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International Day of Action & Solidarity with Jeff 'Free' Luers 6/12

by info Friday, Jun. 11, 2004 at 1:51 PM

International Day of Action & Solidarity with Jeff 'Free' Luers June 12, 2004

International Day of...
free1.jpg, image/jpeg, 267x380

International Day of Action & Solidarity with Jeff 'Free' Luers

June 12, 2004

June marks the fourth year that our friend and comrade, Jeff "Free" Luers has been imprisoned and held captive by the state. Sentenced to 22 years and 8 months for burning three Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) at Romania Chevrolet in Eugene, Jeff has continued to be active in prison and fight back with his words and inspiration. This June 12, we aim to strengthen his efforts by promoting a day of action and solidarity with Jeff throughout the world.

This day will mean many things to many people - we say do what fits your local situation and your desires. Some ideas are film screenings, protests at SUV dealerships, wheat-pasting campaigns, letter writing and outreach, music shows and direct actions. The important thing is that you ask yourself: will this action help Jeff's situation? Remember that what we do on the outside has an impact on his life on the inside-sometimes its positive and sometimes negative. Consider this crucial bit of information when planning your event.

There is no central organizing body or group to check in with but the J12 Organizing Committees can help by providing you with flyers, graphics, and merchandise such as videos, zines and stickers about Jeff's case. It is imperative that you be able to speak about Jeff's case if you do a public event. Take some time and read about it on our website

Jeff's imprisonment and sentence is without a doubt, intolerable but keep in mind that his sentence is yours as well. It is meant as a deterrent to social and environmental movements all over. Let us not forget that when you fight with Free for his freedom - you fight for yourselves and your freedom.

There will be events in many US cities and potentially in countries as diverse as England, Australia, Finland, Brazil, Russia and more. There is already a large public outreach event planned for Eugene, which will involve speakers, music and more. If you choose to hold a public event, email us and we can include the event on the website as well as include your information in outreach materials. After the day, you can send us write-ups, photos and updates and that too can be posted online. Many people have emailed us about a desire to do more for Jeff - this is the perfect time to show your solidarity.

In struggle,

Friends of Jeff 'Free' Luers

Break the Chains, P.O. Box 12122, Eugene, OR 97440

Free's Defense Network, POB 3, Eugene, OR 97440

June 12 Events [Note-All events will take place on June 12 unless specifically stated].

United States:

• The Flagship Event is in Eugene, Oregon. Break the Chains and Free's Defense Network will be hosting a huge event at the Wow Hall, 8th Avenue and Lincoln at 7PM featuring Ramona Africa, Blackfire, Claude Marks and supporters of Free. Read details here. Contact:

• San Francisco, California- On Friday June 4th, the Autonomous Collective is hosting the Night of Support and Resistance to benefit Jeff "Free" Luers and other earth liberation prisoners. Followed by a spokescouncil in preparation for the Reclaim the Commons mobilization and the 'Free Free' state to be established on June 5th. Contact: or 415-867-6362.

• Boston, Mass-On June 8th, Boston Anarchist Black Cross will be screening Green with A Vengeance and hosting a release party for political prisoner David Gilbert's latest book, No Surrender [Abraham Guillen Press-2004]. Former political prisoner Kazi Touré will be speaking also. 7pm at the Lucy Parsons Center, 549 Columbus Avenue. Train: Orange Line-Mass Ave. Bus: Route 1-Columbus Ave. View flyer. View directions Contact:

• Cincinnati, Ohio- Cincinnati Anti-Authoritarians are hosting an event with a letter writing session, a discussion about Jeff's case and prisoner support in general. Details at Contact:

• Modesto, California- Direct Action Anti-Authoritarians will be hosting a benefit. Contact:

• Fresno, California- Moving City Collective and Sierra Nevada Earth First! are hosting a film showing,discussion and dance. Locations to be announced.

• New York, New York- Local activists will be ticketing SUV's with global warming tickets.

• Lawrence, Kansas- Lawrence Anarchist Black Cross will be holding a rally in support of Free 1PM at the Douglas County Courthouse (11th and Massachusetts) and a screening of Green with A Vengeance at the Lawrence Public Library (7th and Vermont) at 4PM. View flyer here.

• Portland, Maine- Political Prisoner Night, 7PM at the People's Free Space, 547 A Congress St. #32. We will be showing the video "Green with a Vengeance" and discussing strategies for supporting Free. Contact: 207-879-2699 or info@peoplesfreespace

• Morgantown, West Virginia-This huge event starts with a free-to-all community dinner, then a showing of Green with a Vengance, an all ages show with the Law Biting Citizens, Without Eyes and ScuZard. After that, there will be a screening of the documentary, pickAxe and then an 18 and over bar encore with M Iafrate, Fairweather Fan and one band to be announced. View flyer. Location: 123 Pleasant Street Space. Contact:

• Lake Worth, Florida-screening and benefit. Contact: Downward Mobility Po Box 961, Lake Worth, FL 33460 (561) 547-6686 or

• Olympia, Washington- people are participating in World Naked Bike Ride Day in support of Jeff.

• Worcester, Massachusetts On June 18, Massachusetts Earth First! will be hosting an event at the Spacement [76 Harding Street]. The night will consist of Food not Bombs dinner, showing of Green with A Vengeance, discussion, and a big open mike and dance party. Food will be out around 6, film and discussion around 7 and party at 8:30. Contact:


• Brighton, England- Brighton ABC will be hosting a fund raising roast dinner in the Cowley Club. We will be printing off leaflets and possibly having a window display in the Club and showing the video Green with a Vengeance. Contact:

• Bradford, England is hosting a screening of Green With a Vengeance plus a benefit meal and talk about Free, plus prisoner solidarity in general at the 1in12 club. View flyer. Contact:

• Norwich, England- Now or Never magazine will be leaf letting about about Free at the Norfolk Anarchist Bookfair.

• Melbourne, Australia- Melbourne Anarchist Black Cross will be holding a international solidarity rally for Jeff, 11:30AM, Corner of Bourke and Swanston Street city [opposite Nike]. Contact:

• Leeds, England- On June 20th, Green with A Vengeance will be shown as part of the monthly 'Incitement 2...' Leeds radical film showings. Ex-anarchist prisoner Mark Barnsley will be speaking at this event too. 7.30pm upstairs at the Packhorse Pub, Woodhouse lane,Leeds. Contact:

• Edinburgh, Scotland- On June 15, the Bilston Glen Collective will be organizing a solidarity action for Jeff outside of the U.S. Consulate, 3 Regent Terrace at 4PM and a screening of Green With A Vengeance, 8PM at The Forest Cafe, 3 Bristo Place. Contact:

• Hull, England June 16: Film screening. Venue to be announced. Contact:

• Turku, Finland On June 5th, Palava porkkana [Burning carrot] will be hosting a benefit dinner and a screening of Green with A Vengeance and on June 12, activists will flyer about Jeff's case. Event starts at 6PM [1800] at Vanha suurtori 3. Contact:

• Oslo, Norway- Spis de rike ("Eat the rich") film club will screen "Green with a Vengeance" followed by "Those Sentenced at Gothenburg". Screening begins at 1900 at Hausmania cultural centre, Hausmansgate 34. Contact:

• Bialystock, Poland- Earth Liberation Prisoners-Poland will be presenting on Jeff's case at an Anarchist Black Cross conference.

• Edmonton, Alberta The Edmonton Anarchist Reading Circle is hosting a film screening at the University of Alberta. 6:00PM at the U of A International Center,90th Ave & 112th St, on the ground level of HUB Mall, approximately one block north of the U of A transit station. Admission by donation. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Contact: (780)429-3659 (a.k.a. (780)GAY-FOLX),



by Marjorie Skinner

How Three Burnt SUVs Bought Jeffrey Luers 22 Years in Prison

On June 16, 2000, 23-year-old Jeffrey "Free" Luers lit three Sport Utility Vehicles on fire. An articulate and by most accounts warmhearted young man, Luers had been an activist since 1996. He was well known in the community for his work dealing with issues like police misconduct and eco-defense, as well as affiliations with organizations like Food Not Bombs. Notably, Luers was also the first tree sitter at Eagle Creek.

His fateful action at Romania Chevrolet dealership in Eugene represents more than an example of direct action. Despite the fact that there were no injuries and only ,000 worth of damage, he was sentenced to 22 years and eight months in prison. Of the 11 charges of which he was found guilty, three were for arson in the first degree--one for each SUV, instead of one charge for the single fire he started. Under Oregon's Measure 11, he is ineligible for parole or reduced sentencing.

This is why you should care: Under Measure 11, first-degree rape carries a mandatory sentence of only eight years and four months. An attempted murderer would serve a sentence of seven-and-a-half years. In fact, you could rape someone and then try to kill them and you would still have a significantly shorter sentence than Luers has for causing property damage.

These circumstances make Luers one of the many poster children for anti-Measure 11 activism. One of the objections to the measure is its lack of distinction between violent and nonviolent crimes. In fact, a caveat to the sentencing guidelines is that first degree arson can only be considered a Measure 11 crime if "the offense represented a threat of serious physical injury" (Senate Bill 1049).

According to testimony at the trial from an arson specialist, as well as the night watchman of Romania Chevrolet, Luers' crime did not represent any such threat. The action had been planned months in advance. Luers and his friend Craig "Critter" Marshall, who is serving a five and a half year sentence for conspiracy to commit arson and possession of an unlawful device, scoped the lot with the specific aim of avoiding harm to any person.

During the first trial, Luers' attorney Ken Morrow had proven that the investigating officers had given false information, and that evidence had been tampered with. Unfortunately, Luers' lawyer died. A mistrial was declared, the prosecution came back for round two, and won. Luers was given an incredibly harsh sentence for a so-called physically threatening crime that he specifically engineered in order to avoid physical threat. Say what you will about direct action and the motives behind it, but this is a blatant miscarriage of justice.

Supporters of Luers believe the court threw the book at him because of the political motivations behind his crime. He freely admits he is guilty of setting the SUVs on fire and that he did it because he was trying to raise awareness on the effect these types of vehicles have on global warming. Activists across the world got the message that Luers was being punished, at least in part, to be made an example of. For Eugene, a town that has been considered a hotbed of political unrest for years, and whose "Eugene Anarchists" have generated much media attention, this was particularly pointed.

Since his incarceration, Luers has remained politically active, writing essays and dispatches to his supporters on the outside--and is being punished for it. For example, on May 28, 2003, Luers sent a letter to the Earth First Journal, in which he advised those who were considering taking up direct action. He told activists to "remain true in prison" and that there is "no excuse to ever rat on another to save your own ass."

This letter brought Luers a new load of trouble. According to the "Findings of Fact" report from his prison hearing, the letter contained evidence that "Luers is a documented Earth Liberation Front [ELF] security threat group affiliate," and for his writings, he was subsequently put into solitary confinement as punishment. This is odd for several reasons. In prison, "security threat groups" generally refer to gangs or white supremacy groups, which have an obvious potential to cause problems within the prison population. Besides, Luers has consistently denied any affiliation with the ELF.

Luckily, Luers' attorneys have been able to get him out of solitary confinement, and are currently working on his appeal. The main objectives are to deflate his extreme sentence by contesting the classification of his crimes as Measure 11 offenses, arguing he should only be held responsible for one count of arson. Oral arguments are set to begin in July.

Over the past four years, Luers' case has drawn attention all over the globe. He has garnered support from the Eugene Human Rights Commission as well as political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. June 12th marks the fourth anniversary of Luers' sentencing, prompting an "International Day of Action & Solidarity with Jeff 'Free' Luers." Events have been planned across the United States and abroad, with the flagship event occurring in Eugene.

The event includes a performance from Blackfire, a political group combining punk with Native American traditional styles. There will be several speakers, including Ramona Africa, the Minister of Communication for the revolutionary group MOVE; Kevin Price, whose work includes publishing the Friends of MOVE newsletter and involvement with the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; and Claude Marks, a prison activist and Project Director of the Freedom Archives, a collection of audio tapes chronicling progressive history between the 1960s and '90s.

Saturday, June 12, WOW Hall, 291 W 8th Ave, Eugene, OR, (541) 687-2746, 7pm, sliding scale. For more information about Jeffrey Luers or to make a donation to his appeal, check

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