Over two hundred people mass-arrested during the demonstrations against Trump’s Inauguration are facing felony rioting charges punishable by up to ten years in prison apiece. Though these people were arrested simply for happening to be on the same city block, the prosecutor has not dropped or diminished the charges, instead using the court process as a kind of judicial harassment.
Since April 2016, when the Sacred Stone camp was founded, there have been nearly 800 arrests in the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline. These include state charges ranging from misdemeanor criminal trespass to felony terrorizing and rioting, federal charges against six Indigenous Water Protectors, and an active grand jury convened to investigate the activities of everyone resisting the pipeline. While the camps have been evicted and the people forcibly removed in a militarized operation, resistance continues.
Meanwhile, Trump and his cronies have been spreading conspiracy theories about protesters, alleging without a shred of evidence that they are being paid to protest. The idea is to delegitimize dissidents by accusing them of the same profit motive that Trump and his cronies are flagrantly pursuing in the full light of day. These outright lies send a message to far-right vigilantes that they will have a free hand to attack demonstrators and dissidents without consequences from the state.
In short, the state is opening a new phase of repression. Having done nothing to protect the black people, Muslims, and Jews targeted in an explosion of racist and anti-Semitic attacks, the state is openly carrying out its own attacks on Middle Eastern refugees and immigrants from Mexico and Central America, and now aims to crush everyone who opposes this. The one-two punch of state repression and vigilante attacks is calculated to destroy social movements, softening up America so Trump can force through his totalitarian agenda.
What We Can Do
Make sure that everyone who has been arrested has all the resources they need to see them through the court process so they can get back out on the street and active again. Below, you can find a list of fundraisers to support arrestees. Donate right now while you’re thinking about it! What do you want people to do when you are facing charges?
Set up benefit events to raise funds for the defendants. You could set up a punk show, a dance party, a cake auction, or a bake sale; you could do the rounds with a donation jar at a bookstore or farmer’s market.
Organize an event for the upcoming grand jury resistance tour that the Water Protector Anti-Repression Crew from Standing Rock is setting up.
Help people understand Trump’s disinformation campaign as propaganda intended to set the stage for a totalitarian crackdown. This isn’t an issue for protesters alone—everyone’s freedom is at stake here. Any precedents that are set in repression against protesters will be used against everyone else.
Identify key figures responsible for this wave of repression and put direct pressure on them, connecting them with the crackdown on freedom. Make it clear that there will be personal consequences for taking the side of oppression.
Drop banners, post fliers, set up educational events, and distribute information about the charges and how to support arrestees. Make sure the subject is on everyone’s minds at all times.
Refuse to cooperate with state investigations and grand juries. Teach people to know their rights, to remain silent when police and federal agents interrogate and threaten them, to support grand jury resisters.
Keep fighting. The best defense is a good offense! If there is a powerful movement against Trump and the forces he represents, defendants from the previous clashes will be more likely to receive the support they deserve. Keep organizing new efforts against Trump, police, nationalists, and the pipelines and profiteering from which they draw their power.
Publishing the following links to these support campaigns in no way indicates that the defendants in question endorse this call for solidarity, nor that they have ever been exposed to anarchist politics or this site in particular. The point is simply that everyone swept up in these charges deserves support.