West Coast activists resist growing repression
Oakland, Calif. — Occupy activists from the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest have been the target of arrests and FBI grand jury investigations. Many people targeted are called anarchists, as if holding this political view were itself a crime. The corporate media lead the charge, equating anarchism with property destruction, especially of “precious” plate glass windows.
One group facing charges is the Anti-Colonial, Anti-Capitalist (ACAC) 19, arrested Oct. 6. Their support committee statement reads, “The arrests occurred … on Columbus Day weekend against current forms of colonization and empire, as well as the racist celebration 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 11-year anniversary of the Afghanistan war and occupation.”
The San Francisco police attacked the demonstrators as they marched in the financial district, targeting a section of the crowd, chasing them down on mopeds and bikes, and then brutally beating some, who were then charged with felonies. There were as many cops as the 200 demonstrators.
Since then, “All members of the ACAC 19 have been bailed out, cited and released, or released on their own recognizance. Charges … have been reduced from the initial array of felonies, yet multiple charges are still being pressed against each arrestee,” says supporttheacac19.wordpress.com, which has information on how people can help them.
Twitter accounts subpoenaed
Two members of the ACAC 19 subsequently had their Twitter accounts subpoenaed. One of them, Robbie Donohoe, told Workers World, “They’re mining for information. We saw from social movements all over the world that Twitter was a tool for people to get in touch with each other. When [Occupy] Oakland was attacked Oct. 25, we saw people in Tahrir with signs ‘We support #Occupy Oakland,’ so the state knows it’s a powerful tool for people in social movements.
“They’re trying to issue subpoenas against peoples’ movements to set a precedent to scare people away from using social media for political work. … They beat people in the streets to get them out of the streets, and they try to get all your social media content to get people off of social media.”
Asked about the subpoena, Donohoe said, “The American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a joint amicus brief, and our attorney went to court to file a continuance, because more amicus briefs were possibly coming from other people, and they needed time to prepare. The D.A. withdrew the subpoena.
“The D.A. realized they’d overstepped what they could even get away with before the general public. They saw an upcoming public media battle and they knew they couldn’t win it.”
Chris Moreland, a young Black leader of Occupy Oakland and a member of the Tactical Action Committee, faced charges from a house squat and a later confrontation with Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan. Last year, Moreland helped occupy a vacant house in Oakland, which was being used to feed and organize the surrounding community. He was arrested during a raid.
Moreland also led a protest May 24 in support of the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition at the Acts Full Gospel Church, where Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan was attempting to sell the cops’ story regarding how Officer Miguel Masso killed young Alan Blueford. Moreland and other supporters disrupted the meeting, and afterward two carloads of police arrested him at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station.
After a plea deal, Moreland is now doing 30 days in Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail, with probation to follow. Supporters have donated to his commissary fund, packed his visiting schedule and contributed enough books to start a reading club. A recent visitor said Moreland was looking forward to getting back to organizing outside the walls.
Grand jury subpoenas in Pacific Northwest
The FBI carried out coordinated raids on activists in Portland, Ore., and Olympia and Seattle, Wash., last July 25, seizing computers, anarchist literature and black clothing. Federal grand jury subpoenas followed. Most subpoenaed activists have refused to appear at grand jury hearings. For refusing to testify, Matt Duran, Kteeo Olejnik and Maddy Pfeifer are being held at the Sea-Tac Detention Center in Seattle.
Portland anarchist Kerry Cunneen has announced the refusal of those subpoenaed Dec. 14 to cooperate with the grand jury investigating a May Day attack on the Nakamura federal courthouse in Seattle. Kerry refused to even enter the grand jury room for her scheduled Jan. 3 appearance.
A solidarity statement is available at the website of the Committee Against Political Repression: nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com.