BK/NY – Tuesday, November 22nd – Letter-Writing Dinner For American Indian Warrior Leonard Peltier
WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinner
WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016
WHERE: The Base – 1302 Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11221 (directions below)
It’s supper time again, and we’re back at The Base for our every-other-week Political Prisoner Letter Writing Dinner. As anarchists, it should come as no surprise that we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving– we’ll take your damned day off from work, but not in exchange for commemorating the historic and ongoing genocide of indigenous folks and the 250 million turkeys who are killed each year. While we might be eating the fruits of the fall harvest, don’t confuse that with an acceptance of the Thanksgiving myth.
Leonard Peltier is an American Indian Movement (AIM) warrior. In the 1970s, the United States government continued its legacy of decimating indigenous communities, focusing on those organized and prepared to challenge its authority. Peltier is imprisoned for the 1975 shoot-out between the FBI and AIM in which two federal agents and an indigenous man were killed. Four years after his imprisonment, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request released documents which prove Leonard Peltier’s innocence and the FBI’s targeting him. And still, Peltier remains imprisoned. For more information and ways to help, visit whoisleonardpeltier.info
Leonard and his support team have launched a massive campaign to get the current president to issue clemency to Leonard on his way out of office. In this year of indigenous resistance in Standing Rock and the solidarity actions surrounding it, it is on folks on the outside to make clear that the warriors who get captured by the State for resisting its oppression and colonialism will not be forgotten about and will have continual support. This means supporting folks who are being arrested on the front lines of this struggle today as well as those like Leonard, who has been a prisoner of this colonial war against indigenous folks for four decades.
Leonard recently released this statement about Standing Rock and #NoDAPl:
Greeting Sisters and Brothers:
I have been asked to write a SOLIDARITY statement to everyone about the Camp of the Sacred Stones on Standing Rock. Thank you for this great honor. I must admit it is very difficult for me to even begin this statement as my eyes get so blurred from tears and my heart swells with pride, as chills run up and down my neck and back. I’m so proud of all of you young people and others there.
I am grateful to have survived to see the rebirth of the united and undefeated Sioux Nation at Standing Rock in the resistance to the poisonous pipeline that threatens the life source of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. It is an honor to have been alive to see this happen with you young people. You are nothing but awesome in my eyes.
It has been a long, hard road these 40 years of being caged by an inhuman system for a crime I did not commit. I could not have survived physically or mentally without your support, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul for encouraging me to endure and maintain a spiritual and legal resistance.
We are now coming to the end of that road, soon arriving at a destination which will at least in part be determined by you. Along the lines of what Martin Luther King said shortly before his death, I may not get there with you, but I only hope and pray that my life, and if necessary, my death, will lead my Native peoples closer to the Promise Land.
I refer here not to the Promise Land of the Christian bible, but to the modest promises of the Treaties our ancestors secured from enemies bent on their destruction; in order to enable us to survive as distinct peoples and live in a dignified manner. Our elders knew the value of written words and laws to the white man, even as they knew the lengths the invaders would go to try to get around them.
Our ancestors did not benefit from these Treaties, but they shrewdly and persistently negotiated the best terms they could get, to protect us from wars which could only end in our destruction, no matter how courageously and effectively we fought. No, the Treaties were to the benefit of the Americans, this upstart nation needed the Treaties to put a veneer of legitimacy on its conquest of the land and its rebellion against its own countrymen and king.
It should be remembered that Standing Rock was the site of the 1974 conference of the international indigenous movement that spread throughout the Americas and beyond, the starting point for the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The UNDRIP was resisted by the United States for three decades until its adoption by the UN in 2007. The US was one of just four nations to vote against ratification, with President Obama acknowledging the Declaration as an aspirational document without binding force under international law.
While some of the leaders of this movement are veterans of the 1970s resistance at Pine Ridge; they share the wisdom of our past elders in perceiving the moral and political symbolism of peaceful protest today is as necessary for us as was necessary for the people of Pine Ridge in the 1970s. The 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee ended with an agreement to investigate human rights and treaty abuses; that inquiry and promise were never implemented nor honored by the United States. The Wounded Knee Agreement should be honored with a Truth and Reconciliation Commission established to thoroughly examine the US government’s role in the “Reign of Terror” on Pine Ridge in the 1970s. This project should be coordinated with the cooperation of the many international human rights organizations that have called for my immediate and unconditional release for more than four decades.
I have to caution you young people to be careful, for you are up against a very evil group of people whose only concern is to fill their pockets with even more gold and wealth. They could not care less how many of you they have to kill or bury in a prison cell. They don’t care if you are a young child or an old grandmother, and you better believe they are and have been recruiting our own people to be snitches and traitors. They will look to the drunks, the addicts, and child molesters, those who prey on our old and our children; they look for the weak-minded individuals. You must remember to be very cautious about falsely accusing people based more on personal opinion than on evidence. Be smart.
I call on all my supporters and allies to join the struggle at Standing Rock in the spirit of peaceful spiritual resistance and to work together to protect Unci Maka, Grandmother Earth. I also call upon my supporters and all people who share this Earth to join together to insist that the US complies with and honors the provisions of international law as expressed in the UNDRIP, International Human Rights Treaties and the long-neglected Treaties and trust agreements with the Sioux Nation. I particularly appeal to Jill Stein and the Green Parties of the US and the world to join this struggle by calling for my release and adopting the UNDRIP as the new legal framework for relations with indigenous peoples.
Finally, I also urge my supporters to immediately and urgently call upon President Obama to grant my petition for clemency, to permit me to live my final years on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. Scholars, political grassroots leaders, humanitarians and Nobel Peace Laureates have demanded my release for more than four decades. My Clemency Petition asks President Obama to commute, or end, my prison term now in order for our nation to make progress healing its fractured relations with Native communities. By facing and addressing the injustices of the past, together we can build a better future for our children and our children’s children.
Again, my heartfelt thanks to all of you for working together to protect the water. Water is Life.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Typically we would only ask that folks write to Leonard on this occasion, and while still encourage you to do so, the most important thing you can do for Leonard right now is to plug in to his clemency campaign. Below are the ways you can help to free Leonard as provided by his legal and support team:
- Call President Obama for Leonard Peltier: 202.456.1111 (White House Comment Line) or 202.456.1414 (White House Switchboard); and send a text to these numbers if your cellphone provider allows for text-to-landline service (a fee may apply) .
- Email President Obama: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments.
- Post a comment on Obama’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/potus or message him at https://www.facebook.com/whitehouse (or https://m.me/whitehouse).
- Send a tweet to President Obama: @POTUS or @WhiteHouse and use hastags #FREELEONARDPELTIER #LeonardPeltier and/or #FreePeltier.
- Write a letter: President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500.
- Watch the calls to action by the Human Rights Action Center. Then please urge President Obama to grant clemency.
- Also visit the 2016 clemency campaign for Leonard Peltier hosted by Amnesty International – USA and take action.
- The Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA), DOJ, welcomes communications regarding clemency matters. Express your strong support of Leonard Peltier’s application for clemency in a letter, email and/or phone call to the OPA. Make reference to Leonard Peltier #89637-132 and his application for clemency dated February 17, 2016. Urge the OPA to recommend to President Obama that he grant clemency to Leonard Peltier: Honorable Robert A. Zauzmer, Acting Pardon Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20530; Telephone: 202.616.6070; Email: USPardon.Attorney@usdoj.gov.
If you wish to write to Leonard in addition to helping him out by taking the steps to pressure the president to issue him clemency, you can write to him at:
Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP Coleman I
Post Office Box 1033
Coleman, Florida 33521
The deal, as always, is that you come bringing only yourself (and your friends and comrades), and we provide you with a delicious vegan meal, information about the prisoners as well as all of the letter-writing materials and prisoner-letter-writing info you could ever want to use in one evening. In return, you write a thoughtful letter to a political prisoner or prisoner of war of your choosing or, better yet, keep up a long-term correspondence. We’ll also provide some brief updates and pass around birthday cards for the PP/POWs whose birthdays fall in the next two weeks thanks to the PP/POW Birthday Calendar.
Getting to The Base is simple:
From the M Train:
Central Avenue Stop: Walk east on Myrtle Avenue (away from Hart Street, toward Cedar Street). We’re about two blocks down on the south side of the street.
Knickerbocker Avenue Stop: Walk west on Myrtle Avenue (away from Harman Street, toward Himrod Street). We’re about three blocks down on the south side of the street.
From the L Train:
DeKalb Avenue Stop: Walk south on Stockholm Street (away from Wyckoff Avenue, toward Irving Avenue). We’re about four blocks down, at the intersection of Stockholm Street and Myrtle Avenue.
From the J Train:
Myrtle Avenue Stop: Transfer to the M train and follow the above directions