Mark Adams’ Hunger Strike (Occupy’s Political Prisoners Update)
Earlier this week I wrote about Occupy’s Political Prisoners, specifically Mark Adams (shown in the video to the right) and the NATO 5. There have been new developments in both cases.
Mark Adams, sentenced to 45 days (of which he is expected to serve 28 at Rikers Island) for his involvement in the December 17 reoccupation attempt, has reportedly begun a hunger strike.
Support Mark Adams quotes a statement by Adams:
Yesterday, Trinity Wall Street “Church,” the NYPD and the State of New York sentenced me to forty five days in jail for my political beliefs and actions. … On [December 17], my intention was to facilitate the on-going efforts to convince Trinity Church that our use of the space was consistent with their principles and mission. I wanted the unused and deserted lot to the community within Occupy Wall Street and beyond, so that through collective grassroots effort we would build an alternative society built on mutual aid, solidarity and anti-oppression.
For those intentions, I am now serving a forty-five day sentence on Riker’s Island. In response I have taken my protest out of the streets and into the jails. As of 2pm June 18, 2012 … I have been on a hunger strike. I will continue the hunger strike until I am released, to draw attention to the political nature of my arrest, sentencing and the greater themes and goals of the occupy wall street movement. This punishment has further strengthened my resolve to build a society, alongside my comrades, that does not further the corporate agenda of the prison industrial complex, compassion for all, community, solidarity, and mutual aid for all. Everything for everybody.
11 Indictments for the NATO 3
Brian Church, Jared Chase, and Brent Betterly, the three activists charged with terrorism (and arrested with FDL’s TarheelDem in the same terrifying raid) were indicted by a grand jury on July 12, but the defense was not allowed to know their charges! The National Lawyers Guild finally obtained this information June 20.
From an NLG note on the Occupy Chicago Press Relations Facebook page:
In addition to the previous State charges of material support for terrorism, possession of an incendiary device, and conspiracy to commit terrorism, prosecutors also charged the three defendants — Brent Betterly, Jared Chase, and Brian Jacob Church — with additional counts of possession of an incendiary device, attempted arson, solicitation to commit arson, conspiracy to commit arson and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, totalling 11 charges each. All three defendants remain in jail on $1.5 million bond.
This case is noteworthy not just because of its political nature or the use of informants, but that it is the first time charges have been brought under Illinois’ terrorism statute. Unlike the Occupy Cleveland case, apparently the FBI was not involved. (Update: Kevin Gosztola of Dissenter clarifies below: “I don’t know if there’s conclusive evidence yet that the FBI isn’t involved. I just know from the coverage I’ve been doing of the NATO 5 that the feds abandoned these cases and left it up to the state of Illinois to prosecute these men.”)
Natalie Solidarity wrote a moving account of jail support for the NATO 5 in Occupied Stories:
Jail support is hard on the heart. When three of the NATO5, Brent, Jay, and Jacob were lead into court, shackled at their waists, wrists, and ankles, I leapt to my feet, eyes blurred by tears of hot rage. These children, barely old enough attend college, were dressed in mustard yellow jumpsuits with the letters DOC [Department Of Corrections] screaming from their backs. They looked so small. Bulletproof glass separated me from rushing into the court and hugging them. The following day, I watched the final two members of the NATO5, Mark and Sebastian look equally as small and helpless in their jumpsuits, powerless against Cook County Attorney General Anita Alvarez’s kangaroo court. While being lead away to their isolated cells and away from us, they glimpsed us standing and raising our fists to them in solidarity.
Support Occupy’s Political Prisoners
Here is slightly updated information on writing letters or sending packages to Occupy’s political prisoners (I’ve also updated my previous post):
- * Support Mark Adams offers this Mark Adams Letter Writing Guide
- * Get Mark Adams updates and send solidarity messages via @WeLoveMarkAdams on Twitter
- * Read Occupy Chicago’s Jail Support Page for NATO 5 letter-writing information and how to donate books or other items.
If you’re near New York City or Chicago: