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Statement from NYC Local of Black Rose Anarchist Federation regarding Cecily McMillan
north america / mexico | crime prison and punishment | policy statement Sunday May 11, 2014 12:09 by M. Cinelli - Black Rose/Rosa Negra - NYC blackrosefednyc at gmail dot com
We stand in solidarity with Cecily McMillan and will in the future. Cecily has been punished in order to make an example out of the Occupy movement. At the same time we must look at the bigger picture. By the end of today, another life, activist or not, will have been snuffed out by state violence. These include attacks against active militants involved in the struggle for liberation of oppressed peoples like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Maroon Shoatz and Leonard Peltier, as well as everyday people of color and undocumented migrants struggling to survive against the racist class divisions perpetuated by capitalism. There have been 239 people killed by the NYPD since Amadou Diallo in 1999, and 107 since Sean Bell in 2010; nearly all of them have been people of color. While we see that Cecily is a political prisoner, we recognize that the black and brown men and women who are systematically beaten on the street and thrown into prisons are political by default. Having historically been the most exploited of the exploited class, their well-being, survival and resistance to the widening gap between classes poses a threat to the capitalist status quo that the state seeks to insure.
We, the New York City local of the Black Rose Anarchist Federation, are deeply saddened and outraged by the conviction of our comrade and friend Cecily McMillan. While we are disappointed by the jury’s ultimate verdict, we are not surprised given the anti-democratic nature of Cecily’s trial, and the initial sexual assault and arrest on the night of March 17, 2012. Judge Zweibel’s refusal to allow the jury to consider Grantley Bovell’s violent and illegal past behavior while on the job, total gag order placed on Cecily’s lawyers, and the dismissal of multiple people of color during the jury selection because of their admittance of personally experiencing police brutality, are only some examples of how the guilty verdict was a certainty from day one. It is clear to us that the brutal police repression on the night of M17 (which many of us witnessed first hand and are still shaken up from to this day), the trial, and the ultimate incarceration of Cecily are all examples of how the capitalist state suppresses dissent and punishes those who dare to challenge it. We respect the efforts of Cecily’s legal defense team, but affirm that Judge Zweibel, the prosecution, and the court system as a whole are simply extensions of the same state that physically assaulted our friend to the point of seizure, and will likely keep her in a cage for the next two to seven years after turning the blame around on her.