To: Anti-fascist and anti-racist activists and allies, especially anyone who was present in Charlottesville Virginia on August 11 or 12, 2017
In the aftermath of this summer’s white supremacist rallies and attacks in Virginia, local and federal law enforcement are contacting anti-fascist and anti-racist activists and others who were in Charlottesville on August 11 and 12, 2017.
As of this writing (October 27, 2017) we are aware that state and local police (including the Charlottesville Police Department, Albemarle County Police Department, University of Virginia Police Department, and Virginia State Police) have contacted dozens of activists. We are also aware of two activists who have been contacted by federal law enforcement including the FBI. All of the activists contacted by law enforcement were injured either on the evening of August 11 at the University of Virginia campus or during the August 12 march in Charlottesville when a fascist rammed a car into the crowd. Law enforcement is telling all activists that the activists themselves are not the subject of the investigation, but that law enforcement would like to speak to them as victims and witnesses as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
Everyone we have been in touch with directly has agreed to the above information being shared on their behalf in the interest of transparency and in the spirit of solidarity.
Many people have been calling for the state to prosecute fascists for the extreme violence, terror, and injuries inflicted on August 11 and 12. We recognize that in light of this some people may be considering sharing information with various law enforcement agencies for the purpose of prosecuting the fascists, and that some people have already done so. In this moment we would like to encourage everyone considering “helping” the state’s investigation of fascist violence get legal advice before deciding to talk to any law enforcement agents. We suggest that people start from the presumption that any information shared with law enforcement will be used against other anti-fascists & anti-racist activists, and that everyone keep the following points in mind:
- Law enforcement can lie about what the subject of their investigation is.
- Law enforcement agencies do routinely share information with other agencies (for example, local police departments may share the substance of an interview with the FBI or with ICE).
- In fact, inter-agency structures are in place to facilitate exactly this type of information sharing (for example, the Virginia Fusion Center: http://www.vsp.state.va.us/ FusionCenter/index.shtm).
- If you make statements now in order to assist police in the investigation and prosecution of fascists and the state later decides to broaden their investigation to include anti-fascist and anti-racist activists, you may be subpoenaed for more information. Refusing to comply with a subpoena later is more difficult (from a legal defenses perspective) if you have previously cooperated with law enforcement investigation efforts.
- It is possible that a special grand jury either has been or will be convened to investigate anti-fascist and anti-racist actions and efforts surrounding the events in Charlottesville and elsewhere. Any and all information given to law enforcement deepens the reach of a grand jury investigation. Grand juries have historically been used as a tool to repress political movements.
- Even simply confirming to law enforcement that you were present at an event on specific date or at a certain place can lead to further adverse actions against leftist activists and subpoenas to you for testimony and/or for access to your records (including electronic devices like cell phones and cameras) at a later stage.
We would like to remind everyone of your rights when interacting with law enforcement:
- You are not required to speak with any law enforcement officer or agent.
- You have a right to consult an attorney before talking to law enforcement or deciding whether or not to talk to them.
- You have a right to have an attorney present while being questioned by law enforcement even if they tell you that you are not the subject of the investigation or if you volunteer to do an interview.
We recommend the following:
- If you are contacted by law enforcement, simply get their name and contact information and firmly let them know that you do not want to speak with them at this time and that they will hear from your attorney.
- If you do ultimately choose to share information with law enforcement, never discuss your political views or affiliations and never discuss anyone else in any way (including who else was present).
- Remember that giving photo or video records to law enforcement that show other people does amount to confirming the whereabouts of other activists without their consent.
- We also remind everyone that information shared with law enforcement will be used against other people in anti-fascist and anti-racist movements. Even seemingly innocuous details about where you were and at what time can end up being used against other people or simply to construct social maps of our communities. Sharing information can also inadvertently expose others to the type of right-wing harassment and doxing which have recently been so harmful to people in our communities.
For these reasons we recommend that no-one speak with law enforcement. If you have already done so, contact a lawyer as soon as possible for assistance moving forward. If you have been contacted by law enforcement and are considering speaking with them, don’t do it without first contacting an attorney to privately discuss these issues and to decide how to proceed. Always use attorneys who have experience representing members of political movements during criminal investigations or defending activists with criminal charges.
We also encourage people to continue to be transparent about these developments as they occur – secrecy leads to isolation and feeds fear, which are both harmful to solidarity.
The best place to start to find experienced political attorneys to represent you in this context is to talk to other anti-fascist and anti-racist activists and the organizations you’ve been working through. It’s a good idea for groups to line up a suitable lawyer or group of lawyers in advance.
Also, your local NLG Chapter can provide assistance in finding political attorneys in your area: https://www.nlg.org/chapters/
National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Know Your Rights materials: http://www.nlg.org/know-your- rights/ Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) If an Agent Knocks booklet: https://ccrjustice.org/if- agent-knocks-booklet
Freedom Archives background on how grand juries have been used against political movements in the past: https://search. freedomarchives.org/search. php?s=Grand+Juries
For more on grand juries and the criminal legal process for activists in general we recommend: A Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant: https:// tiltedscalescollective.org/ full-book/
P.S. VERY IMPORTANT: Remember the following:
People should be clear that they should not, under any circumstances, lie to law enforcement. It is a crime to lie to the FBI. It may be to lie to other law enforcement even if not expressly prohibited. It is often considered obstructing justice and some places disorderly conduct.
Workers World Party 2017 National Conference
November 18 – 19 | Downtown Newark, NJ – near Penn Station
This year, the movement has seen everything from the inauguration of arch-bigot Donald Trump to the toppling of racist confederate statues. It has responded in militant action to the attacks on migrants, the LGBTQ community, Black lives, and U.S. wars and sanctions abroad. We’ve watched in horror as colonized Puerto Rico and other oppressed nations suffer from global warming and genocidal policies, the murder of anti-racist activists and state repression of freedom fighters.
As the centennial of the Russian Revolution approaches, we are faced with an urgent need to unite and fight for our lives. The 50-year anniversary of Che Guevara’s martyrdom and the Newark Uprising offer critical lessons for going forward. Our comrades in the streets risking their lives to topple white supremacy need our support — a people’s army to back them up.
Workers World Party invites you to attend our 2017 conference in the heart of Newark, NJ (a short train ride from NYC) — one of the largest and most impoverished working-class cities in the Northeast, as well as a historic site of resistance. Hundreds of freedom fighters from across the country will gather to meet and discuss where our movement goes from here.
Join us for dynamic workshops, plenaries, cultural performances and more. As the battle against white supremacy continues to intensify, we are strategizing a path forward in the fight for socialism.
By October 25, 2017posted on
“…It is the lack of maintenance that led to the collapse of the electrical generating and transmission systems. FEMA awarded $240 million contracts to a U.S. company for repairs — one of many such contracts — but the recipients do little other than pay their employees and distribute profits in the U.S.
Still, the communities are standing strong, serving hot breakfasts and offering medical, dental and educational services to their children, thanks to volunteer community labor.
The unions have opened “regional centers of solidarity” for their members and families where they offer everything from medical services to help with requests for material assistance. Restaurant chefs are providing meals to refugees and others. Almost all musical institutions and many artists are contributing their “grains of sand” — offering concerts and serenades, including to people waiting in long lines at banks.
The past stage of a supposedly happy and satisfied Puerto Rico waiting to be exploited by tourists and speculators has collapsed. Behind the scenes there is a Puerto Rico that is organizing itself to revive, building on its native roots to develop new institutions that serve the Puerto Rican people.”
Linda Backiel, a lawyer living in San Juan who is a longtime advocate for Puerto Rican independence, is a guest contributor to WW.
Save the date for the 48th annual National Day of Mourning.
Thursday, November 23, 2017 at 12 noon at Cole’s Hill in Plymouth, MA
WHAT IS NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING?
An annual tradition since 1970, Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and highly political day. Many of us fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon of that day (and have a social after Day of Mourning so that participants in DOM can break their fasts). We are mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but we also feel our strength in action. Over the years, participants in Day of Mourning have buried Plymouth Rock a number of times, boarded the Mayflower replica, and placed ku klux klan sheets on the statue of William Bradford, etc.
WHEN AND WHERE IS NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING?
Thursday, November 23, 2017 (U.S. “thanksgiving” day) at Cole’s Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 12 noon SHARP. Cole’s Hill is the hill above Plymouth Rock in the Plymouth historic waterfront area.
WILL THERE BE A MARCH?
Yes, there will be a march through the historic district of Plymouth. Plymouth agreed, as part of the settlement of 10/19/98, that UAINE may march on Day of Mourning without the need for a permit as long as we give the town advance notice.
PROGRAM: Although we very much welcome our non-Native supporters to stand with us, it is a day when only Indigenous people speak about our history and the struggles that are taking place throughout the Americas. Speakers will be by invitation only. This year’s NDOM is dedicated to all our relatives – including those in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean and in Mexico — who are devastated by hurricanes, climate destruction and earthquakes. We will also have a special message from Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier. #WaterIsLife
Please note that NDOM is not a commercial event, so we ask that people do not sell merchandise or distribute leaflets at the outdoor program. If you have literature to distribute, you are welcome to place it on a literature table at the social hall following the speak-out and march. Also, we ask that you do not eat (unless you must do so for medical reasons) at the outdoor speak-out and march out of respect for the participants who are fasting. Finally, dress for the weather!
SOCIAL: There will be a pot-luck social held after the National Day of Mourning speak-out and march this year. Preference for first seatings will be given to Elders, young children and their caretaker, pregnant people, Disabled people, and people who have traveled a long distance to join National Day of Mourning. Please respect our culture and our wish to ensure that these guests will be the first to be able to sit and eat. With this understanding in mind, please bring non-alcoholic beverages, desserts, prepared fresh fruit & vegetables, and pre-cooked entrée items (turkeys, hams, stuffing, vegetables, casseroles, rice & beans, etc.) that can be easily re-warmed at the social hall prior to the social. Our amazing kitchen crew makes great food, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes, too, but if you have special dietary needs, please bring something that will suit you so you will not be unhappy. Thank you.
Kitchen volunteers: Please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to offer your services.
TRANSPORTATION: Please check the facebook event page for 48th National Day of Mourning 2017 https://www.facebook.com/events/187901245087869 for updates on transportation, including possible buses and carpooling. We do not recommend MBTA service as it is limited on a holiday.
DONATIONS: Monetary donations are gratefully accepted to help defray the costs of the day.