Ten Lessons from the Criminalization of Dissent

By , October 15, 2010 10:20 am

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In the aftermath of the 2000 Republican National Convention, I was charged with multiple felonies and accused of assaulting several police officers, including then Philadelphia Police Chief John Timoney. I approached my case with the attitude that the only way to stop the attempts to criminalize me – and dissent in general – was to organize more effectively than the forces of the state that wanted to shove me into prison. Largely due to successful organizing strategies and community solidarity, I was acquitted after three-and-a-half years. Today, we face similar challenges and must adopt similar strategies in fighting those who wish to put our comrades behind bars and criminalize our visions.

Right now, the state is sending a message to radical environmentalists [as well as radicals and anarchists in general - MW] around the country. It is using its power in an attempt to dismantle our networks and neutralize our militancy. How will we use our power and resources to oppose this force? How are we going to frame our message? What alliances will we build to support our imprisoned comrades?

We can’t let intimidation and fear outweigh our commitment to solidarity. We need to challenge the armchair “radicals” who rationalize the conviction of our comrades as an inevitable result of state repression. Our success in achieving social and environmental victories – in this situation and all others – depends upon the ability of passionate activists to gain the support of ordinary people.

via Ten Lessons from the Criminalization of Dissent | People Of Color Organize!.

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