Free (Jeffrey Luers)
Statement to the Break the Chains Conference
[Free (Jeffrey Luers) is an environmental activist and political prisoner. In May 2001, he was handed an extremely heavy sentence of 22 1/2 years for his participation in the destruction of several Sports Utility Vehicles, as well as other, more dubious charges. He is currently in "The Hole" at Oregon State Penitentiary for a letter that he wrote to the Earth First! Journal.]
I've been asked to write something for this conference - and I find myself not knowing what to say. There are over two million prisoners in the USA, and that number grows daily. Presently, hundreds and maybe thousands of Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent are illegally imprisoned, denied basic human rights and civil rights in the name of freedom. It is startlingly reminiscent of the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II.
The war against terrorism will be much the same as the war on drugs. Thousands of people will be placed in prison - only under new rules you don't have to be charged with a crime to be held indefinitely.
The USA is flexing its muscles, daring anyone to challenge its power. From without it threatens with overwhelming military power. From within it threatens with fascist laws designed as much to intimidate as punish.
The "great land of freedom" has gone from a genocidal nation to a fascist superpower. This lesson was already learned once in history. If the German citizens who opposed Hitler would have challenged him early on, the Holocaust may have been avoided.
In this dangerous age of nuclear threat, if we do not challenge this fascist system the world could face disaster. Change must come from within, and by any means necessary.
I urge everyone in attendance to go back to their homes and start building community. Develop programs to feed children and educate them. Create independent news to educate adults. Reclaim space to grow food and build / create housing. It is only by building a broad movement supported by the people that change can occur.
This broad base can then support our militants that take the fight to the front lines. They must have your support. There must be funds for attorneys ready to go before they are needed. People who risk their lives and freedom to challenge oppression in its many forms must know that they have support. We must never leave anyone to face prison time alone.
We must build a strong prison support network that can challenge the system on every level. Much of this can be learned from countries such as Ireland, Spain and England.
When injustice is done there must be no silence. The system must be hounded every day and every night until all political prisoners, and all prisoners of war are free.
In the spirit of total resistance -
Jeffrey Luers #13797671
2605 State Street
Salem, OR 97310
The Break the Chains conference will be held Aug.8-10 at University of Oregon in Eugene. It is dedicated to fighting repression, supporting prisoners, and eliminating prisons altogether. By providing anti-prison education, building on existing prisoner support efforts, learning from veteran prison activists, and initiating new campaigns against the prison industrial complex, this conference is intended to initiate a new era of heightened prisoner support and anti-prison activism.
For more information about the conference, including our full mission statement and a list of speakers / participants, see: http://www.breakthechains.net/btcconference/index.html
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