(eng) Message from Kieran Knutson

transmis par counter@dialup.francenet.fr (JOLSON@polisci.umn.edu)
Fri, 1 Mar 1996 19:39:47 +0100


A VICTORY FOR ONE IS A VICTORY FOR ALL!

Dear Family, Friends, & Comrades,

On Sunday, January 28th, a jury unanimously found me not guilty of any
crime for defending myself against a neo-nazi at an anti-racist
demonstration back in October of 1993.

It was a huge victory for all of us. The prosecutors thought they could
harass and intimidate the anti-racist/anti-fascist movement, and
imprison one of its activists. Instead it is the state that feels
humiliated, thanks to the strong support of my family and friends, the
work of the Anti-Fascist Defense Committee, and the long hours put in by
Keith Ellison of the Legal Rights Center.

There is no doubt that this was a political prosecution. From the
circumstances of the charges, through the closing prosecutors arguments-
it was an active, effective militant anti-racist movement that was on
trial. But while they were able to prosecute me for being an anti-racist
activist, they were unable to convince a jury that fighting racism was a
crime.

More than two years ago a small group of people came together to build
support for my defense. Members of the Anti-Fascist Defense Committee
devoted a good chunk of their lives to organizing protests and phone
zaps, writing pamphlets and opinion pieces, reaching out to allies
locally, across the country and internationally, holding fundraisers and
forums, ensuring that every day of court was packed with supporters, and
just trying to keep all of our chins up. I have a lot of love and
respect for all those who were involved in all aspects of the campaign
and all those who supported it by donating money, writing letters, and
spreading the word.

During the course of the campaign, the Anti-Fascist Defense Committee
also helped rejuvenate Anti-Racist Action, a youth based anti-racist,
direct action organization that is part of a national network. ARA
continues to work against police brutality and white supremacist groups
like the Ku Klux Klan and Northern Hammer Skinheads.

The Anti-Fascist Defense Committee will probably continue in some form.
As the growing anti-racist/anti-fascist movement will undoubtedly face
similar circumstances in the future. (Already in Columbus, Ohio, some
anti-racists face felony charges from counter-demonstrating against the
KKK.)

The Legal Rights Center and its director Keith Ellison deserve special
thanks. Keith, who always works for free, was not expecting a two-year
long battle, complete with visits to the State Court of Appeals, when he
volunteered to take my case on. But his own commitment to activism and
real justice ensured consistently excellent legal representation.

I want to also thank my mom April, my dad Jim , my sister Katrina, and
Justine (my closest comrade) for their active support over the last two
years. I love them alot and think they are way cool. Our movement
doesn't often get big victories, so it's important to celebrate them, to
gather energy and inspiration for the struggles ahead.

Solidarity,

Kieran Frazier Knutson