Five Statements from Activists, Journalists and Philadelphia Arrestees
Statement of Wendy Dale
Chapel Hill, NC Activist and Philadelphia Prisoner
August 6, 2000
This is Wendy, code name Vera. I just got back home to Carrboro last night. I was detained at the Roundhouse in Philly for about 50 hours before I was arraigned and released after giving my name and address. First of all I would like to say that I experienced brutality at the hands of the Philadelphia police. I was dragged onto an empty bus by police who did not bother to lift my legs but just lifted me by my plastic handcuffs onto the bus. As a result of this I have nerve damage in both hands and a nasty cut on my wrist. Once I was on the bus the police officer dragged me by my hair down the bus aisle as both officers insulted me and yelled in my face. I feel better now that I am home.
I would also like to let everyone know that I am 99.9% sure that our listserve is being monitored by police. It is also quite possible that those of us who demonstrated in Philly have FBI files at this point. While incarcerated, Princess was interrogated and shown her FBI file. Princess also suffered brutality as she was banged into walls while being dragged by officers. A female officer also elbowed her in the eye. She is out of jail now as her brother posted her bail. Those who have stayed in Philly are working on getting the others out of jail. I personally intend to work on getting our story out to the media. The public must know that it was the police and not the protesters who were violent. Please help me do this by writing to newspapers and e-mailing to the mainstream media. Thanks.
Statement of Michael Steinberg
Durham, NC Activist and Journalist
August 7, 2000
My name is Michael Steinberg. I live in Durham. I am an activist and journalist
with over 20 years experience. I was in Philadelphia on Sunday, July
30, 2000, for the Unity 2000 March there.
The Unity 2000 March had a legal permit. Nevertheless there was a very
heavy police presence before, during and after the march. Police officers
in great numbers were apparent on foot, on bicycles, on motorcycles, in
vehicles and in helicopters constantly hovering over us. At various times
during the rally that followed the marchówhich was entirely peaceful--
I explored areas nearby and found large numbers of police gathered all
about. I concluded that all day Sunday we were constantly surrounded
and under surveillance by the Philadelphia police force.
Before this experience I attended several meetings in this area for the
Philadelphia actions. From these meetings I know that all those who planned
to do acts of civil disobedience there attended non-violence trainings,
and intended to be entirely peaceful.
I was immediately impressed with these highly energetic, idealistic and
intelligent young people, many of them now or formerly associated with
the University of North Carolina, clearly among the best and brightest
of their generation. They exuded a contagious hope and strong confidence
that they could help bring sorely needed social change to our society and
the world at large.
Reports that these people have been systematically abused in Philadelphia
are deeply disturbing. Why are authorities exhibiting criminal behavior
towards them in Philadelphia jails not exposed and condemned by the media?
And it its a cruel irony that in the city where the Declaration of Independence
came forth, punitive high bail, one of the prime devices used by the British
Empire to suppress American dissent, has been reinstated as we enter the
Equally disturbing is a report that one NC citizen incarcerated in Philadelphia
was interrogated, without legal counsel present, and in total isolation,
by the FBI. No federal charges have been filed against this or any other
person arrested there. The involvement of the FBI indicates that the strategy
and tactics employed by authorities in Philadelphia are being coordinated
at the highest levels of government.
Americans know full well that in most US elections the candidates are selected
and supported, directed and dominated, by corporate contributors to their
campaigns. Thus we see authorities in Seattle, DC, now Philadelphia, and
soon LA competing to produce the most perfect police state.
Just as the US has in other countries bombed those perceived to be a threat
to its monied interests, now it is lowering the boom on its own children,
who challenge the hypocrisy and corruption of our present undemocratic
system. But they are our future, and the future cannot be denied.
Statement of Dannette Sharpley
Durham, NC Activist
August 7, 2000
in Philadelphia for the protests at the RNC, as a part of the social change
movement sweeping the world. People who arenít involved donít understand
why, though. They say, "Protesting the Republican and Democrat National
Conventions? What kind of thing is that to protest? A convention is just
an inevitable political event. Itís a bunch of politicians doing
what politicians do, right? Nothing out of the ordinary; nothing to be
alarmed about... This is how our government works after all…"
Taking to the streets is supposed to provide a chance to explain our purpose.
However, federal law enforcement, and local police, in conjunction with
national news sources, have launched a smear campaign against the protestor's
grievances, making it impossible to offer a coherent explanation.
This defamation of the movement began in Seattle last fall, carried into
DC this spring, and now Philadelphia this summer, and will likely continue
throughout our mobilization. As well, they have refused us a platform
for relaying our own message, which perverts and defies the intended purpose
of media and civil servants alike. Because of that, I understand
why so many people distrust the activists. So, we will use this platform
to try and explain what is taking place and why our political prisoners
need your support.
ago, when I voted Clinton The Great, President of the People, back into
office, I truly believed that our government was creating a better world
for Americans, and by association, most people. But, like thousands
of others, I came to understand a great deal about how this country works
since then; and it is alarming. In Philadelphia, we marched and protested
in order to demonstrate that not only does "government" not mean what it
should, but it means something that decent people can not accept and would
not conscience being a part of.
by dispelling numerous widely held "notions" about our world and how the
USA fits. Widely held notion #1: The (global) economy is doing well and
improving. Truth: Thanks to inflation, the corporation, the job market,
and personal debt, most Americans are doing worse than we were 30, 40,
50 years ago! Our money is worth about 65% of what it was in 1950. 40 million
Americans, or 20% of the population, and 1 in 4 children, live in poverty.
The Kensington Welfare Rights Union, which coordinated the massive act
of civil disobediance on Sunday, proclaims that "everyone has the right
to food, clothing, housing, living wage jobs, health care and education",
as well as the reality that more and more Americans are finding themselves
out of touch with those goals. You ask yourself: how can 20%
of the population be legally destitute, when unemployment is less than
10%? Quick logic: Millions of people have jobs and still canít provide
for their families. So, we get two jobs. Or, we get into credit debt, double-mortgages,
borrowing; We rent, instead of owning; All to simply try and MAINTAIN the
quality of life that 6 and 7-figure folks in Washington think is "standard"
for us all! The economy is booming, sure. But, where is the
money going? Legislators obviously don't get that the poor and the
rest of us are NOT being served by their 6.50 minimum wage. We all
deserve and need better! So, we took this complaint to the Republicans,
and we'll take it to the Democrats a week from now.
#2: Social spending can explain #1. The government is throwing all the
money away on welfare and social security. Welfare mothers are destroying
the union. Truth: This is just code-language for targetting poor
people and minorities. As a society, we are so ashamed of our intense
inequality, that we blame the victims instead of reforming the system!
The federal government spends 130 billion dollars on welfare and other
social programs each year. It spends 450 billion on corporate welfare,
loaning money to already-wealthy businesses, so that they can get even
richer. So they can get paid to manufacture weapons and sell them!
So that they can produce goods that we canít afford. So that they can set
up "sweatshops" in other countries, where they pay even poorer people even
worse wages. Corporate Welfare.
spending is indeed ruining the country: but not the spending on people.
We agree that the current programs don't work, but we can't blame the people
for that. Stop letting politicians slander and scapegoat poor people.
Democrats and Republicans alike have convinced America that the government
can either spend a lot, or not, depending upon which one of them you put
in the White House. We want them to know that WE KNOW that the government
spends either way, and that WE want to see those investments turn into
something more than big military arsenals and private-sector profits.
held Democrat and Republican notion #3. Our nation is better than
all the rest. Truth: Ironically, living in this country is better than
in many others, largely because of U.S. influence. Recent protests against
the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
the World Bank (WB), and the U.S. Congress, as well as decades of uprisings
against them in other countries, have illuminated the atrocities that CREATE
poverty around the globe, and does NOT ELEVIATE it. In May, the Director
of the Third World Network told the United Nations that, " There is much
talk and conditionality to get transparency and democracy going at the
national level, and we NGOs have been part of this campaign in our countries.
But the major countries refuse to democratise at the international level,
where the global decisions are taken mainly by the G8 or the OECD or the
Bretton Woods institutions and WTO, without the adequate participation
of smaller nations, let alone the civil society. There has been the great
pressures of the rich countries to get the poorer countries to liberalise
their economies, but the North practises protectionism when they insist
on patenting their technologies, when they practise bio-piracy, when they
do not open their doors to labour coming from the South. "
is that multinationals abandon our job market and produce in countries
where itís cheaper. Then, they leave those economies in ruin, by using
up all the resources and making it impossible for their businesses to compete.
And, deny their people decent jobs here to survive. And, when all
that havoc is done, they ship the products back to us, since those people
obviously canít afford what theyíve created. Those nations
are forced to get obscene loans in order to put their economies back together,
and the social infrastructure is often damaged beyond repair. And,
whatís more, the corporations have done it thanks to our government. After
all, the conglomeration of giant banks and businesses like the IMF and
WB get a third of their funding from Americaís budget! Even more
money comes from America-based companies. And, they get another third from
other wealthy nations like Great Britain, Canada, and Europe. They
either get hand-outs, like corporate welfare. Or, they run the system
like one dollar one vote, making it impossible for poorer nations to get
fair treatment. And, we legally sanction their activities?!
Why? Would you support that?
People have to tell Congress to stop financing institutions like the WTO
and the WB until they make SWEEPING and EXTREME reforms in how they do
business. We have to make government stand up to these powerful national
and international forces that seek to subvert civil liberties for the sake
of a quick buck. This is what we've done in Seattle and DC.
This is what we've attempted to do in Philadelphia. And, just look
at the brutalized and suppressed political prisoners and activists before
you to see what this action has cost us.
#4: For better or worse, we have the best system there is. We should just
be happy with it. Truth: We can have a much better system. How many of
us think there are only two people vying for the job of president? How
many people believe that, between Bush and Gore, you will find a person
that will address your agenda and needs? How many people think school busing
or the past near-impeachment of the president, 2 of the biggest "campaign
issues", are as important as some of the other things we could address?
Here's a HUGE issue in the streets of Philadelphia, and all over the country:
the prison industrial complex and the "injustice" system of America.
Ask the Repugnicrats about the institutionalized racism that arrests AND
convicts blacks 200-300% more rapidly than it does whites. What about
the fact that this same criminal system is rapidly becoming private and
for-profit, meaning it makes it's living off of keeping people in prison
and NOT turning them into law-abiding citizens. And, now, they are
allowing businesses to put these same prisoners to work, wage-free, to
cut down on their commercial manufacturing costs. This all amounts
to modern-day SLAVERY, people!
has presided over 130 legal lynchings, most of them black men, in Texas
alone! Meanwhile, other states are accepting that the criminal system
is disturbingly flawed and putting a halt to the death penalty. The
federal court system has already done this, too. The protestors,
as well as millions of Americans, want to see Injustice and Racism out
of the criminal system, and Bush and Gore would apparently expand it!
they display their true characters by talking about what really matters
to them? Or if they care, why donít they talk about what really matters
to YOU? Why do only Republicans and Democrats get a chance to talk to in
broadcast debates? Do you know that there are at least 2 other serious
alternatives to Gore and Bush? Among them, Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan.
Candidates that are systematically and undemocratically excluded from national
debates year after year. We saw Ross Perot a few years ago, because
he spent a million dollars just to have a seat at the debates. So,
in Philadelphia and LA, we will try to let the Pepublicrats and the corporate
owned media know that other presidential candidates deserve a chance to
speak to the American people.
some of the reasons that we marched and rallied in Philadelphia.
The events ranged from an independent film festival with political documentaries
to a silent march for hand-gun control, to a mock wrestling match between
Gore and Bush impersonators, a rally around single-payer universal healthcare,
a march to end police brutality. Now, granted, some of us used more
aggressive and direct actions to get the media and the police and the government
to pay attention. Nearly half the arrestees did nothing more than
walk on sidewalks or hang out in a warehouse with large puppets, and they
landed in jail. Regardless, all this NON-VIOLENT action has gained
hundreds of us FBI files, arrest and/or criminal records, battered, bruised
bodies, verbal attacks, trumped-up charges, court dates, and so forth.
the streets, where Philadelphia "reserved" all public space for GOP usage
and forced protestors to SUE for the right to demonstrate, we chanted things
like, "Hey, hey, ho, ho. Poverty has got to go", "Ain't No Power
Like the Power of the People", "Who's Streets, Our Streets", "Racist Police,
No Justice No Peace", "This Is What Democracy Looks Like", and, "What Do
We Want? Healthcare. When Do We Want It? NOWĒ
the media and the authorities would have you believe that we protestors
hate America. Or that we donít respect Democracy. That we favor some other
system better than America. And, indeed, many protestors may. But, pay
attention. The evidenced and honest charge of many is that, in the
current system, we have no democracy! We have Republicans and Democrats
who fork over half the budget to powerful lobbyists, all-powerful corporations,
and "bought governments", at the expense of Americans and poor nations,
and call in "free" market Capitalism. And all the while, you and
I are duped into believing our way is the right and only way. That weíve
got nothing to complain about.
your bank account. Tune into the global news. Talk to your neighbors, poor
people, minorities, women... We all know better than what the Republicrats
are telling us. We know that people are hungry. That the environment is
suffering terribly. That the whole climate is shifting, as a result of
our "progress". That peoplesí; needs arenít being met by hospitals, schools,
and insurance companies, especially the poor. That they donít have safe
neighborhoods, and police and jail, the IN-justice system, are increasingly
more a problem then they are a solution, especially for blacks, hispanics,
and latinos. That we donít have the time for families and friends. That
the nationís claim to great wealth, though undeniable, isnít reaching our
of our precious freedom and privilege? If we were so free and privileged,
wouldnít we be able to stop all this? Wouldnít be able to stand up and
say, "No, we donít want it that way! Weíre not buying your story any more."?
Why canít we do that? Whoís stopping us from seeing whatís going on? Whoís
stopping us from waging the complaints that we have? Well, as you can see,
no one's stopping us. Weíve had enough. In the long-run, we're searching
for candidates and parties and people and institutions that stand for the
People. We're getting informed about the world and championing the rights
of marginalized people. We're getting to know our communities, dismantling
institutionalized racism, sexism, and homophoebia, and building solidarity
and unity. We're putting our lives and our freedom on the line, not
just to let the world know what we're about, but to achieve social justice
Sunday August 06, @06:58PM
Message from Prisoners at CFCF
By Prisoners at CFCF, forwarded by R2K Legal
24 male prisoners currently held at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
for our participation or attempted participation in the August 1st non-violent
direct actions against the Republican convention in Philadelphia. The carefully
choreographed conventions of both major parties have nothing to do with
democracy. They are corporate sponsored pageants designed to legitimize
a system of corporate class rule that crushes the human spirit and that
is destroying the planet. The criminal justice system of cops, courts and
prisons that targets poor and working class people in general and people
of color in particular is a cornerstone of a system that serves the rich
and maintains their rule. Our actions in the streets of Philadelphia were
intended to shine a light on the incarceration of 2 million people in the
U.S., on the systematic use of police brutality to terrorise whole communities,
on the racism and cruelty of the death penalty, on the many political prisoners,
including Mumia Abu-Jamal, who are caged for their commitment to social
were aimed at disrupting the Republican convention to the best of our ability.
While we're sorry any inconvenience we may have caused the people of Philadelphia,
we are proud of what we did to expose this rotten system. From the moment
of our arrest we have experienced and witnessed the workings of a system
designed to dehumanize people. Many of us were brutalized in the course
of arrests. Some of us were beaten or peppersprayed after we were handcuffed.
In jail as many as nine people were packed into cells designed for two
people. People with dietary restrictions went without food for up to 48
hours. In some cases our hands and feet were cuffed together and some of
us had our cuffs so tight that we lost feelings in our hands or bled as
denied the opportunity to meet with our lawyers prior to arraignment and
were arraigned in a court room closed to the general public with the exception
of select members of the capitalist media. We were arraigned with a court
appointed public defender serving as counsel despite our explicitly and
repeatedly stated desire to be represented by our own counsel who were
denied access to the proceedings. We were charged with a variety of misdemeanors
and in a few cases with felonies. Our individual bails have been set at
between $10,000 and $1,000,000. Many if not all of the charges against
us are either greatly exaggerated or completely falsified.
Correctional Facility [County Jail] we have been placed in a special pod
where we have little contact with other prisoners. While we regard our
conditions here as dehumanizing we recognise that we are receiving special
treatment such as extra food. So far we have not been beaten or physically
hurt by personnel here.
this process we have sought to resist and stand in solidarity with each
other to the best of our abilities. Almost all of us have refused to give
our names. Many of us have had to be physically dragged through the various
stages of this process. We have kept our spirits high through singing and
chanting and pounding on our cell walls. We developed systems for communicating
with each other and for reaching decisions by consensus. Many of us ripped
the bracelets intended to identify us off our wrists. We resisted fingerprinting
and attempts to photograph us. Some of us have refused food. In jail we
stripped naked to make our processing more difficult. In the course of
all this we have discovered strengths we never knew we had and have built
a wall of solidarity based on profound love and respect for each other.
We have drawn particular strength from the proud defiance of the sisters
whose loud voices we have heard and whose acts of resistance we have occasionally
been able to witness. While our access to information is restricted we
are aware of the efforts of those on the outside to assist us. We love
you all. We are in here for you and know that you are out there for us.
that our experiences so far strongly vindicate us in our decision to take
powerful action to expose the brutality and injustice of the so-called
criminal justice system. As we go through this process we are learning
personally of the mistreatment people experience every day in this country.
As a group of mainly white and mainly middle class men we know full well
that the treatment routinely received by poor people, people of color,
and other marginalized people is much worse than what we have received.
have had little contact with other prisoners, that contact has been overwhelmingly
positive, they know why we are here and they let us know in many ways that
they support our actions and respect our commitment and solidarity. In
turn we are learning from them about the workings of the prison and their
own traditions of resistance. They have our respect, admiration and solidarity.
So far the efforts of some personnel to cultivate distrust and antagonism
between us and the other prisoners have failed.
political prisoners: We are being held on outrageous charges, in many cases
with no foundation whatsoever in our actual actions; Our bail figures are
far out of proportion even for the crimes we are falsely accused of; We
are here because of our political commitment and because we dared to defy
the corporate powers that be as they were attempting to give a veneer of
popular support to the rule of the few.
on those who support us to continue to put pressure on the Philadelphia
authorities to win our quick release. We urge you all to continue to organize
protests on our behalf and to write and call the mayor's office, the prosecutors
and the prison authorities to demand: 1.Our immediate and unconditional
release on our own recognizance 2. That all charges be dropped and 3. That
prisoners with dietary restrictions (vegans and vegetarians) be provided
with adequate food that they can eat.
officials and let them know that you support our demands: District Attorney
Lynne Abraham 215-686-8701 Mayor John Street 215-686-2181 City Solicitor
Ken Trujillo 215-683-5003
30 of us
have gone on hunger strike to win these demands. We want everyone to know
that we are in good spirits and remain strong in our solidarity. We come
from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, but we are united in our
commitment to genuine democracy and an end to corporate rule in general
and to the criminal injustice system in particular.
FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS
STOP POLICE TERROR
TEAR DOWN THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
END THE DEATH PENALTY
John Doe "JD" Professor John Doe ODB John Doe Wolfman John Doe 6010 "Dinger" John Doe "That's not good for business" John Doe Slick
Camilo Viveiros Jr.
John Doe 6013
John Doe Mac
John Doe Mango
John Doe "B.A."
John Doe Sparky
John Doe Flea
John Doe "Hank H. Parts"
John Doe "Wisp"
John Doe Tennessee/Jimnikov
John Doe Buckshot
John Doe GOD
John Doe Switchblade
John Doe Ms. Pac Man
John Doe Zeke
Torturous Conditions in Philly Jails
By Amy (Amethyst)
that I was arrested with was kept on a bus for 5 hours that had windows
that only went down about 2 inches. It was in the 80s outside and in the
90s at least on the bus. We were given only 2 "squirts" of water during
left in handcuffs for about 6 hours. The cuffs were so tight that people
were bleeding and our hands were swelling. Once we were in the "Roundhouse"
jail) we were placed 7 or 8 per cell. The cells are 5 1/2 by 6 feet.
conditions were still happening when I left. The temperatures inside were
extremely cold the first few nights but we were denied blankets and people's
long-sleeved shirts were taken away. After the first few days they seemed
to crank the heat and it became extremely warm.
on our cell block was in solitary (same type of 5 1/2 by 6 foot cell but
with plexiglass covering the bars except for the bottom foot or so). We
screamed and chanted for her to be let out of solitary (one of our demands)
and in retribution the cops stuck 9 more people in her cell. (This coincided
with when the heat seemed to be turned up).
were complaining that they could not breath but the guards refused to let
them out for what seemed to be several hours. People are being denied medical
of a cheese or peanut butter sandwich which is given only twice per day
at random times. They seemed to be trying to break people mentally by keeping
us constantly awake so the sandwiches would often be delivered at weird
times like 3 a.m.
also trying to play people against one another by only delivering a few
peanut butter sandwiches or allow 1 person per cell to have a phone call
hoping we'd start fighting with one another. (But we didn't--people are
really taking care of each other).
everyone was denied a phone call. In 4 days I wasn't allowed to make one.
denied legal representation from R2K. When one person fired the public
defender and asked for a R2K lawyer her bail was doubled. There were people
in a holding room outside the regular cell blocks who were able to use
the phones but on Wednesday afternoon the phones were turned off and we
were able to hear guards in the men's cell blocks saying things like "Stand
up and walk like a man, bitch" following by crashing sounds, screams and
the guard saying "You think that one hurt?"
several episodes of people being dragged, cuffed wrist to ankle and being
slammed into walls, doors and file cabinets. There were also several people
I saw who were having their fingers and arms twisted, were being choked
and were having their toes stomped on by guards.
Roundhouse the men and women are able to communicate through the walls
and we sang and chanted in support of one another.
are also doing an amazing job taking care of each other. (And the jail
support group is doing an awesome job on the outside). But the media in
Philly are all reporting on what an excellent job the cops are doing and
the media elsewhere are ignoring the situation entirely. 400+ people arrested
and most of the people in the country don't even know it happened, which
is why it is so important that everyone call the numbers below from the
email I'm forwarding. And try to think of some other tactics as well. I'm
too fried to think of any ideas but I hope that you will be able to. I'm
sorry that this is written so incoherently but I needed to get the word
out before I can rest.
email me back if you have any questions. PLEASE do something about this!!!!!!!!!!
Chief of Police, John Timoney, (215) 686-3280, fax (215) 925-0738
Mayor John Street, (215) 686-2181, fax (215) 686-2180
Mayor's Office - Complaints (215) 686-3000
--Private Criminal Complaints (215)686-9863
--D.A. Lynne Abraham (215)686-8703, 686-8700, fax(215)563-0047
--Mayor's Chief of Staff Stephanie Franklin-Suber (215)686-7508, fax(215)686-5223
--Cook, Assistant to Chief of Police (215)686-3388
--John Galligher, Assistant to Chief of Police (215)686-3022
--Captain Fisher, Civil Affairs (215)685-3684
--Deputy Commissioner Mitchell (handles demonstrations) (215)686-3364
--Chief Maxwell, Head of Detectives & Criminal Investigation, (215)686-3362
--City Solicitor Ken Trujillo (215)683-5003, fax(215)683-5068, ktrujillo@a...
--Thomas Costello Commissioner (215)685-8201