Columbia University Hind’s Hall defendants reject deals in solidarity with the CUNY 22

Originally published: Mondoweiss on June 28, 2024 by The Hind’s Hall 46 (more by Mondoweiss)  | (Posted Jul 02, 2024)

Editor’s Note: At their first court appearance on June 20, 2024, protesters arrested for seizing Hind’s Hall at Columbia University announced they will be refusing deals unless their comrades at City College of New York are offered the same. At a press conference outside the courthouse, they read out a statement of solidarity with those facing the most extreme repression in the movement.

Below is the full text of their statement.

Free Casey Goonan! Free Jack Mazurek! Free the Cop City 61! Drop the charges of the Merrimack 4 and the Mountain Valley Pipeline land defenders! Free the Holy Land Foundation 5! Free Leonard Peltier!

Free Palestine; Long Live the Intifada.

We stand here today united by our action and the Palestinian cause. The state has attempted, once again, to divide us, dismissing some of our cases and offering others deals in accordance with their “outside agitator” narrative. As ever, we categorically reject this division as one drawn along arbitrary, classist lines meant to preserve the sanctity of Columbia University—not an institution “in the City of New York,” but always above and apart from it. All of us who took part in the liberation of Hind’s Hall were driven by the same necessity to escalate, to escalate for Gaza, to resist the savage genocide of our siblings in Palestine. We exercised our shared right to oppose the U.S. war machine, by putting our bodies upon the gears of Columbia, one of its most well-oiled domestic components.

We follow the lead of the CUNY22 and others facing felony charges, in not taking any deals and presenting a united front against state repression. Those of us offered deals today have unanimously opted not to accept them. In this moment, we face counterinsurgency tactics that the state has spent decades perfecting, that we currently see weaponized with extreme brutality against our comrades in the movement with little to no public attention. We refuse to abandon our co-defendants, or to tacitly endorse the state’s definitions of “legitimate” and “illegitimate” protest, while the same state perpetrates a genocide. We insist that property is not sacrosanct, but life is. We call on all people to stand in solidarity with those who take direct action to resist the genocidal and ecocidal force of imperialism.

Just during the first week of June, the U.S supported the Israeli massacre of over 300 Palestinians in the Nuseirat camp.

Meanwhile, this Monday in Berkeley, California, Casey Goonan was arrested for allegedly setting fire to university property and burning cop cars in defense of the Student Intifada. Their bail has been set at one million dollars. We say: DROP THE CHARGES!

This February, Atlanta PD, the Georgia State Patrol, SWAT, and FBI arrested Jack Mazurek for his involvement in the Stop Cop City movement, for alleged arson. We say: DROP THE CHARGES!

This past November, 4 Palestine Actionists were arrested and are currently facing over 30 years in prison for allegedly targeting an Elbit facility, one of the largest arms suppliers for the Israeli genocide in Gaza. We say: DROP THE CHARGES!

This past September, 61 Atlanta forest defenders and nearby music festival attendees were arrested and slapped with racketeering, domestic terrorism, and RICO charges intended to criminalize protests, fundraising, and legal advocacy against Cop City. We say: STOP COP CITY, STOP COP NATION, DROP THE CHARGES!

In Virginia and West Virginia, Mountain Valley Pipeline protestors face trumped up felony charges for defending their land against extractive industries that destroy our planet and all life on earth. We say: DROP THE CHARGES!

The Holy Land Foundation 5 are five Palestinian men who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned over fifteen years ago for the “crime” of sending food and medicine to orphans in Palestine. Three of them remain incarcerated with decades-long sentences. We say: FREE THEM ALL!

These types of state repression are part of a long standing effort to isolate our freedom fighters and sentence them to death by incarceration. This is why we say FREE LEONARD PELTIER AND ALL PRISONERS OF WAR AGAINST U.S. EMPIRE!

Under the condition of U.S.-led genocide against the Palestinian people, the expansion of the militarized police state, and the devastation of our planet, we must continue escalating in our tactics until we make life for the war mongering ruling class absolutely untenable. The settler-colonial university, the dozens of cop cities being built nationwide, and the global regime of U.S. empire are all dealers of death, not just in Gaza but also here in our own communities. We say that all forms of principled action taken against genocide are justified. We stand with everyone who has put themselves at risk to fight against the imperialist machine. We demand their freedom.

We refuse to operate under the fiction that the American legal system upholds justice. Our oppressors will not grant us liberation through sanctioned channels for dissent. Let us be clear: the aim of punitive legal procedures is to intimidate and stifle the movement, to divert energy and urgency from the genocide the U.S. and Israel have been carrying out for the past nine months. This is a blow meant to finish what the pigs started with their pistols, circular saws, and flash grenades during our arrests, namely, the goal of intimidating us into silence.

But we recognize our enemy everywhere: in the Israeli military’s constant atrocities live-streamed from Gaza; in the extensive media apparatus manufacturing consent for genocide; in the Israeli-trained police forces building cop cities to quell insurrection locally, and export racist and colonial violence across the world; and at Columbia, where Rebecca Weiner, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, serves as a professor at the School for International and Public Affairs.

It was Weiner who held a leading role in deploying fascist pigs on us at Hind’s Hall. She is truly an enemy to Harlem and to greater New York who demonstrates Columbia’s commitment to genocidal colonialism.

As we entered Hind’s Hall, we were acutely aware that we could never fully comprehend the horrors endured by the people of Gaza over the past nine months. From the outset, our actions have been clear and deliberate: we stand with resolute solidarity from within the epicenter of the war machine that is relentlessly bombing refugee camps in Palestine.

Pacifism is not the path towards liberation. In order to achieve victory, we must escalate and continue to sharpen the contradictions in this imperialist state. Just as we refuse to condemn the Palestinian resistance, we refuse to condemn direct action in the United States.

We reject all efforts to divide our movement. We reject state repression in all forms across all fronts of struggle. We stand in full support of any and all efforts to liberate oppressed people everywhere, by any means necessary. Free Palestine.

— The Hind’s Hall 46

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