gregory_a_k

“What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.”—Karl Marx
gregory_a_k » Posts for tag 'criminal'

Opening Remarks at Occupy4prisoners Chicago

Opening remarks by former prisoner Gregory Koger at LaSalle & Jackson on February 20th for the Occupy4prisoners march and rally in Chicago:

Photo courtesy FJJ

Amidst these financial buildings that literally and figuratively concentrate the stark reality of a system that puts the interests of profit over people, where commodities produced collectively by the people all across the world are bought and sold in trading pits and electronic blips on computer screens, and where the wealth of all that labor is wrenched away from the 99%, the people who created it, and into the coffers of the 1% – and the class that rules over society – Occupy Chicago headquarters at LaSalle and Jackson stands in the shadow of a federal prison. The Metropolitan Correctional Center, which we will be marching to momentarily, looms in eerie silence a block away from the Federal Reserve Bank, just beyond the Chicago Board of Trade.

This is emblematic of the omnipresent invisibility of the nearly 2.5 million men, women & children locked down in the hellholes of America’s historically unprecedented system of mass incarceration – and the millions more, mainly youth and people of color, who live under the threat of incarceration or the stigma and discrimination of life branded as a “criminal” or “felon.”

Wall Street and much of the financial district of Manhattan is built on the bones and bodies of slaves, and the first slave market in New York was built at the end of Wall Street. This system was founded on slavery, the extermination of the native peoples and the theft of their land, and the theft of half of Mexico.

Prisons have been integral to enforcing the brutal inhumanity of this system, repressing whole sections of society as well as groups and movements who have risen up in struggle for liberation. After the Civil War, “slavery by another name” was reimposed on Black folks through a Jim Crow system of racist laws that had former slaves arrested for such “crimes” as vagrancy and forced to labor for corporations – and sometimes even forced back to the owners of the plantations from which they were just freed.

When workers began to form unions and struggle against capitalist exploitation, the police and prison cells were waiting. When Black folks in the South began to stand up in determined struggle to demand to be treated as human beings, the police were there – with clubs and dogs and water hoses and jail cells. When broad sections of people rose up in the 1960s, the rulers of this system were profoundly shaken by the power of the people and unleashed wave after wave of repression, including assassinating and imprisoning leaders of the movement. And, as we’ve seen in our time, the coordinated national repression of the Occupy Movement – which we must stand against.

"Free 'em all!" - Occupy4prisoners Chicago formerly incarcerated: (from left) Gregory Koger, Fred Hampton, Jr., Dickey Gaines, and Darby Tillis. Photo courtesy FJJ.

"Free 'em all!" - Occupy4prisoners Chicago formerly incarcerated: (from left) Gregory Koger, Fred Hampton, Jr., Dickey Gaines, and Darby Tillis. Photo courtesy FJJ.

Recognizing and fearing the power of the people, the rulers of this system set out to prevent any liberating movement from developing again. And as they searched for ways to more profitably exploit people in other countries, and took the factories and industrial jobs out of our cities, so began the explosion of mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow, with a constant and growing stream of primarily Black and Brown people ripped from their families and intentionally defunded communities into the prison-tombs springing up across the prairies and plains.

Today we stand with thousands of others across the country in support of the bottom 1% of the 99%, locked down in prisons and jail cells and immigration “detention centers” across the country…

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Smart Phones & Dumb Laws: Will Your Cellphone Make You A Criminal?

Join me November 9th for a discussion on the rising wave of repression against people who document dissent and police misconduct:

Smart Phones & Dumb Laws Will Your Cellphone Make You a Criminal? Wednesday, November 9 – 6 PM DePaul University Law School, 1 East Jackson, Rm. 241 Lewis A Forum On The Rising Wave Of Repression Against  People Who Document Dissent And Police Misconduct In Illinois, it is a major criminal offense to use a cell phone to audio record the police - EVEN IN A PUBLIC SPACE!  You can be sentenced to 15 years in prison!  Only 1 other state makes this a crime.  Why does Illinois have this dumb law?  Why does our police force want to conceal its actions? Cell phones give everyday people amazing power to document injustices, protests, and misconduct by police and officials.  Look how important they were to ordinary citizens across North Africa and the Middle East who used this technology during the Arab Spring to record and share the truth of their lives and their uprisings.  But in our country, police and prosecutors are taking increasingly repressive steps to stop this use of smart phones by arresting people who record events, even when it’s perfectly legal. Meet with a panel of notable legal experts to get the facts: Robert Johnson successfully represented Tiawanda Moore, who faced felony eavesdropping charges for audiotaping police as she attempted to have an officer investigated who sexually accosted her.  Mr. Johnson is a partner at the Chicago civil rights firm of Smith, Johnson & Antholt, LLC. (www.lawsja.com). Jed Stone, a criminal defense lawyer from Waukegan, Illinois, is a fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers who has been recognized as a Leading Lawyer in criminal trial defense and criminal appeals. He has appeared regularly on the Chicago Lawyer’s list of top criminal defense lawyers. Mr. Stone represents Gregory Koger, who is appealing misdemeanor convictions stemming from videotaping a peaceful statement at a public meeting of the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago (www.dropthecharges.net). Mark Weinberg, a civil rights attorney in Chicago, represents Chris Drew, who faces felony eavesdropping charges for audiotaping his own arrest as he challenged Chicago’s restrictions on artists selling their works on public streets (www.art-teez.org).  For more information: adhoc4reason@gmail.com • depaul.nlg@gmail.com • (773) 629-0572  Sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, DePaul University College of Law and Chicago-Kent College of Law Chapters of the National Lawyers Guild, Ad Hoc Committee for Reason, Chicago Women’s Caucus for Art, and the Chicago Chapter of World Can’t Wait. (We are currently applying for 1 CLE credit.)

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