Lessons on the Acquittal of the J20?

By Teka Lark and Arun Gupta (December 22, 2017)


Teka Lark:

We are celebrating people being acquitted of being charged with a crime for exercising their First Amendment rights against Trump?! We are celebrating that?! I am pissed! They should not have been charged in the first place.

If anyone on the left think this is a win for us, I hope to god you aren’t leading anything.

This is what it has come to please let me protest, please allow me sleep on the street, please let me work 20 hours a day with no health insurance….

Get off your damn knees and stop begging for your humanity, it is embarrassing.



Arun Gupta:

The first six defendants in the Trumped-up inauguration mass arrests have been found not guilty of all charges. This is a great relief, but at best it’s a highly qualified victory, and until the Left learns some basic lessons it will never progress beyond its impotent isolation.

This case was a blatant instance of not just prosecutorial overreach, but naked state repression.
For a year, about 200 defendants have been charged with bogus crimes that would put them in jail for 70 years. It was highly unlikely they would ever be found guilty because the arrestees were kettled and the state admitted there was no evidence they participated in the window smashing and limousine burning. But it was that level of property destruction enabled the prosecutors to file the felony riot charges.

In other words, it was the nihilistic smashy-smashy brigade that gave the state the hammer to use against the left. If there was no property destruction, those charges could not have been filed.

If you’ve never faced criminal charges, even false ones, you don’t know what it’s like to live under that fear and anxiety. Activists say this show trial has undermined organizing in the Washington-Baltimore region, where many of the arrestees live. In New Orleans, one young man charged with felonies related to J20 actions there committed suicide earlier this year.

These trials suck up resources. They require enormous fundraising and support networks

All of this is vital and necessary. But for the Left it’s a no-win situation. If convicted, people’s lives are destroyed. Even if everyone is found innocent, the state still wins because all that energy that could have gone into organizing is instead redirected into a purely reactive, defensive struggle. And for those who are acquitted, it doesn’t matter how much money they may get. This type of experience stays with you for the rest of your life, and colors all your future political activity. For the state, any settlement is just the cost of doing business.

The worst part is this didn’t have to happen.

Talking with other journalists and longtime organizers, there is evidence this may have been a state set-up from the beginning. I am not ready to name names, but given statements that were made before the protest by some involved, alarm bells should have ringing that J20 might be entrapment. (Please don’t speculate openly as to who or what I am referring to.)

Remember that J20 is the same demonstration where so many leftists were giddy that Richard Spencer got punched in the face. I hope half as much attention is paid to learning organizing lessons and how to confront state power in these dangerous times as was given to chuckling over Nazi-punching memes.



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