Click here for a PDF version of the following statement.
Statement in Solidarity with All Grand Jury Resisters
We acknowledge the strength and courage of those who have been steadfast in their non-cooperation with the State. The government utilizes grand jury investigations as a tool against our communities and we the undersigned stand firmly against all cooperation with these proceedings. Grand juries have been used as a tool to silence and intimidate activists connected to AIM (American Indian Movement), Black Liberation, Chicano, and Puerto Rican Independence movements, as well as anti-imperialists, anti-war activists, queer liberationists, and the women's liberation movement. More recently anarchists, animal liberationists, Black Panthers, radical environmentalists and individuals from Indymedia and Wikileaks have been called to testify. Arab Americans and Muslim communities in particular have been targeted.
When subpoenaed to a grand jury we have the responsibility to resist. Cooperating with a grand jury validates the State's efforts to destabilize movements and fosters distrust. Noncollaboration is a political and ethical stand against illegitimate authority and builds greater resistance to the injustices of the government. Transparency about any contact with the State builds trust within our movements and exposes the machinations of the State.
The purpose of grand juries is not solely to indict individuals in order to prosecute, convict, and incarcerate them. The larger goal is to dismantle social movements through a campaign of harassment and intimidation while simultaneously collecting information that cannot be obtained by other legal means. Grand juries are an attempt to map our relationships, beliefs, and activities and sow seeds of fear in our movements for social change. These goals are accomplished by intimidating individuals and coercing their cooperation.
While there is not one right way to respond to a grand jury subpoena, sharing information with the government is never acceptable. Even seemingly innocuous information can be used against us. The most common forms of resistance have been refusing to enter the grand jury room and/or entering the grand jury proceeding and giving only your name. Whichever stance is taken must be accompanied by a path of transparency and accountability.
Although many lawyers have supported decades of non-collaboration, do not assume that your attorney shares your goal of resistance. It is important to retain your political power and maintain your stance of non-cooperation. It is an attorney's job to advocate for their clients, but it is our job to advocate for the movements under attack. Resisting grand juries is not just an individual issue, it is an issue of mutual care and respect for our communities and struggles. Therefore, any strategy that is based on secrecy or which isolates you should be viewed with great caution.
We believe that no one should talk to the FBI or a grand jury. People from our communities who knowingly give information show themselves to be untrustworthy. Everyone has a choice to make when the State calls on us to testify: We believe non-cooperation is the most ethical choice. Resisters have found they had strong support and we have found that grand jury resistance has enabled us to organize solidarity far beyond the boundaries of our own movements. When we resist grand juries, we choose to be part of a long legacy of resistance that strengthens our movements and in turn weakens the State.
Long-term political, material and emotional support for those subpoenaed must be swiftly organized. The path of non-cooperation can be difficult as the government aims to isolate and punish those who resist. Building movements of resistance requires that we support and stand alongside anyone who risks their personal freedom for the health and safety of the greater community.
Only by practicing transparency, utilizing a strategy that benefits movements as a whole, and working together, can we begin to build movements that are capable of resisting the crushing weight of government repression.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED OPPOSE GRAND JURIES AND PLEDGE TO OFFER SUPPORT TO ALL RESISTERS:
GRAND JURY RESISTERS
Judy Gumbo Albert, 1971 Grand Jury Resister
Lyndon Comstock, 1973 Grand Jury Resister
Bernardine Dorhn, 1982 Grand Jury Resister
Jose Lopez, 1978 Grand Jury Resister
Ricardo Romero, 1978 & 1981 Resister
Eve Rosahn, 1981 Grand Jury Resister
Bilal Sunni-Ali, 1983 Grand Jury Resister
Fulani Sunni-Ali, 1983 Grand Jury Resister
Terry Bisson, 1985 Grand Jury Resister
Bob Lederer, 1985 Grand Jury Resister
Kazi Toure, 1985 Grand Jury Resister
Akinyele Umoja, 1985 Grand Jury Resister
Watani Tyehimba, 1988 Grand Jury Resister
Rob Wells, 1990 Grand Jury Resister
Henry (Camo) Bortman, 1990 Resister
Josh Harper, 2001 Grand Jury Resister
Lindsay Parme, 2003 Grand Jury Resister
Richard Brown, 2005 Grand Jury Resister
Ariana Huemer, 2005 Grand Jury Resister
Stella Sythe, 2005 Grand Jury Resister
Josh Trenter, 2005 Grand Jury Resister
Nadia Winstead, 2005 Grand Jury Resister
Kerry Cuneen, 2012 Grand Jury Resister
Dennison Williams, 2012 Grand Jury Resister
Maddy Pfeiffer, 2013 Grand Jury Resister
Leslie James Pickering, Grand Jury Resister
FORMER POLITICAL PRISONERS
Ida Luz Rodriguez
The San Francisco 8
All Power To The Positive (dot) Info
Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee
Bay Area Committee to Stop Political Repression
Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (The San Francisco 8)
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
Denver Anarchist Black Cross
East Bay Prisoner Support
Earth First! Prisoner Support Project
Jerry Resists Support Committee
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
National Boricua Human Rights Network
National Jericho Movement
New African People's Organization
Prison Activist Resource Center
Sacramento Prisoner Support
Seattle Anti-Repression Committee
South Brooklyn Anarchist Black Cross
Washington Incarceration Stops Here