This is a statment of unity and non-cooperation drafted by defendants with wide approval.
On the very first day of the Trump administration's rise to power, the authorities in Washington, DC attempted to send a message to the growing resistance movement by apprehending over 200 people present for an anti-fascist march, and charging everyone with felonies. This state tactic has been used multiple times over the past 20 years: in Seattle during the 1999 World Trade Organization summit protests, hundreds of protesters were arrested; later juries found the arrests were made without probable cause or evidence; In 2000, in DC at IMF/World Bank Protests and Philadelphia at the Republican National Convention, hundreds of people were tried on frivolous charges, virtually all of which were later dismissed or acquitted.
These aren't the only times the state has tried to crack down on dissent; in each case the procedure has been to arrest a huge group of people based on their mere presence at a protest, and indict them with alarming charges as a way of coercing defendants into taking plea deals that might not accurately reflect the truth. This tactic benefits the state and prosecutors, since time and resources are not wasted on lengthy trials of defensible cases.
While this most recent mass arrest is serious--and certainly unsettling--it is not unprecedented. Collective solidarity and defense have benefitted co-defendants in all of the aforementioned legal cases, and can do so again for this one. Additionally, we know that the majority of people in this country recognize squelching protest and dissent is a clear marker of fascism. We see overwhelming support for political resistance and we can best sustain this momentum by working together. If we coordinate with our lawyers and legal defense to embrace solidarity, the authorities will fail in their repressive efforts, as they have in the past.
In order to stand together and support one another through this stressful time, we defendants agree on the following points of unity:
‣ We will not cooperate against any of our codefendants, nor accept any plea deals that cooperate with prosecutors at the expense of other codefendants.
‣ We will refuse to accept that any of the charges or actions of law enforcement were necessary or justified.
‣ We will share information, resources, and strategy when possible and beneficial. We will not say anything publicly or privately that has the possibility of harming individual defendants or defendants as a group.
‣ We will support decisions individual defendants make, even if we do not agree with them, as long as they do not directly go against the other principles.