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Wednesday Watercooler


Tonight’s musical selection is “Don’t Fuck With My Money” by Penguin Prison. Thanks @RealLipsMcgee for the suggestion.

Jeremy & Jason Hammond

Quinn Norton argues that the Hammonds exemplify the spirit of American dissent.

Journalist Quinn Norton wrote “The Value of Dissent,” an open letter in defense of Jeremy Hammond to the judge responsible for his fate. From Medium:

I am an American journalist, and have come to this place to tell the story of a nation trying to reinvent itself. Tunisia is trying to become a free nation after a heroic revolution threw out an autocratic dictator. It is, to say the least, a hard job. Activist and artists still routinely face jail time here. It is apparent that learning to be a free nation is a difficult and never-ending job.

Our respect for political activism, art, and dissent is something beautiful in the American story. We have always differentiated between law breaking for gain, and law breaking for principle, even when we disagreed with the principle. It is my hope we always will.

I covered Anonymous and the Occupy movement extensively during the time of Hammond’s crime. The rhetoric of both groups was sometimes unrealistic and often sophomoric, but in an age where life or death policy and politics is often a matter of lobbying and horsetrading, I found these activists had a rare heart. Anons called each other brother and sister. They argued and fought and grandstanded to each other, but they cared, and they were willing to put their lives and honor on the line. It was the courage that makes better worlds that I witnessed in those spaces, if not yet careful political thinking. But all things start immature.

We may not approve of the methods people like Hammond have used, but we need the meaning of it in this ossified and halted American political discourse. We need to teach the next American generation to dissent; that dissent is our way.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and