Open Letter in Solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street Movement
The Jericho Amnesty Movement (JAM) is in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS)! We come to you at a time when the corporations, which run our government, place profit over people; self-interest over justice; and oppression over equality. As we gather together in solidarity to express opposition to mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We want all the people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world to know that we are your allies. We acknowledge the reality that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights; and that upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect our own rights, and those of our neighbors. Corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth. No true liberty is attainable when the process is determined by corporate economic forces.
Those who are imprisoned are locked up because of the same economic forces that fund Wall Street. For example there are private prisons and ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] detention centers that are run by companies such as GEO Corporation who are funded by big banks such as Wells Fargo. There is also a struggle to free people who are incarcerated for their political beliefs and actions and who have resisted this monstrous economic system. And it is the same economic system that locks them up. This is our struggle for U.S.-held Political Prisoners (PPs) and Prisoners of War (POWs) and invites your participation.
OWS has and will continue to have Political Prisoners itself as long as there is a state to repress THE PEOPLE! OWS has taken the initiative to confront the state head on just as the PPs and internal POWs who fought and continue to fight from captivity the good fight for Indigenous rights, Black Liberation, Puerto Rican independence, Chicano/Mexican people, Hawaiian sovereignty, or Earth and Animal Liberation. These revolutionary causes all intersect in confronting state repression and addressing racial and socio-economic inequalities. Just as today’s bankers and corporate/political elite are committing a grave injustice by turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the grievances of the 99 percent, the majority of the Amerikkkan body politic did the same thing to those young people who were at the forefront of the popular revolutionary movements of the ’60s, ’70s and subsequently. It is time to right those wrongs.
The Americas have been colonized for the past 500 years. In other words Wall Street itself has already been colonized. This means that the indigenous lands of the Native people also have a first priority. We decolonize because we know this land is already occupied. We decolonize because communities of color have been on the front lines of the 99 percent here and globally for centuries. We decolonize because the system is not broken; it is working exactly the way it was intended. We decolonize because any movement that doesn’t acknowledge this replicates oppression. International law recognizes people’s right to struggle for decolonization.
October 15, 2011 marked the 45th anniversary of the date Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton wrote the first draft of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP) Ten-Point Program and platform. That program became representative of the aspirations of many revolutionary groups of that era who were fully committed to eradicating the rampant injustices inherent in the bogus Amerikkan capitalist system as they were dedicated to ushering in a social order of genuine peace and prosperity for all children, women and men transcending all class, cultural, ethnic and racial distinctions. They were driven by a set of standards and values rooted in genuine brotherhood and sisterhood. Likewise, they were motivated by a desire for an equitable distribution of wealth and a fair economic, political and social system; not, at all, unlike the one envisioned by those who are part of today’s OWS movement. Some lost their lives in that struggle in the U.S. domestic war known as COINTELPRO, such as Fred Hampton. Others were forced into exile, such as Assata Shakur. Others have been imprisoned for decades, such as Leonard Peltier, Oscar Lopez Rivera and Sundiata Acoli.
The role of the police in many of the occupations and related actions has been one—is one—of brute force, bullying, tasering and jailing. We have seen them carry out, as ordered, various forms of brutality, political repression and other forms of state sanctioned terrorism. Although the police are working people, for the state, we must remember that there might be potential allies within the police and intelligence services and probably a good number of them would rather not be doing their jobs. Perhaps they would rather be farmers, ranchers, or small storeowners. Moreover, all are not unconscious of the difficult moral and psychological sacrifices they make to carry out their job. They really are human, despite the uniform that many hide behind. We can only hope that those people will break their own shackles and rid themselves of the galling yoke of capital. And we must help them do that by defending our own human rights and those of others locked down during previous periods of struggle for equality, justice and human rights!
OWS has rightly refused to tie its movement to one or another demand that the system could try to satisfy while ignoring the fundamental problems that produce such symptoms. However OWS would be justified in raising the demand for freedom of those who have tread the path of resistance and, remain, to this day, unjustifiably imprisoned for pursuing the very same basic human rights that are at the center of the platform of today’s popular movement. We express our deep sense of mutual support and the spirit of mutual aid.
We are our own liberators! Free all Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War!
—The Jericho Amnesty Movement, December 16, 2011