January 2, 2013
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In Love and Solidarity – Support Luke O’Donovan

Luke is the fucking greatest

 

It has been reported in the press that Luke O’Donovan, 19, went on a “stabbing rampage” at a New Year’s Eve party in Reynoldstown, a neighborhood in Atlanta, GA. This is not accurate. The events that occurred were the result of Luke O’Donovan desperately defending himself against a clear act of queer-bashing that included Luke being stabbed in the back.

Some facts of the situation remain unclear, but the events that have been reported thus far are inaccurate. Narratives have described Luke O’Donovan, 19, as having returned to a house party that he had been kicked out of. The reports state that Luke returned with a knife and stabbed one person, and then 4 others who attempted to subdue Luke.

As multiple witnesses have testified and will testify, Luke was never kicked out of the party and did not leave. He remained at the house where the party was occurring up until the incident. This basic fact, and the fact that it has been misrepresented, changes the story as it has been reported thus far. Luke is being portrayed as having gone on a nearly unfounded “stabbing rampage” comparable to recent mass killings. This is false. Luke did not go to the party intending to initiate conflict with anyone. Just fifteen minutes before the fight, Luke was present in the living room of the house, having a pleasant and friendly conversation with other people at the party.

Although the exact sequence of events is unknown at this point, it is clear that Luke was attacked by several people at one time and retaliated in self-defense in an attempt to escape the attack. Several witnesses have reported watching between 5 and 12 men mobbing up on Luke and stomping on his head and body with the intent to kill him. The people who were stabbed during the conflict were not attempting to end the fight with Luke. The altercation was never limited to Luke and one other person, but involved several people mobbing up on him.

The motivations of the attack on Luke seem to originate in the fact that he had been seen dancing with and kissing other men earlier at the party. Luke was repeatedly insulted with homophobic slurs throughout the night. The men who attacked Luke are known to have exhibited homophobic language and behavior in the past. Luke was called a faggot during the fight. This provides clear evidence that the attack on Luke was in some way motivated by homophobia and perpetrated by multiple men while Luke was alone.

Luke is currently the only person involved in the fight who is in jail. We do not support the prison industrial complex, talking to the police, or snitching. We do not believe that the other side of the fight should be imprisoned, but rather that the incident should be resolved outside of the institutions of the State.

For letters of support and books for Luke, his address is
Luke Patrick O’Donovan
#1300031
901 Rice Street
Atlanta, GA 30318-4938
2S401

For Luke’s book wish list,
http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/registry.html?ie=UTF8&id=YD6DN5G4TKFD&type=wishlist

For donations,
https://www.wepay.com/x1kva71/donations/luke-o-donovan-support-fund – UPDATED!!!

To contact Luke’s support team,
letlukego@gmail.com or http://letlukego.com/

*** UPDATE ***

Those working closest with Luke have since released another statement following some concerns brought up in regards to this one. Please read this statement clarifying their position and intentions.

January 1, 2013
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RAGE AGAINST DISILLUSION – Fundraiser for the Atlanta Social Center

January 18th – 8pm

89 Wyman Street SE

Suggested Donation: $5 or whatever you want to donate

Another inauguration is around the corner but we know things won’t change. Four more years of the same thing. Shit’s fucked up… so let’s dance!!!

Dancing, Games and More

***ALL PROCEEDS GO TO THE ATL SOCIAL CENTER***

khallleesi
witch house/newbreed
https://soundcloud.com/khallleesi

Swampsifter
moody synth slow jams
http://soundcloud.com/swampsifter

Flex Your Head
hardcore punk
http://flexyourheadhc.wordpress.com/

Games, Drinks, and More

December 21, 2012
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Xmas in Prison

From The Stranger

The visiting room of the SeaTac Federal Detention Center is bleak. Prison is supposed to be bleak, but it’s difficult to appreciate how bleak it is until you’ve walked inside—past the grim security checkpoint, the sallow-faced chaplain with the giant keys hanging from his pants, the many heavy doors that slam shut behind you like a metal thunderclap, the off-white walls and institutional lighting that seem to suck the color out of everyone’s hair and clothes, the frosted-over windows to block any view of the outside world, and into the visiting room with its plastic chairs arranged in sets of four with a guard sitting in a high booth, presiding over the room like a bored judge.

And the waiting. Lots and lots of waiting.

The large visiting room, with many doors leading off to other places, also serves as a transit point in the prison. Men (and the occasional woman) wearing prison khakis sit, staring into the middle distance with flat expressions, waiting until a guard, sometimes wearing latex gloves, opens a door and barks out names. Then the inmates get up, sometimes eagerly and sometimes hesitantly, and walk into some other chamber of the federal fortress.

Amid all the bleakness, inmate Katherine Olejnik seems surprisingly smiley and optimistic. She is one of two inmates I’ve come to visit—the other is Matt Duran—who have been sitting in this prison for around three months. (Duran a few days more than that, Olejnik a few days less.)

They haven’t been accused of a crime. They haven’t even been arrested for a crime. They’re here because they refused to answer questions for a federal prosecutor, in front of a grand jury, about people they may (or may not) know: who those people are, who those people hang out with, and what political opinions those people hold.

Supposedly, that federal prosecutor is interested in the smashup in Seattle on May Day and finding the demonstrators who broke the windows of a federal courthouse. But Olejnik says the prosecutor only asked her four questions about May Day, which she answered truthfully: Was she in Seattle on May Day? (No.) Where was she? (Working at her waitress/bartending job in Olympia.) Had she been in Seattle a week before or a week after May Day? (No.) Had anybody talked to her about May Day? (No. In fact, she says she learned most of what she knows about the smashup while she was in court.)

That was all he asked about the May Day vandalism.

Then, she says, the prosecutor began rattling off names and showing photographs of people, asking about their social contacts and political opinions. Olejnik guesses he asked “at least 50 questions” in that vein, compared to the four about May Day. That’s when she shut down, refused to answer, was found in contempt of court, and was sent to SeaTac FDC.

She doesn’t regret it. “I truly believe that people have the right to believe whatever they want politically,” Olejnik says, sitting in a chair beside me in her prison khakis. “And it’s none of the government’s business.”

As far as she can tell, she’s not in prison because she couldn’t help with a vandalism investigation. She’s there because she refused, on principle, to help the federal government draw a social map of radicals and leftists in the Northwest.

Grand juries are secret—prosecutors are the only attorneys allowed in the room—but people who’ve been subpoenaed to appear before them are allowed to talk afterward about what happened. The two attorneys for Olejnik and Duran, who sit with us during the interviews in the SeaTac FDC, vaguely say the versions of events described by their clients are consistent with what they read in the transcripts. The US Attorney’s Office has repeatedly said it cannot comment on anything related to a grand jury, because grand juries are secret. So we have to rely on Duran and Olejnik and their attorneys’ vague corroboration.

I have to interview Duran separately, because the guards don’t want him and Olejnik—close friends and roommates at the time they got the subpoenas—to see each other. (They say they passed each other once in the visiting area and waved at each other, and the guards grumbled about that.) How, I ask Duran, would you explain why you’re here to people on the outside?

“Not everyone will understand,” Duran says in a soft voice. “You have to be in a different state of mind to be willing to go to jail to protect someone you basically have no knowledge of.” He talks about his years as a young student in the Army ROTC, when veterans would come and talk about serving their country because they felt a sense of duty. Not answering questions about other people, he says, “is the duty I can perform.”

Duran, like Olejnik, believes that when the FBI comes knocking, handing out subpoenas, legally compelling them to tell a federal prosecutor about their fellow citizens’ private lives and political beliefs, they have a duty to object. And, like Bartleby the Scrivener, their most powerful tool of protest against a force like the federal government is to simply and politely say: “I would prefer not to.” (It’s worth remembering that Bartleby’s quiet, stubborn “I would prefer not to” eventually lands him in prison.)

And that’s why they’re spending the holidays in prison.

Both Duran and Olejnik say other inmates, and even the guards, are baffled about them—and especially why they’re there. The two grand-jury refusers are fairly normal people with fairly normal jobs. Until the incarceration, Olejnik worked as a bartender and waitress at King Solomon’s Reef, a diner in Olympia. Duran worked for a computer-security company and was pleasantly surprised when his employer said the company would hold his job for him, as long as he wasn’t charged with anything. (Having a criminal on the computer-security payroll might be bad for business.) “I didn’t expect them to understand what was going on,” he says, then chuckles softly. “But even I don’t understand what’s going on!”

More to the point, they haven’t actually been charged with anything, and they have no idea how long they’ll be there. Technically, they can leave whenever they decide to cooperate with the federal prosecutor, but both say they’re firmly resolved against that.

“It’s not even an option in my mind,” Olejnik says. “They’ve already made me walk away from my job, my family, my home—there’s nothing they could legally do to make me give them information.” Or, as Duran puts it: “Everyone’s here because they didsomething. But I’m here because I’m still doing it.”

Duran says he’s explained his situation to inquisitive prisoners and guards, and it usually comes down to the same exchange: “So you’re just here because you wouldn’t talk?” “Yeah.” “That’s messed up.”

The FDC bureaucracy doesn’t seem to know what to do with them either. They haven’t been accused and they haven’t been sentenced, so they’re stuck in the pretrial units, where the prisoners don’t have access to the usual prison programs: education classes to work on GEDs, kitchen or janitorial jobs, Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous (which is a heavy burden on some of the prisoners), or regular exercise equipment. If the SeaTac detention center is a boring limbo, its pretrial units are a limbo within limbo.

Olejnik says she and her fellow pretrial inmates are “super-jealous” of the Zumba dance-aerobics classes that the other prisoners get. Her unit exercises in “the yard,” which isn’t really a yard, but a large cell with a metal grate 20 feet high on one wall that allows in some fresh air. You can sometimes see a sliver of the moon, she says, or feel the rain coming in. That’s as close as it gets to being outside. (Duran says in his unit, a plane flying past the grate in the yard is the highlight of the day.) For their workouts, the women mostly run in circles around the cell, or do what yoga or Pilates moves other prisoners can remember. And they get to play volleyball.

The first question in the women’s unit, Olejnik says, isn’t what a prisoner is in for—it’s whether she has children. If the answer is yes, the second question is always whether she has custody of the kids. “Since it’s a pretrial unit,” Olejnik says, “most people still have custody of their children and are working incredibly hard to keep it. You get 300 phone minutes a month—for people who can afford it.” If someone gets stuck in solitary confinement (called the Special Housing Until, aka “the SHU”), Olejnik says, she gets one phone call a month. She’s seen women in solitary spending their monthly phone call helping kids with homework—trying to be as motherly as possible under the circumstances.

Both Duran and Olejnik were put in solitary confinement as soon as they arrived, without much explanation. (Both of their attorneys, who have represented other inmates at the SeaTac FDC, say starting the prisoners off in solitary confinement isn’t typical in their experience.) Olejnik says she wasn’t told she could ask for a cup or a spork, so she spent her week in the SHU drinking water out of her hands. She depicts the SHU as “intense psychological torture” that’s difficult to describe—you don’t know what’s going on, you can’t talk to anyone, and the lights come on and off without your control. “I was only in for a week,” she says, and can’t imagine what it would be like to be in there for months. Then, one day, she was let out into her unit.

Both Duran and Olejnik wonder if they were immediately shoved into solitary in the hopes that it would freak them out and convince them to answer the grand jury’s questions. If so, it didn’t work.

“We do each other’s hair a lot,” Olejnik says of the women’s unit. The prisoners pull their chairs out of their cells, and fuss over each other with a blow dryer and curling and straightening irons (they aren’t allowed to have scissors), trying to replicate the casual beauty-salon conversations they had in the outside world. When we talk in the visiting room, Olejnik’s hair looks like it spent some quality time with the straightening iron.

The prisoners also fuss over Olejnik’s mail. Both she and Duran get a lot of mail from all over the world, several letters a day, sometimes from anarchist supporters and sometimes from strangers who say they’ve never been involved with political activism but feel like this grand jury situation is beyond the pale. (The outpouring of support was a surprise—both say they did what they thought they had to do, went to prison, and fully expected to be forgotten.) The other prisoners don’t get so much mail. Olejnik pulls all hers into a pile, and the women read it together, sometimes aloud, smelling the paper for any scent from the outside world—a flower pressed in the pages, cologne, incense—and help Olejnik work through her return letters.

Olejnik also shares the books people send her. She helped one prisoner read the first volume of the Harry Potter series. Olejnik and the prisoner would read every night, going paragraph by paragraph, sounding out the big words and discussing what happened in each passage. “She got to the point of reading a whole page on her own,” Olejnik says. When they finished, the other prisoner told Olejnik that was the first book she’d ever read. “She called her mom to tell her,” Olejnik says. “And her mom cried.”

Olejnik says having your period in prison “really sucks.” The commissary, apparently, isn’t carrying tampons these days, and strip-searches while you’re on your period are deeply humiliating. “People on their period,” she says, “mostly stay in their rooms all day.”

But the prisoners laugh sometimes, teasing and joking. “And I have so little to complain about compared to other people in here,” Olejnik says. “That’s not to say I don’t have bad times. We all cry in here. But I try to keep those days to a minimum.”

While Olejnik is robust and incongruously cheerful in the bleakness of the visiting room, Duran is more subdued. He’s slight and bookish, wears glasses, and tries to keep his head down. His unit sounds tenser, with more jealousy and prisoners quick to take offense. “It’s like a microcosm of the real world,” he says, but magnified by the confinement. “Race politics, class politics—one cellie [cellmate] was mad at the other for being really rich. He didn’t pay something like a million dollars in back taxes.” In most conversations, he says, “I try to stay as neutral as possible.”

His mail, unlike Olejnik’s, is not a community event. He says some of his fellow prisoners joke, “Hey, save some mail for us,” but it’s starting to overflow in his locker. He can afford the postage to forward it on to friends for safekeeping, because fundraising efforts for the grand-jury refusers help pay his commissary bills. “But,” he says, “I don’t want to flaunt my wealth in front of the others.” Mail to prisoners is a big deal, he says. “It can make or break a prisoner’s day.” One guy has been depressed for weeks because some books he was supposed to get around Thanksgiving haven’t arrived yet.

Despite the tensions, Duran says the fact that he’s there because he refused to talk has given him some currency, even across the usual racial lines. “A lot of people in my unit are there because somebody snitched on them,” he says. “One guy I hang out with was in a group of people charged with conspiracy.” Conspiracy is a common charge to loop in bunches of people who have a peripheral relationship to the central crime. “They all said they wouldn’t snitch. He’s here now because he’s the only one whowouldn’t snitch!”

But because Duran is Latino and speaks Spanish, he’s a de facto member of the Latino clique. They measured his thin biceps when he first came in, which—to their chagrin—measured only 13 inches around. Now they call him “El Trece” (Spanish for 13) and hector him to work out more, like doing pull-ups when he’d rather be reading. He thanks me during our long interview for saving him from the afternoon workout. “I’m really sore from yesterday,” he says, smiling slightly while rubbing his arm.

Conversation among his fellow prisoners centers on four topics: their cases, how bad the food is, how cold the prison is, and, as Duran puts it, “I did this thing once five years ago, and it was cool.”

“It is,” he says, “extremely monotonous.”

Duran says he’s in a protective custody unit for people who aren’t supposed to be in the general population—that includes snitches, alleged cartel affiliates, high-profile prisoners with well-publicized cases (his situation, so he’s told), and sex criminals. Duran’s face goes dark. “I really,” he says slowly, looking down, “don’t want to be associated with those people.”

Prisoners who’ve done time in that unit, he says, usually don’t mention it on the outside, even to other people who’ve done time at the SeaTac FDC. It’s not a reputable unit, even among fellow prisoners. Duran says that for him, it’s just “study, keep your head down, do your time.”

Still, he seems as resolved as Olejnik to refuse to capitulate. Does doing his time feel different than somebody who has a concrete sentence? “Yes,” he says. “I’m not gonna be here for 10 years, but I don’t know how long I’m gonna be here… could be a day, could be six months, could be two years, could be longer.” But, as he said earlier, he feels he’s doing his duty. “Even most of the inmates I talk to say: ‘Why don’t you lie? Why don’t you put the rap on somebody else?’” Duran says. “I don’t want to be part of the process that puts anyone here. Here is really bad… The government wants me here out of pure frustration—for an entity with worlds of power, they don’t want resistance at any point.”

He says sticking to his guns means he has “a more satisfying life… I’m here because I’m doing something.”

Duran and Olejnik are in prison for civil contempt of court, which is supposed to be a coercive measure—to get them to change their minds—and not punitive. It’s as if the government has sent them into a corner, telling them to come back when they’re ready to start answering those questions about other people and their politics. Both Duran and Olejnik say that’s bullshit. As Duran puts it: “In prison, it’s all punitive.” They could be in detention for civil contempt until this grand jury dissolves in 2014.

Or they could be released if either the federal prosecutor or Judge Richard A. Jones—who presided over their civil contempt hearings—files a motion to end their incarceration. Olejnik’s attorney says it’s highly unlikely the prosecutor will take this step. He is, she says, “pretty resolute that this is a path he should be pursuing.” But the ultimate authority rests with Judge Jones. Why has he favored the prosecutor in this case and not Duran and Olejnik? It’s hard to say. (Judge Jones did not respond to a request for comment.)

But even if the government and Judge Jones force them to run down that clock, they could be further charged with criminal contempt of court, meaning even more time. Limbo within limbo. (A third grand-jury refuser named Maddy Pfeiffer, 23, will soon join Duran and Olejnik. At a contempt hearing last Friday, Judge Jones ordered Pfeiffer to report to the SeaTac FDC at 9 a.m. on December 26.)

As a Thanksgiving treat this year, Duran says, the prisoners got a can of soda, an extra helping of food, and the chance to watch a movie: Spider-Man.

I didn’t ask him what he thought they’d get for Christmas. recommended

December 15, 2012
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Northwest Grand Jury: Maddy Pfeiffer sentenced to prison for refusal to cooperate

From the Committee Against Political Repression:

Maddy Pfeiffer was steadfast in their refusal to cooperate with the federal witch-hunt against Pacific Northwest anarchists. They found guilt of civil contempt and will be sent to prison on December 26th for being unwilling to give any information about the people they know or the politics they hold. It is possible that Pfeiffer will be held until March of 2014.

In an earlier statement, Pfeiffer wrote:

“The state is trying to use broken windows as a reason to ruin people’s lives. This is absurd, and I will oppose it to the fullest. This life-ruining system which they call “justice” is organized to defend property and capitalism. This system is against everything I believe in.”

Currently a federal grand jury in Seattle is purportedly investigating the May Day protests, but it is widely decried as a witch hunt due to its focus only on the anarchist movement. Maddy will be joining KteeO Olejnik and Matt Duran who are in prison for their own dedication to their principles and refusal to provide information to an investigative body that they view as invalid. Both Oljnik and Duran remain strong in their resolve and appreciate the outpouring of support they have received from around the world.

Hundreds of supporters called and emailed District Judge Richard A Jones yesterday demanding an end to the grand jury investigation targeting people based on their political beliefs and the release of all those being held in contempt.

December 10, 2012
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Political Prisoner Birthday Calendar – December 2012

From Internationalist Prison Books Collective

Hello Friends and Comrades,

 

Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for December. As always, please post this poster publicly and/or use it to start a card writing night of your own. We’re still experimenting with the format a little, so this month is also a double sided 11×17 that can also be used as a poster to promote your local letter writing night.

For the holidays this year we wrote each of you a very special letter.  Please take an extra couple of minutes out of your day and read it. For the past seven years our group has been a lifeline for thousands upon thousands of people in prison who otherwise are completely disconnected from any support base whatsoever. We need your help to keep this project going.

Do you have your New Year’s noise demo planned yet? Because it’s that time of year again! Here’s the call out for this year’s global noise demo on New Year’s Eve. Their will be noise demonstrations outside prisons, jails, and detention centers around the world.  Make sure not to miss out!

December 9, 2012
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Anarchist Salon, Dinner, and Movie

In the past year, several Atlanta rebels have faced down police violence, arrest, and incarceration for their participation in the fight against authority and exploitation. We must continue supporting them now as they face legal costs and court fees. Please join us for a fundraiser and some friendly discussion. We ask participations to bring $5 – $50. No one will be turned away.

4pm Discussion of Wolfi Landstreicher’s “Revolutionary Solidarity
530pm Vegan Potluck Dinner
7pm Watch No Gods, No Masters

Originally Posted on Atlanta IndyMedia

This event will be a fundraiser for friends here in Atlanta who have faced police repression. All who can attend please come and bring a few dollars if you have it to spare. No one will be turned away if they can not donate.

December 8, 2012
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Support the ACAC 19

Against the growing wave of state repression in the Bay and beyond statement from the support committee for the ACAC 19

We are a group of Bay Area radicals who are organizing together to support nineteen anti-colonial, anti-capitalist comrades (the ACAC 19) who were beaten, arrested and subjected to a media smear campaign by the San Francisco Police Department on October 6, 2012.

The arrests occurred during the Saturday action in a series of demonstrations on Columbus Day weekend against current forms of colonization and empire, as well as the racist celebrations of genocide and conquest that is Columbus Day. The actions were organized in solidarity with indigenous struggles: from the East Bay fight to protect sacred sites to the ongoing struggles in Mexico and Canada against the mass destruction caused by industrial resource extraction and logging. The weekend’s demonstrations also marked the eleven-year anniversary of the Afghanistan war and occupation, a brutal example of contemporary empire building.

Nearly 200 took to the streets of San Francisco’s financial district in an anti-colonial anti-capitalist march on that Saturday afternoon while warplanes flew overhead as part of the annual Fleet Week. Demonstrators were immediately confronted by a very large police mobilization that included multiple squads on bicycles and motorbikes, as well as lines of riot police and many police vehicles. Officers quickly tried to box in the crowd and beat it on to the sidewalk. Some in the crowd refused to leave the streets but SFPD had clearly decided to crush the march within the first blocks. The police attacked a random section of the crowd towards the back of the march and those who were unable to run away were brutally beaten to the ground, surrounded and arrested. Multiple comrades suffered a range of injuries including blows to the head, a broken nose and a split chin.

Once booked, those arrested were not cited and released as is standard practice in almost all San Francisco mass arrests. Instead, all 19 were slapped with the same selection of felony charges including felony conspiracy to riot. Their phones were immediately confiscated and they were all ubjected to interrogation. Those who were unable to be quickly bailed out were held in jail for four or five days and were released only after agreeing to have their bodies searched for tattoos and allowing photographs to be taken.

Meanwhile, SFPD released a statement to the media which recklessly stated that all those in the march “identified themselves as members of the Criminal street gang, Black Blok”. The statement also claimed that those arrested were responsible for September’s clashes between demonstrators and police in the Mission district the previous month following a police shooting. SFPD simultaneously released all the arrestees’ mug shots along with their full names and birth dates. Much of the corporate media published SFPD’s statement nearly word for word and included the mugshots which spread across the internet.

A warrant has been issued to seize all information within the confiscated phones using the justification that the case involves conspiracy charges and potential street gang involvement. Subpoenas have also been issued for two Twitter accounts allegedly connected with those arrested. All of these unusual forms of police repression against demonstrators in San Francisco are directly connected to the involvement of the SFPD Gang Taskforce in the crackdown and investigation. This powerful police unit regularly cooperates with the federal government and is usually reserved for criminalizing poor and working class communities of color.

While we are not surprised that the state is actively working to crush all forms of resistance and organizing amongst anti-capitalists, anarchists and other radicals, we feel this case is a particularly important example of one avenue this repression can take. The same tools that are designed to oppress and control marginalized communities and neighborhoods, such as gang task forces and gang injunctions, are gradually making their way into the repertoire of repression deployed against social movements in the Bay Area. The intersections and connections that exist between these communities and movements represent the greatest threat to the state and the repression we are seeing is a direct attempt to crush any organizing of that kind.

We see this as one manifestation of the broader crackdown unfolding across the country– from the FBI entrapment cases against Ohio anarchists to the ongoing federal grand jury targeting anarchists and radicals in the Pacific Northwest. Each of these cases illustrates a different form of contemporary repression yet each has an identical end goal: eliminate any resistance or opposition to the status quo of capitalism, the state and all forms of domination and exploitation. We stand in solidarity with all those working to counter this repression and those who have been directly targeted by it. We see these struggles as intimately tied with those of all marginalized and oppressed peoples who share a common enemy and are organizing towards liberation.

All members of the ACAC 19 have either been bailed out, cited and released or released on their own recognizance. All of their charges have been reduced from the initial array of felonies yet multiple charges are still being pressed against each arrestee. Please show your solidarity and support for the ACAC 19 by emailing this statement to friends and comrades, reposting it online, donating to the support fund and calling the San Francisco DA to demand all charges be dropped.

We will continue to update the blog with additional information and news as it becomes available.

Article Originally Posted Here