For months now, three courageous individuals—Matt Duran, Katherine Olejnik, and Maddy Pfeiffer—have been held captive in the Federal Detention Center in Seatac, Washington for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury currently underway in Washington state. Another person, Kerry Cunneen, has been subpoenaed but declines to appear. Convened in March of 2012, the grand jury is clearly intended to discourage anarchist activity, which has proliferated on the West Coast over the past few years.
In the following statement, we emphasize the urgency of offensive as well as defensive strategies, and present new support materials to draw attention to the grand jury resisters. This situation has been going on for many months now, but it’s important to renew public awareness on a regular basis.
Corina Dross has created a postcard to raise funds for the Committee Against Political Repression’s fund for material and legal support for Grand Jury resisters. We are offering pdfs of a handbill and of a color version of the poster, in order that supporters around the world might print them out and distribute them.
Grand juries are used as a tool to coerce people to provide testimony to the authorities about their friends or acquaintances, whether or not they are involved in illegal activity. Those who refuse to testify may be held in jail for the duration of the grand jury—often a year or more—for choosing to protect their privacy and the privacy of others.
Recently, a grand jury has been convened in the northwest to investigate anarchist organizing. Three courageous young people are imprisoned for refusing to cooperate, while more subpoenas are forthcoming.
Let’s show the investigators that our lives and friendships are none of their business. Support the grand jury resisters!
Why Solidarity Means Attack
Until someone takes a step to oppose them, the tragedies that are heaped upon us daily cannot even be recognized as tragedies—they remain invisible, merging with a sea of other misfortunes, a few more threads in the grey fabric of existence. That’s life.
This is why it doesn’t make sense to premise the right to act on victimhood: today’s outrages will be taken for granted tomorrow. All it takes to cease being recognized as a victim is to suffer the same offense long enough that everyone gets used to it. Think of all the atrocities everyone is resigned to today! Justifying our actions as responses grounds them on an ever-receding foundation.
So it is always the right time to act out, to revolt against age-old tragedies as well as brand new ones—even if the news of the day offers no rationale for our actions. If we want evictions, incarceration, deforestation, and genocide to be recognized as tragic, we have to attack their perpetrators ceaselessly. It is too easy to become accustomed to our cramped conditions, the tiny bubbles of freedom that remain to the obedient. Only in straining against the walls of our cages can we rediscover in our bodies that we were made for forests and open fields.
Likewise, when new tragedies are forced on us, if we do not wish to be alone in our outrage, we have to act immediately: to show to others that these are not just reprehensible but intolerable. If we do this, others may feel entitled to do the same—and together, we will be able to feel something that would have been impossible otherwise: that we deserve better. We remember Alexis Grigoropoulos, but not the thousands of people shot by police since his murder. Tragically, a tragedy is not a tragedy unless we respond appropriately.
For these reasons, we applaud the anti-capitalist march that took place in Seattle on May Day 2012, during which hundreds of people cheered as a black bloc destroyed government and corporate property. Capitalism and the state are responsible for most of the needless suffering taking place on this earth, but this will remain invisible unless we strike against them openly. It is all too rare for people to take the offensive and give shape to the discontent seething below the surface of this society.
The empire always strikes back, and a large number of people have been subpoenaed to a Washington State grand jury intended to map anarchist activity and relationships. Six of these subpoenas have been served; several more subpoenas are known to exist, but have not been successfully served. The government has very little to show for this effort, as all but one of the subpoenaed have refused to cooperate in any way and the entire operation is proving to be a media debacle.
In addition to commending the resisters, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has acted out in solidarity with the people being held captive in Washington. This kidnapping might otherwise have passed unnoticed, like the imprisonments of nearly two and a half million more people in the United States—yet another blow to isolate and demoralize those who desire another world. Instead, it has become a rallying point for new acts of revolt. When we take practical steps against the injustices around us, we recognize ourselves in others’ attempts to do the same, and the state’s assault on them becomes an assault on us. Some of the most inspiring actions have been the ones that open space for revolt to spread, like the marches in Portland, Olympia, Atlanta, and Bloomington.
If you have not done anything yet to support the grand jury resisters, there is unfortunately still time. The more opposition this witch hunt generates, the more hesitant the state will be to use this tactic against others.
What You Can Do
-Write to the prisoners
-Donate to their legal support
-Organize solidarity actions
-Learn more about Matt Duran, Katherine Olejnik, and Maddy Pfeiffer
-Read the text of Kerry Cunneen’s powerful and defiant radio interview
…and strike against the system that kidnapped them!
Appendix: Solidarity Actions
As reported via saynothing.info, these are some of the actions to date that have been claimed in solidarity with the grand jury resisters.