The following statement was read by Nathanael Secor before his sentencing at the plea hearing of October 19, 2010.
While this case has always been about the criminalization of dissent, it would be disingenuous to characterize me as a victim of the state. I openly admit before the court and everyone assembled that I conspired to commit criminal damage to property. This decision was mine, and was not swayed by the blockading strategy of the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group of which I was part but which never advocated property destruction.
Others have been similarly charged in the resolution of their cases, but there are many people and departments who will never be held accountable for the actions they have actually carried out. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office and other cooperating agencies broke down unlocked doors and used violence and threats for the political purpose of repressing activists and agitators working to expose the injustices of colonial wars and environmental destruction. We are told this is called “keeping the peace” and was done in the name of “justice,” yet when other people find it necessary to go beyond the sanctioned means of protest, they are called “terrorists”. And the stakes are high – at the RNC we saw hundreds of protestors arrested and subsequent terrorism charges both used to justify a $50 million security budget and an absurd degree of social control on the part of the police.
The message is clear: there are those who make the decisions, those who enforce the rules, and if you fail to acknowledge this or if you work to change this inequitable distribution of power, there are consequences. And while some of us are able to walk away from this situation relatively unscathed, there are segments of the community and the world that the state deems it acceptable to harass and intimidate on a daily basis, who face severe consequences. For these people, survival is a political act and breaking the rules means risking routine physical violence or death. This is why struggling against this system of exploitation is so integral – because many of us as people of relative privilege are uniquely positioned to address the legacies of colonialism, hetero-patriarchy, and classism that are the sources of so much violence.
We must seize every opportunity to abolish these institutions of domination. We must be prepared to firmly face the politics of business-as-usual. And we must continue to work for nothing less than full liberation.
Tags: Nathanael Secor