PCWC stands unequivocally behind everyone beaten and arrested by those thugs the Phoenix Police and MCSO at the January 16th anti-Arpaio march. We likewise denounce the leftist activists who collaborated in advance and after the fact with the attack and the bullshit press that, in the truest tribute to the Red Scare I've seen in some time, quickly tried and convicted our friends without bothering getting the facts.
One reason anarchists oppose law and policing is precisely because it focuses on process over substance, power over equality and the result therefore almost always resembles nothing even remotely like even a shadow of what we might call justice as most people understand the word. More often than not the outcome looks something akin to blackmail or, as Orwell put it in a slightly different context, a boot to the face. That the State is incapable of delivering justice in most cases -- for instance when factors like race, income or oppositional politics come into play -- reveals the entire spectacle to be a sham.
Often, when the cards are stacked against you as is the case with the majority of us that lack wealth and power, you are forced into a lose-lose situation, where the choice becomes more one of damage control and the hedging of bets in order to preserve your already limited freedom. Deeper questions of justice and wrong and right frustratingly fade into the background.
Frustratingly, I say, because despite the sheer absurdity of the process when taken at face value, at every turn the so-called justice system reminds you with the grand language of guilt and innocence, justice and reparation, that although what you're going through feels a lot like extortion, instead it is supposedly a quest for truth and fact. Bullshit! Cognitive dissonance prevails nowhere in this society so much as in the courtroom. And since the State is built on laws, it is in the courtroom where we often get our purest look at its hypocrisies, as well as its failings.
Consider, as a case in point, Grace's situation where two sentences, one a month and the other more than ten years are bandied about as equally viable options for the same alleged crime. Where does justice lie when the outcomes, both State-sanctioned, are so disparate? To speak of justice as long as these kinds of dichotomies exist is in reality to speak of nothing at all.
Realistically, going to trial can be very dangerous given the tendency of the agents of the State and their masters to lie, cheat and manufacture/disappear evidence/witnesses. It takes strength and courage to stand up against that onslaught, even if the struggle isn't carried through to trial. As anarchists we reject the State's definitions of guilt or innocence and we stand with our comrades under attack, even as we understand the limitations that the legal framework puts on defense and the sad pragmatism that often must result from the pathetic application of the stinking law.
For my part, I do not begrudge anyone, with the obvious exception of those whose deals lead to collaboration with the State, for taking the better of two shitty deals, or of not risking a fight that can have catastrophic results. Battling the State on their home turf is not easy and in the courtroom they hold all the cards. I myself have faced this situation more than once in my life. My deepest sympathies to anyone who sits in a similar position. Decisions rarely come easy.
Justice in capitalist democracy is a sham and I would no more hold a comrade to its anemic standards than I would myself. It's failings reveal only more clearly the need for an uncompromising revolution that overturns this wretched order: a kicking over of this justice death-machine that has left so many wrecked lives in its wake. Solidarity in struggle to all who face it in the name of liberty, freedom and equality for themselves and others, as well as to those who face it just to pay the rent or put food on the table.
Support our comrades under attack. Support Grace Daniels.
An Urgent Request from Grace Daniels
Friends, Family, Comrades:
I just spoke to my lawyer regarding the current state of proceedings regarding the charges being alleged against me since my arrest on January 16th at the Anti-Arpaio march in Phoenix, Arizona. I had hoped my next post on this topic would at least contain semi-positive news; unfortunately that is not the case. The prosecutor has disclosed their final plea deal which would require me to plead guilty to a class 5 felony, with a mandatory 30 days in jail, and a minimum of 1 year supervised probation (which could be up to 3 years).
I have until Wednesday to agree to take this plea or not, if I decide to go forward with the plea it would be effective on September 3rd, Friday. If I decide to take this to trial, the date is set for September 14th. Given the case that we have I normally would see taking this to trial as the best option, however, because a special sentencing statute specifying that this was a “dangerous” offense was added, the judge has no leeway in my sentencing and if convicted it would mean a mandatory 10.5 years in prison. As of right now although we have witnesses, we do not have any video documentation showing the moment that the alleged “crime” was committed. The police as anyone who was there knows, and as we know through the video that we have seen, had numerous cameras throughout the protest and at that moment. However, they are claiming that it does not exist at this point, meaning that it has likely been destroyed.
I am writing this as a last urgent call out to whoever reads this. Things that may help if received by Wednesday would be; character letters (guidelines specified below, you can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org), any video documentation of the protest, and witnesses who saw me directly before, during, and after my arrest. If you feel you have any possible information or documentation that may help in this case, please email me for my lawyers phone number.
Thank you to everyone who has provided unending support and to those who continue to fight despite tactics such as these used to try to scare us into submission.
If you are unfamiliar with the events on the 16th, please see links below for more background and current updates in regards to the other 4 who were arrested that day.
Who they are - brief
How they know you, how long, etc
Acknowledge that they know essentially what you are charged with
Then, FOCUS on your good character traits, with specific examples if possible.
Character for non-violence generally, and if they have experience with you at marches, rallies, etc, your non-violence at those.
They can then simply request leniency on your behalf.
They should NOT profess your innocence unless they were there and saw you right before and up to your arrest – and of course, we have found no such person yet.
They should NOT try to school the prosecutors and/or judge on the justice system, jail, prison, etc.
The latter stuff just turns off the professional who is reading it and they will ignore the good stuff!
The focus is on you, not the case.