound decisions down to the very foundations of our society. If you believe that government “of the people, by the people, for the people” means more than a choice between two parties every four years, come out in support of real democracy.
We are holding a planning session for the protest on Saturday, January 3rd at 6 PM. Please come– we need your input!

Location

7310 Columbia Ave
Apt 3
College Park, MD 20740

By Metro

Take the Green Line to College Park Station. Make a right at the station exit and head through the tunnel. The building is on the first street parallel to the train line and is directly across from the station.

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