Resistance to grand jury repression and witch hunts is a vital aspect of building a fighting solidarity movement that can break the teeth of state repressive efforts through unity and silence.
Grand juries have historically been a tool to spread fear and create isolation and division within the peoples’ movements. The lessons of the Puerto Rican and Mexicano grand jury resisters of the 1970s, and numerous other cases, is that the best response to grand jury repression, the one that defeats such efforts and lays the basis for ongoing principled resistance and counter-organizing, is non-collaboration.
The corollary of freedom of political speech is freedom of political silence in the face of an inquisition. The grand jury is designed specifically to take away the one right the forces of repression have been forced to turn into a byword — “the right to remain silent.”
Grand juries incarcerate and attempt to criminalize people for their silence. This is the new McCarthyism, an attempt to get people to name names and to be more concerned about individual consequences than collective and social survival and liberation.
We must raise our voices in the streets — and stand with those who maintain our silence in the star chambers — to defeat such repressive fishing expeditions.
Michael Novick is editor of Turning the Tide: Journal of Anti-Racist Action, Research & Education, author of White Lies, White Power: The Fight Against White Supremacy and Reactionary Violence,” a member of the Jericho Amnesty Movement to free all political prisoners, active in Occupy L.A., and the chair of the local station board of KPFK, Pacifica radio in Los Angeles, CA.