rn: Statement from IMF/WLD BANK prisoners


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

I just listened to the news: apparently millions of people in 3 states in
western India face dying of thirst & starvation (and riots) because of the
worst drought known in that region.

I mention this because such suffering is too much to forget about or to try
to make sense of all by myself.

Meanwhile, the suffering endured by those who got arrested for all of our
sakes in Washington is impressive too, as you will see below. And even more
impressive, that there are real reasons to hope because of the movement, and
there are many to whom we owe much gratitude for their solidarity and
perseverance in the face of brutality and what seems at times to be an
endless, fruitless struggle.

all the best, Jan

From: "Viviane Lerner" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: FW: Public Statement from Jailed IMF/World  Bank  Protestors (4/23)
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000 20:59:11 +0100

-----Original Message-----
From: •••@••.••• [mailto:•••@••.•••] On Behalf Of
Tina Purnat

Contact Information:

Ben Hale: 631-331-5915; •••@••.••• (New York)
William Slattery: 619-867-6000; •••@••.••• (San Diego)
Gabriel Freeman: 360-866-2120; •••@••.••• (Seattle)


Statement to the Public by Jailed IMF/World Bank Protestors

(The following statement was written by 70 of the male protestors arrested
during the IMF protests and incarcerated for the past week. The writers
consolidated ideas, suggestions, and editorial comments for the letter by
passing suggestions between bars, from cell to cell.)

We, the male prisoners arrested in Washington, D.C. during the week of the
A16 demonstrations against the IMF/ World Bank (April 16-22, 2000), wish to
express our solidarity with our fellow inmates, as well as with prisoners
around the world who die and are tortured daily, often simply because they
ask to be treated fairly, equally, and justly. Second, we wish to express
our sincere thanks
to the many supporters who stayed outside the jail in solidarity with us,
and to those many who sent e-mails, wrote letters, and made phone calls on
our behalf. Also, we would like to thank the elected officials and members
of congress who supported us. We wish to express our deepest thanks to the
noble and tireless efforts of the volunteers with the Midnight Special Law
Collective and the National Lawyers Guild. Most of all, we would like to
express our deepest gratitude to our sisters in the adjacent cell block,
whose powerful spirits and attitudes kept us strong during the past week.
Collectively, this supportive response stands as testament to a growing
worldwide community of resistance to unjust economic globalization and to
the increasing corporate control over our daily lives.

Over the past five days we have been shuttled through the D.C./Federal
judicial system. Despite the relatively trivial charges that most of us
received ("crossing a police line", "parading without a permit", or
"incommoding") and our shared decision to remain silent when asked to
identify ourselves, we were subjected to a series of "divide and conquer"
tactics, both psychological and physical. We were denied contact with our
lawyers for consecutive periods of more than 30 hours at a time; left
handcuffed and shackled for up to eight hours; moved up to 10 times from
holding cell to holding cell. Many of us were denied food for more than 30
hours and denied water for up to 10 hours at a time. Though many of us were
soaking wet after Monday's protest, we were refused dry clothing, and left
shackled and shivering on very cold floors.

For no apparent reason, some of us were physically attacked by U.S.
Marshals;  we were forcefully thrown up against the wall, pepper sprayed
directly in the face, or thrown on the floor and beaten. At least two
individuals were forced against the wall by their necks in strangulation
holds, with threats of further violence. This sort of violence was
perpetrated against at least two juveniles in  order to separate them from
the larger group. The U.S. Marshals told us that we would be going to D.C.
Jail, where we would be raped, beaten, and given AIDS  or murdered by
"faggots" and "niggers".

  Chief Judge Eugene Hamilton, in a shocking violation of legal ethics,
appointed public attorneys for each member of our group and ordered them to
post our  bonds while we were still in the D.C. Jail, expressly against our
wishes and best interests. In fact, though we asked repeatedly for our own
lawyers, we were assigned public defenders who consistently acted in the
interests of the

All of this came after the excessive violence used against peaceful
demonstrators in the streets of Washington. (Violence perpetrated by police
included running people over with police motorcycles, clubbing, beating,
pepper spraying, tear gassing, trampling with horses, and systematically
fabricating scenarios to legitimize police actions in the eyes of the

After our arrests last week, many of us chose to remain anonymous to protest
these abuses. We chose to show solidarity with our fellow protestors who
were unjustly charged with felonies and misdemeanors in the act of
non-violent civil disobedience against the IMF and the World Bank. It is
clear to us that the District of Columbia and the Federal Government, by
trumping up charges, by  arresting frivolously, and by keeping us in jail
for a week, had much less of a problem with our alleged infractions than
with the fact that we spoke our minds  and faced up to their brutality and
threats. Simply put, our jail time was not about our trivial charges, but
instead about our peaceful, nonviolent, and  successful exercise of our
constitutionally protected rights to freedom of speech and freedom of

  Despite efforts by prison officials to alienate us from the resident
inmate population, we continue to feel a great sense of community and
solidarity with them. Unlike the "brutal monsters" that the racist,
homophobic U.S. Marshals described to us in offensive and threatening
detail, we found our fellow inmates  to be intelligent, caring, and
passionately concerned about injustice inflicted on all members of our
society by governments, as well as injustice perpetrated by U.S. based
corporations, around the globe. Many were informed about the  severe
injustices caused by IMF/World Bank programs which have forced hardships on
the majority of the world's people. Together we discussed how life in a D.C.
prison resembles the life of residents in the third world. In the same way
that corporate investors profit from the sustained poverty of poorer
countries (poverty sustained in part through the loans and polices of
IMF/World Bank), so too do many investors profit from the sustained
incarceration of U.S. citizens as prisons in the U.S. become privatized. The
increasing privatization of prisons creates perverse incentives for prisons
to incarcerate citizens in a system that benefits from what can only be
called "slave labor."

We believe that the increasing injustices of the prison system and of the
IMF/World Bank are fueled by the same naked greed. Racism, homophobia,
sexism, global and local environmental devastation, the ongoing campaign to
criminalize basic labor organizing tools, and many other forms of oppression
  are merely symptoms of a system that places profits above all other
values. We  believe that love, compassion, liberty, and basic human and
environmental rights should be the driving forces in our society. We are
determined to help create a world in which these values are stronger than

Our movement is a small part of a worldwide brotherhood and sisterhood
joining in solidarity with all the impoverished, oppressed, and progressive
people of earth. For us, breaking the law is not a frivolous gesture, but
rather a  last-resort means of exposing the immense powers that we all face
when we attempt to create real, ethical change. We continue to draw
inspiration from the civil rights, anti-nuclear, anti-war, environmental
justice, labor rights, and anti-oppression movements. Who are we? We are
your sons and daughters, your sisters and brothers, your fathers, mothers,
grandfathers, and
grandmothers. We are your co-workers, your fellow parishioners and rabbis,
your healers, your teachers, and your students. We will continue to risk
arrest,  and if necessary resist with our very lives, until we expose this
world as one in which profits come before people, so that a more just,
humane, and free global society may take its place.

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