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by Our Comrades still in Twin Towers Jail
Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2000 at 1:12 AM
email@example.com 323 939 -3039 2238 South Redondo Avenue / Los Angeles, CA 90016
Statements by John & Jane Does still held in Twin Towers:
LOS ANGELES JANE DOE STATEMENT, August 19, 2000
Greetings sisters and brothers. This is a statement from 22 women in solidarity in 231-C-Pod of the LA County Jail, 19 of whom are on hunger strike. We are local women, and women from around the country. We are in high spirits and feel good about what we're doing.
We are here because we believe in standing up for justice. "Business as usual" in our capitialist system inevitably leads to genocide and ecocide, and must be resisted through the power of nonviolence. The real crime here is that peaceful activists go to jail and do time, while murderous corporate criminals, corrupt politicians, and brutal racist police walk the streets with impunity. We refuse to be intimidated or silenced, despite increasingly harsh and repressive attempts to suppress dissent.
During the Democratic National Convention protests and our time in jail, we have witnessed and experienced unprovoked aggression by police, and unfair and intimidating treatment from jail guards. Our experiences pale in comparison to our sisters in the jail's general population, the majority women of color. They suffer terribly under racially disparate "three strikes" laws, bogus charges, brutality, lack of competent counsel, poverty and numerous other barriers to reentering society. We categorically deny that our general population sisters are "the real criminals," and reject the systems attempts to divide us. Since we have been here, general population has suffered from lockdowns, denial of access to medicine, denial of privileges, and other extraordinary hardships. For this reason, 19 of us are fasting to protest the dehumanizing conditions that our sisters live under every day, and to show solidarity with all those abused and silenced by the criminal in-justice system.
Those of us who were arrested at Wednesday's Rampart action chose to risk our freedom to demand an end to police brutality, corruption, and racism in Rampart particularly and throughout the country. The Rampart scandal has been widely publicized-the falsified evidence and perjury that sent innocent people to jail, the execution style murders by police, the illegal collaboration with INS as in the case of political prisoner Alex Sanchez. Yet, nothing substantive has been done to make these abuses STOP. The CRASH program still operates under a different name, and lying murderous cops are still on the streets instead of in jail where they belong! We believe we had to risk arrest to address this injustice, since law enforcement is the source of the injustice.
Some among us were arrested on Monday protesting Al Gore's involvement with Occidental Petroleum which threatens extinction of the U'Wa people of Colombia through a monstrously ill-concieved plan to drill for oil on their ancestral lands. The drilling will destroy the U'Wa's water supply and the forest in which they live and is likely to draw guerilla fighting to their homeland. The U'Wa believe that oil is the sacred blood of Mother Earth. 3,000 U'Wa have threatened to commit mass suicide if the drilling goes through. Al Gore has become rich through his ownership of million in Occidental stock, and has refused to divest or speak out against the drilling. There is perhaps no case that better illustrates the corrupting influence of corporate money on government. For some of us, solidarity with the U'Wa is the primary factor in our decision to fast.
One woman on our cell block was arrested at Tuesday's Critical Mass, which was intended to be a fun demonstration and celebration of much-needed alternatives to the ever-present smog-belching automobile. The Critical Massers were treated as criminals, herded and trapped, beaten, arrested and had their bikes confiscated, in a case that perfectly illustrates the LAPD's unwillingness to tolerate even the most peaceful dissent.
Under corporate-controlled capitalism, the system offers us no real political choice. As long as both major parties are controlled by monied interests, including the powerful interests comprising the prison-industrial complex, the government will continue to be a tool to exploit the many for the profits of the few-and such evils as police brutality, genocide of native peoples, and destruction of our environment and community by the automobile will continue to plague us. We believe that we have no choice but to put our bodies on the line in resistance.
We wish to thank our fabulous lawyers, our beloved supporters, and people all over the world that are with us in the struggle for justice. To all of you beautiful brothers and sisters standing outside the jail today, your energy breaks through these concrete walls and gives us the strength to stay positive in this sterile and dehumanizing environment. We want to thank our brothers in jail solidarity, who continually inspire us to stay strong and let us know we are not alone. We thank the people of Los Angeles, who opened their homes and communities to us and provided critical leadership for this week of protests. Finally, we thank our sisters in general population, who have prayed with us, sang with us, taught us, witnessed with us and supported us under the most trying of circumstances. We will never forget you!
Although we do not enjoy being jail, it is an honor and a privilege to be able to serve the community in this way. We call on all people of conscience to rise up and join us in organizing, resisting, and speaking truth to power. Together we can turn the tide and change the world. Si se puede!
JOHN DOE STATEMENT, 8/19/00
We are in jail for doing nonviolent civil disobedience, because our freedom is diminished by the diminishment of others. The Democratic and Republican parties have brought us a society riddled with corporate influence, environmental destruction, racism, sexism, homophobia and other injustices. These individual issues are symptoms of the larger structural problem of corporate power and the selling of democracy at the expense of family and communities.
Our political and economic system's most fundamental flaws are clearly evident in Al Gore's direct connection as a shareholder in Occidental Petroleum, an oil company that is on the verge of constructing a pipeline which would utterly devastate a fragile Colombian cloud forest, along with its 5,000 indigenous inhabitants, the U'Wa people.
The Rampart scandal and the LAPD's pattern and practice of civil rights abuse showcase the nationwide failure of a law enforcement system that worsens the problems the public expects it to solve.
The situation is dire, but the last year has seen in this country an uprising embodying an alternative. We can cooperate in community to create lives in harmony with the earth and each other. This is possible because it's already happening. We are learning in this movement to create non-hierarchical community structures that resist oppression, materialism and patriarchy in the world and in ourselves. We call on everyone in this country and around the world to organize our communities and to create our own possibilities, in defiance of the prison of false choices: Coke or Pepsi, CNN or Fox, Bush or Gore.
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