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Announcement :: Human Rights : Labor : Organizing : Politics : Race : War and Militarism
ALERT: Drop the charges against the Smoke Shop Seven!
02 Jan 2007
Drop the charges against the Smoke Shop Seven!
Jail those responsible for the attack, from governor Carcieri on down!
Hands off the Narragansett tribe!

Working Class Emancipation calls for a DEFENSE PICKET LINE:
All day on Tuesday, January 16
at the Rhode Island fourth district court:
4800 Tower Hill Rd., Wakefield, RI (take RIPTA #66)
Drop the charges against the Smoke Shop Seven!
Jail those responsible for the attack, from governor Carcieri on down!
Hands off the Narragansett tribe!

Working Class Emancipation calls for a DEFENSE PICKET LINE:
All day on Tuesday, January 16
at the Rhode Island fourth district court:
4800 Tower Hill Rd., Wakefield, RI (take RIPTA #66)

A Supreme Court opinion that outrageously violated the Narragansett tribe's right to self-determination, arguing that the state of Rhode Island could arrest Native Americans on their own lands, has effectively reopened criminal charges against seven Narragansetts who were arrested in a July 14, 2003 raid on the tribe's smoke shop in rural Charlestown, RI.

Early on that Monday afternoon, state troopers stormed out of woods to attack the smoke shop. The tribe members formed a line to defend their land. Gangs of officers with police dogs snarling and biting, threw them and their customers to the ground, breaking bones and dealing bruises and bitter humiliation. "They pulled the chief down. They put a young girl on the ground," Rachel Sylvia, an Aztec from East Providence, told the Providence Journal. "I didn't think anything the likes of this could happen in America ... This happens in Iraq. They showed my chief no respect," said Bella Noka, who is among those facing frame-up "assault" charges. The cops stole nine hundred dollars and a truckload of cigarettes.

Three and a half years later, the Democrats and Republicans in Rhode Island remain united in pursuing their racist vendetta against the Narragansett tribe. Seven tribal members, including Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas, who was thrown to the ground and piled on by six cops and a police dog, are facing charges of assault, obstruction, and resisting arrest. Republican Governor Carcieri and Democrat Attorney General Patrick Lynch conspired to attack the tribe with the state police. Afterwards, Lynch and Democratic state assemblyman Paul Moura leapt to the defense of the state troopers when Carcieri offered a half-hearted apology.

The attack was part of a long-running dispute between the impoverished tribe and the state over money. This was how the state defended its monopoly on tax revenues on tobacco sales. The confrontation was forced when the state maintained its hard line of opposition to a Narragansett casino, again, to protect its profitable slot machine and lotto monopoly. The tribe was forced to open the smoke shop as an act of protest against the state's acts of economic sabotage.

But the fundamental issue is the unconditional right of the Narragansetts, and of all oppressed nations, to self-determination. The police had no right to invade the Narragansetts' land, or to lay a finger on any native American. The capitalist courts and legislators, who have presided over five hundred years of "legal" genocide and theft, have no right to judge the Narragansetts or to interfere in their business. Workers, youth, and oppressed people have no interest in defending the state's gambling and cigarette revenues at the price of native sovereignty, just as we gain nothing from paying taxes ourselves for more war, police, and prisons, to support the government of our exploiters.

We call on all the unions and student groups to mobilize a massive picket line outside the fourth district court in Wakefield on Tuesday, January 16, for the unconditional defense of the Smoke Shop Seven -- Matthew Thomas, John Brown, Hiawatha Brown, Randy Noka, Bella Noka, Adam Jennings, and Thawn Harris -- against these racist frame-up charges.
See also:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/labor_action/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/emancipation_news/

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