Minneapolis Zombies donate portion of settlement to RNC 8 and Scott DeMuth

BraaaaainnnsFriday, August 27, 2010

Minneapolis, Minnesota — The RNC 8 and Scott DeMuth, Twin Cities anarchist organizers facing trial this fall on politically motivated conspiracy charges, are receiving donations to their legal defense funds from an unlikely source–zombies who settled a lawsuit with the City of Minneapolis late last week.

The seven “zombie” street theatre performers split a $165,000 settlement with their lawyer stemming from police misconduct during their false arrests in 2006. Members of the Zombie 7 have pledged at least $4,000 of their settlement to the legal defense of the RNC 8 and Scott DeMuth, another Minneapolis activist facing a politically-motivated conspiracy trial this fall.

“The Zombie 7 were not slapped with criminal charges after being absurdly arrested for ‘simulating weapons of mass destruction,’” said Raphi Rechitsky, one of the Zombie 7. “But countless others are prosecuted for their artistic and political expression, views, and associations, much like the RNC 8 and Scott DeMuth. They face not only jail time and exhausting legal proceedings, but also costly legal defense. My fellow zombies and I have come to understand that with a flip of a coin, we could have been the ones to face criminal charges on outrageous accusations of ‘violence.'”

Rechistky announced the donation in a video viewable at:

http://www.vimeo.com/14471703

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7A-jxXrq30

He continued, “I see this money as not just compensation for my ordeal, but also money for people battling back against the punitive criminal justice system.”

Because the zombies’ 2006 protest satirized “mindless consumerism,” local and national media have speculated upon how the settlement money will be spent. The donation back into movement defense shows the zombies are still (un)deadly serious about challenging consumerism.

Earlier this year, the RNC 8 received at least one other large donation thanks to local law enforcement misconduct. Long-time St. Paul activist Betsy Raasch-Gilman settled a lawsuit against Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher this spring. Raasch-Gilman had sued Fletcher for intrusion into her privacy as a result of police surveilling her before and during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Raasch-Gilman donated the proceeds of her $5,000 settlement, after legal costs, to the RNC 8 defense fund.

Melissa Hill of the RNC 8 Defense Committee commented, “It’s ironic that the Twin Cities police departments, which ratcheted up unwarranted fear of anarchists before and after the RNC, are now indirectly contributing thousands of dollars to these same anarchists’ criminal defense through civil settlements.”

“We’ve long suspected this,” Hill said, “but police in the Twin Cities truly seem to have lost their braaaaaiiiinnnnss.”

For more information on the RNC 8 case, visit http://rnc8.org. For more information on Scott DeMuth’s case, visit http://davenportgrandjury.wordpress.com

Support Other Targets of State Repression:
http://thejerichomovement.com
http://criticalresistance.org
http://abcf.net
http://midwestgreenscare.org

RNC 8: Erik Oseland to plead guilty


Denver folks should remember that the RNC 8 will be one of the main subjects of the Conspiracy Tour presentation happening tomorrow (Thursday August 12th) at the 27 Social Centre here in Denver at 6pm.

Statement from the RNC 8 (RNC 7?):

It is with great disappointment that we share the news that our co-defendant, Erik Oseland, has decided to take a plea agreement as early as Monday, August 23rd. He has informed us that he will plead guilty to one count of gross misdemeanor conspiracy to commit riot, which is riot “without a dangerous weapon,” a charge which bears a maximum 1-year sentence. We will send out the exact date and time of the hearing as soon as we know it, for those who wish to attend.

Erik has told us that this is a non-cooperating plea agreement, and we want to make absolutely clear that *we ARE NOT treating Erik as a cooperator*, and *we ARE NOT asking people to withdraw their support from him.* We do fear that any plea agreement offered by the State has the potential to hurt the rest of us, but we are reserving further comment on the matter until the hearing has taken place and we’ve been able to review the final resolution of Erik’s case.

Erik’s decision to take a plea, while a break from the rest of us and our beliefs about the case, is not a break with the approach he has long held towards our defense strategy. We know that plea agreements are often used as a “divide and conquer” tactic by the State, and it is important to us that everyone take care to prevent this turn of events from becoming divisive and furthering the State’s strategy of undermining resistance movements.

The court system is a government tool that uses coercion and manipulation in its attempts to control all of us. It has nothing to do with truth or justice. The 7 of us remaining believe there are times when it is prudent to stand your ground and fight even if the terms of struggle are not ideal. We are fully committed to fighting this all the way through trial, as we always have been. We are grateful for the support of all of you.

In Solidarity,
Luce Guillen-Givins, Max Specktor, Nathanael Secor, Eryn Trimmer, Monica Bicking, Robert Czernik and Garrett Fitzgerald.

Chicago: Conspiracy Tour locked out by Chicago PD

DABC Note: The Conspiracy Tour will be in Denver on August 12th at the 27 Social Centre. Mark your calendars!

Chicago Police said that the Conspiracy Tour “came on their radar” and demanded that DePaul Law School hire private security to “keep us contained” during our puppet show and presentation. The school agreed, and was going to charge us for the privilege of our own repression!

We say no thanks to that–we’re here to argue that people should not let the state contain them, no matter how much repression they try to unleash on us. And that is why we have the state running scared.

So we’re moving! The event tomorrow (7/28) will be at 7pm at Locked Out, 3951 W. Fullerton St. in Logan Square.

Come see what’s scaring the powers that be, and show them that we’re still here, and we’re going to keep fighting! We sure do hope to see you there!

The Conspiracy Tour is going on a whirlwind, month-long excursion across the continental United States to raise awareness of and solidarity for political activists from Minneapolis, MN who are facing severe state repression. Come join us in raising political support and much-needed legal defense funds for the RNC 8 and Scott DeMuth.

love,

Conspiracy Tour 2010
http://conspiracytour.wordpress.com
midwestconspiracy(A)http://gmail.com

G8/G20, They Few, We Many: Solidarity with the Toronto Arrestees

Here is a great statement from the RNC 8 Defense Committee on the police repression and targeting of activists in Toronto following the G20 protests.  It makes the important links between different actions facing similar charges and forms of repression from the state.  It’s essential that as we defend our movements, we do so in a holistic way, recognizing the way we are all affected when our comrades are beaten, intimidated, arrested and otherwise cracked down upon.

G8/G20, They Few, We Many: Solidarity with the Toronto Arrestees

June 2010 brought thousands upon thousands of dedicated activists to the streets of Toronto to protest and confront the G8/G20, as “world leaders” conspired to further destroy our communities and the world around us for the sake of power and profit. Residents of Toronto and activists from all over Canada and the world were met by an army of police officers with a budget of $1 billion to fund their campaign of repressive violence, fear and intimidation. This campaign was designed to sweep the streets of anyone daring to speak out against the destructive policies perpetuated by the G8/G20 and to scare people away from organizing resistance to these policies.

Not content with attacking people in the streets and arresting nearly 1100 protesters, the Canadian government also attacked the very ideas of community and organizing by arresting 17 prominent community organizers from around Canada and charging them with conspiracy. Those who have been released from jail face harsh bail conditions that prevent them from associating with people in their communities and from exercising their rights to organize and voice their dissent. This attempt at breaking solidarity amongst and with the accused must not and will not be successful. Continue reading

CRASS (Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure) releases new zine about RNC arrestee support efforts

CRASSThe CRASS Zine Project Working Group is pleased to announce the release of its much-anticipated zine about arrestee support efforts before, during, and after the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN.

The idea for this zine came about way back in the initial days of forming CRASS, and it was borne out of a sincere need to reflect on our efforts and share our successes and failures with the movement at large to help strengthen it. This zine is intended both as a critical examination for ourselves and other interested parties (no, not you, officer), and as a how-to guide for communities gearing up for a large mobilization in their neck of the woods. There are things we did really well, about which most of us remain proud and that we tend to think you could benefit from replicating. There are things we did poorly, and we hope you don’t fuck up in the same ways. There are things we wish we’d done, or thought of, or did better, and maybe they can be implemented down the road by someone more prepared…someone like you.
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Conspiracy Tour: We’re (still) getting ready

The Conspiracy Tour will be in Denver at the 27 Social Centre on August 12th

More information on the tour here.

RNC 8: Report from 5th day of hearings

On Friday, we heard the testimony of Chris Dugger, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Dugger started attending Welcoming Committee meetings in November of ’07. He was told to “listen and figure out what they were up to.” He didn’t start getting paid until spring of ’08, and was deputized at the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department after the RNC.

He was not informed much about the WC or anarchist philosophy before being sent in, but was told to read up on the Welcoming Committee website. He said that he developed a better understanding of anarchism in his time with the group, but not a full one. His understanding of anarchism is that it’s “kinda broad” and he “can’t cover everything,” but that it is “anti-government, anti-capitalist, and anti-law enforcement.” Later, when asked whether he considered anarchism to be a political philosophy, he said that he thinks it is more than that to the people he met, that it is a way of living by their beliefs. He said that anarchists can’t be recognized by how they look, and don’t have a uniform. He agreed that they had shared food and lodging and support for each other and for him.

Dugger discussed trips that he took with Welcoming Committee members to Madison, WI, for a conference, and to Waldo, WI, for the 2008 CrimethInc. Convergence. In Madison, he attended a workshop on direct action tactics led by Lisa Fithian. He does not recall if any of those tactics included violence or destruction of property. He described the CrimethInc. Convergence as a kind of a gathering where different workshops were taught, not just about protesting. He did not recall there being any workshops about harming people or property.
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