On Friday, August 31st, join your comrades around the country in raising legal support funds for the Cleveland 4, who were entrapped by the FBI and face up to life in prison because of their politics and association with the Occupy movement. The defendants need to raise $80K to create the best defense possible against the government’s sensational prosecution based on manufactured crimes. You can find out more at http://cleveland4solidarity.org/ and donate online at https://www.wepay.com/donations/cleveland-5-justice-legal-fund or by sending checks or money orders made out to Conveyor Belt Collective to P.O. Box 602117, Cleveland, OH 44102.
Arrested in Cleveland on April 30th in a calculated move designed to disrupt May Day protests and celebrations everywhere, five people initially faced charges for an alleged conspiracy to destroy a bridge. These five are Brandon Baxter, Connor Stevens, Douglas L. Wright, Joshua Stafford, and Tony Hayne. On July 25th, Tony accepted a cooperating plea deal with the government. He pled guilty to all three charges and agreed to testify against his co-defendants in exchange for a minimum sentence of 16 years in federal prison. His cooperation has directly increased the danger his co-defendants are facing and harmed our struggles for social justice.
The Cleveland 4 need our support now more than ever! With trial scheduled to begin on September 18th, time is running short and money is urgently needed for investigation costs, testimony from expert witnesses, and other legal expenses.
On August 31st, the Cleveland 4 will be preparing for one of the biggest moments in their lives from their jail cells. Their lawyers will be working fervently to secure their acquittal and release. And the prosecutors will be finalizing their plans to lock up these activists for life, as a threat to all of us to abandon our struggles for a better world—or else.
What will you be doing?
Show solidarity for the Cleveland 4 by hosting a fundraiser for them—a show, a movie screening, a discussion, a noise demo and rally, a bake sale, whatever strikes your fancy. Have you been a part of the Occupy movement in your city? Pass the hat among your comrades and raise $100 to support these defendants—every bit helps! Let us know your plans so we can add them to our calendar by contacting us at cleveland4solidarity(A)riseup.net and go to https://www.wepay.com/donations/cleveland-5-justice-legal-fund to send in your donation, or send checks or money orders made out to Conveyor Belt Collective at P.O. Box 602117, Cleveland, OH 44102.
The case of the Cleveland 4 is not a story of misguided activists doing dangerous things. Rather, it is the story of a pattern of state repression focused on destroying resistance and undermining solidarity within the 99%. This is a story of an FBI agent provocateur who targeted activists, manufactured a plot to blow up a bridge, and coerced the defendants into going along with his scheme, all to keep himself out of prison.
This case is not an isolated incident, but one instance in an historic pattern of state repression. Just a couple weeks after the Cleveland 4, the Chicago police arrested the NATO 5, charging three Occupy activists (the NATO 3—Brent Betterly, Brian Jacob Church, Jared Chase) with conspiracy to make Molotov cocktails, Sebastian Senakiewicz with falsely making terroristic threats, and Mark Neiweem with attempted possession and solicitation of an incendiary device. These five were also targeted by provocateurs because of their political views and associations. We must defend them as we defend all other political prisoners and prisoners of war—their liberation is bound up with ours! Find out more athttp://nato5.occupychi.org/ and check back for an announcement about an upcoming National Day of Action for the NATO 5!
As the national political conventions quickly approach, we should expect to see more provocateurs targeting activists and manufacturing plots in order to charge them with serious crimes and threaten them with decades in prison. We must show the government that we will not stand idly by while they attack our movements and imprison our comrades. We must put a stop to this pattern of infiltration, provocation and entrapment. And we must step up to support our comrades around the country. So on Friday, August 31st, bring your community together to show your solidarity with the Cleveland 4!
For more information on current trends of state repression that are evident within these and other cases, check out these links: