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labor | prisons & prisoners

Portland forms General Defense Committee

Announcement of the formation of a Portland Chapter of the General Defense Committee.
A meeting was held on April 15th, to begin organizing a Portland Chapter of the General Defense Committee (GDC). Members of the Portland General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World are organizing a local branch of the General Defense Committee, to respond to the need for prisoner support on the part of Fellow Workers, Working Class Activists, Anarchists and others. The next meeting of the organizing committee is scheduled for May 13th.

Membership in the GDC is open to all who agree to the GDC preamble:

The aims of this organization shall be to provide defense and relief to members of the working class who are being persecuted for their activity in the class struggle.

Coordinating our efforts will enable the General Defense Committee to oppose the vicious onslaught of the master class with a powerful defense, especially when labor is engaged in industrial strife.

It has been found in past labor struggles that the lack of adequate defense has resulted in many of the most active fighters for labor being arrested and imprisoned for long periods of time or being legally murdered by the employing class.

It shall be the purpose of the General Defense Committee to aid those who find themselves persecuted by the powers that be in their struggle for justice and freedom.

It shall also be the purpose of the General Defense Committee to publish and distribute literature exposing the false and reactionary propaganda of the master class.

By organizing the many and centralizing their efforts in each instance, labor will be given the protection of the entire working class, thereby making an injury to one the concern of all.

The GDC's web page explains the benefits of the GDC as follows:
Any member of the IWW or GDC in good standing may petition the GDC for direct aid in their legal defense on charges resulting from protests, picketing, or other acts related to job action or activist causes. This aid may include bail, bond, or legal aid, and may take the form of a grant or a no interest loan. Members may also rest assured of solidarity from the organization, including motions of support, letters writing, and public education as to the case (or cases) in question.
The Portland GDC chapter plans to coordinate its efforts with organizations sharing the same general goals, such as Anarchist Prisoners Legal Aid Network (APLAN), Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) and others.

Members receive a GDC membership card and button, periodic publications on GDC campaigns and actions, and opportunities to work on pressing issues of prisoner support. If you would like to join the GDC, please send a note to:

Portland General Defense Committee
c/o Portland GMB
PO Box 15005
Portland, OR 97293-5005