A Post-Sentencing Statement From Dave Solidarity
On June 1, I was sentenced to a 1 month stay in a Federal Prison, starting June 22nd, after being convicted of a 'violation of the terms of my supervised release.' To give a little bit of background, in 2006, I was convicted of 'damaging United States property' after setting fire to an Army recruiting center in the Bronx, and served 6 months in a federal prison, followed by 3 years of 'supervised release.' Last year, a few months before this term of supervised release was set to expire, I was arrested outside of the second occupation of the New School, and charged with assaulting an officer, rioting, resisting arrest and maybe a couple other things.
While ultimately all of the State charges were dropped, my 'supervision' status allowed the federal government to pick up the slack and ultimately take me to trial on the same charges, only with a lower standard of proof ('a preponderance of evidence' as opposed to 'beyond a reasonable doubt') and with rules allowing hearsay, in this case, from the pigs called in to testify. The prosecution recommended a sentence of 9 months, plus 2 years of supervised release and some other stuff that I'll go into later, but ultimately I got the 1 month in, plus 1 additional year of supervised release, plus 200 hours of community service.
Okay, so that's the bare bones boring stuff. Now I get to take this opportunity, as someone who already is one of the usual suspects, and unquestionably under surveillance, to say some wild shit that others trying to preserve their relative freedom would be unable to.
Let's go point by point.
1. I am a crazy motherfucker.
When I was first sentenced for setting fire to that Army recruiting center, part of the judge's sentence was that for the entire three years I was on supervised release, I attend weekly therapy sessions, so that "I could understand why I did what I did". At the time, I remember thinking 'it's pretty fucking obvious why..." but didn't go much deeper than that. After I got back to NYC, my PO sent me to my assigned therapist and the goal of state-mandated therapy became more clear.
After a month of these 'sessions', I realized that not only was this therapist reporting everything I said to my PO, but my PO was telling the therapist what areas to 'probe deeper into.' Most of this involved him trying to get to the bottom of why I really had problems with authority. 'Because I'm an anarchist?- But what about your relationship with your Dad..?' So that had to end. When I got a little bit of money together to switch to a therapist of my choosing, who refused to tell my PO anything about what happened other than the fact that I showed up, the probation department took me to court, a battle that I eventually won.
In that case, my lawyer argued that my political beliefs were being looked at as a pathology, and that the probation department was using therapy as political re-education camp. Now I am in exactly the same position-Once again, I've been sentenced to weekly therapy. At the sentencing hearing, the prosecution stressed the need for this therapy, because "I had exhibited an extreme problem with authority, particularly police officers." While at first I got angry about their characterization of me, I realized that they're right.
The past 10 years of my life have been dedicated to fighting authority in general, whether they be the pigs, politicians or bosses. They all have to go. So, if that makes me crazy, fuck it. When I hear about cops getting attacked in Seattle, I get all jittery and excited. When I read about French workers taking their bosses hostage, I wanted to catch the next plane over. The best part: I'm not the only one who's crazy like this. Most people are 'crazy', and every day, more and more people are starting to do something about it.
2. We need to step up our game.
One of the benefits of being an anarchist 'usual suspect' in NYC, is that it allows me a rare glimpse into the mind of the government, and I've found that there's not much going on in there. Every time something gets blown up around these parts, (you know, annually, when one of those cute little packages gets delivered from everyone's favorite cyclist) the Feds show up at my house (I'm never there) or follow me around everywhere, or call me into my PO's office, because they know I have to show up there. And every time they start asking questions, it becomes abundantly clear that they are unable to understand how anarchists operate. They keep trying to find leaders, or try to make dubious connections between above ground groups and actions that occur. Their obvious frustration is what leads to the kind of prosecution that put Eric McDavid away, which will hopefully be overturned on appeal.
But what we need to recognize is that this shows our strength! When we stop squabbling with each other for long enough to extend our struggle, it turns out that fighting without leaders and without hierarchy actually works. Given that we're still in a period of 'crisis', this is the time we need to be hitting the hardest.
Now, some people have been leading the way(see Mayday 2k10). Much of the negative response towards those actions falls into the 'it's only going to bring greater repression' category. Of course it is, but what the hell did you expect when you decided you were an 'anarchist'?
This is the point where I get to pull out my 'former/pending political prisoner' card, and say people are going to catch some heat, but guess what-there's over 2 million fucking people in prison. My whole neighborhood is under police occupation. I'm going to prison for a violation-level charge of 'resisting arrest'. Shit is bad, and anyone who fights back is going to potentially subject to consequences. We have to understand this, and take calculated risks, but when they take some of our people, we hit back harder.
3. Hitting Back.
I mean this literally. Solidarity means attack, remember? There have to be real, tangible consequences for the state or capital attacking us. However, the only way this can be sustainable is if we get out of the anarchist ghetto. This means putting our energies towards helping out with other peoples struggles, and building real relationships in the places that we live. Is your neighbor getting evicted? Well, guess what, landlords have addresses. The police are running up on your block to grab somebody? You and your neighbors have to let them know there's gonna be consequences.
The point, however, isn't just to fight for the sake of fighting. We're trying to create some kind of liberated spaces, right? This means actually creating spaces, and then militantly defending them.
Look at how Portland is doing it-they're getting a little wild in their battle against the cops. NYC needs to catch up...
4. ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK.
The only way we're going to be able to maintain any of our efforts at creating liberated spaces is if we go on the offensive. If by day we're running community centers, doing alternative education, fixing bikes, or growing our own food, by night we're attacking the police stations, the business owners, the real estate agencies. There is no conflict between these two ends, because guess what, Capital with the assistance of the State is going to come down hard these projects sooner or later, and if we've been on the offensive this whole time, we'll be much better prepared to fight back. We'll be building alliances and through those connections finding people with whom to go on the attack. And when the shit hits the fan? We won't be 'those crazy anarchists'; people will know who the fuck we are.
From where I stand, what you get out of building things up in your neighborhood or town is necessary to be a complete person, whether it's helping out with childcare or whatever. The same is true of striking back against the forces that make our lives miserable in a million different ways, both large and small. The point is to make these two goals complement each other.
5. Don't get all worked up about a cracker being locked up.
So, I gotta end this by pointing out the obvious-as a white man from a relatively "privileged" background, I'm getting a slap on the wrist. But there's over a hundred prisoners in the US from less privileged backgrounds who have been sitting in prison for literally decades. Many of these folks were part of liberation struggles in the 60s and 70s who took part in actions that make anything we've ever done look tame in comparison. Millions of dollars taken to fund revolutionary activities? Check. Assassinating cops in response to the police murdering Black people? Check. Busting comrades out of prison? Check.
So, take a second to check out listing of prisoners done by the Anarchist Black Cross Federation, at abcf.net. Start up a correspondence with one of these folks, throw a benefit for them, figure out a way to get them the fuck out of prison. Also, check out the work done by local ABCs, especially those in Denver, NYC and Toronto at denverabc.wordpress.com and nycabc.wordpress.com or 4strugglemag.org(Toronto).
So, in closing, I'd like to address a few words directly at the federal employees who will be reading this, particularly those in the Probation Department and our friends in the NYC Joint Terrorism Task Force (especially those fat motherfuckers that keep showing up at my court dates):
First and foremost, fuuuuuuuuucccckkkkk you. It doesn't matter how many times you try and get my ass up in that court, or how many times you lock me up, or how many times you show up at my house (I will never be there). I'm never gonna stop. But guess what, much as you wish this were the case, I'm not a lone wingnut. There's thousands of us, all over the place, and this shit's just gonna keep growing, and we'll keep fighting.
Finally, remember when you brought up in court that part of the communique I wrote when I was like 18, about how I was trying not only to bring down the United States, but to abolish the idea of the state itself? Yeah, I'm still on that shit.
Can't Stop Won't Stop,
As soon as Dave's address in jail is available, it will be put out widely.