For immediate release October 11 2019
Contact: Press contact Refuse Fascism: (917) 407-1286
NOT GUILTY VERDICT in UCLA TRIAL
Defendants at Bruin Bear, Westwood Entrance UCLA Campus 5:00 pm
This statement was made by defendant Tala Deloria* on behalf of all the defendants in the case of the UCLA 5:
Today a jury in West LA returned a not guilty verdict in the trial of the UCLA5. This is an important victory for the people – for the millions who hate the Trump/Pence Regime and who want to see them OUT NOW!
This is a prosecution of students who stood up to the loyal fascist in Trump’s inner circle – an arrest instigated by the University of California – and prosecuted by the “liberal” city attorney. A jury not only saw through a case that included a judge erasing an important reference to the first amendment in the law in his jury instructions, and evidence suppressed by the prosecution until the last minute – but saw as their responsibility the importance of people standing up and speaking out, and demonstrating their opposition with the only vehicle they have to meaningfully oppose a regime that MUST BE STOPPED. It shows how important it is that people do this and support those who do, and it shows that millions more must do the same.
When even speaking truth to power is criminalized – that is normalizing and facilitating fascism. That is something the University and the City Attorney are GUILTY of.
When the #UCLA5 defendants, including a student and alumni, spoke out against Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at UCLA, we were physically removed from our seats and arrested within a minute of speaking. We were targeted by University Administrators who have crafted a protocol that is criminalizing dissent and violating constitutional First Amendment rights of people using their voices to expose and protest a regime that is trampling over political and social norms, imposing a fascist America – where the press is “the enemy of the people,” political opponents are “locked up” or sent “back to where they came from,” where the rights of immigrants to asylum are abrogated as the humanity of LGBTQ people and women is under assault.
Many outrageous things came up through the course of this trial. Police reports recorded evidence of UCPD spying on the Revolution Club. Evidence was suppressed until the end of trial that proved the police brutalized us and lied about it on the stand, which compelled the judge to drop our resisting arrest charges. The jury was not allowed to see this evidence. The judge omitted a part of the law that could allow the jury to acquit us based on an exception for first amendment speech and assembly.
And we learned that our prosecutor held a meeting with UCLA administrators about how to handle free speech on the campuses AFTER we were arrested at the Mnuchin event.
The University is couching an attack on meaningful dissent in the name of free speech, but this is NOT about that. It is about facilitating fascism and collaborating with the very people who are gutting the rule of law and the separation of powers, crushing dissent and opposition, and imposing open dictatorship as they carry out and intensify crimes against humanity.
“We must confront the reality that the world as we have known it is being torn asunder. This requires getting out of our comfort zones and not allowing our differences to stand in the way of rising together in an unprecedented, unrelenting mass struggle to confront the danger of a Trump/Pence fascist America.” (RefuseFascism.org)
As this trial is taking place, this regime is refusing to cooperate with the one legal recourse Congress has, throwing this country into a full-fledged constitutional crisis. Trump doubled down on his genocidal, xenophobic rhetoric in Minneapolis. They are not backing down.
This acquittal is a victory. It is important that people on the jury saw the stakes and took the right stand, but this should never have gone to trial in the first place. And it has to be asked WHY UCLA and City Attorney Mike Feuer are going to such great lengths to prosecute people who were calling out and trying to prevent all of this. At a very time that the university should be protecting students, critical thinking, and the right to dissent this prosecution is an outrage and a facilitation of fascism.
This UCLA policy for “events that elicit protest” sets a dangerous precedent that needs to be challenged and overturned. But even more than that people must see that if this is allowed, if people do not stand up to it, and if people do not act themselves, we will again be forced to accept even greater atrocities.
The fact that we are being criminalized for opposing this juggernaut shows you cannot rely on the institutions of this putrid system. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have answers to the horrors their system perpetuates. They are confined to debates about the aesthetics of condemning people to death as the fascist program maintains the initiative. We in the Revolution Club understand it will ultimately take a revolution to bring into being a society that does not stand in the way of people working together to solve these problems. And right now, given that people’s positive aspirations from reform to revolution will be greatly foreclosed by the consolidation of fascism, given that humanity and the planet are at stake, every person of conscience, whether revolutionary or not, must be out in the streets demanding that this regime step down from power.
To the administrators who had people arrested, who testified against us, SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! As Bob Avakian put it, “It used to be a common saying to the person of the right ‘order is more important than justice,’ while for the person of the left it is the opposite. Now the question is put squarely to liberals, and really to everyone. Which, after all, is more important? Order? Even if that is the order of fascism, with everything that means. Or justice? Even if that means stepping outside of our comfort zone and putting ourselves on the line to prevent this fascism from consolidating its rule and fully implementing its program.”
University administrators have shown themselves to be the most craven supporters of those the fascists in power. Assistant Vice Chancellor Mick Deluca upholds Martin Luther King Jr. in the same breath that he makes sure we are arrested for opposing someone who has defended overt white supremacist statements by Trump – on behalf of Nazis in Charlottesville, rabidly denouncing those who took a knee in the NFL, and attacking Congresswomen with xenophobic, genocidal rhetoric. This virulent white supremacy is NOW IN POWER. They have shown what side they are on. Will the University community go along as well or condemn this?
People will look back to this case and see the role the universities played in the face of this situation. Are students going to be good little Germans that kept their heads down and followed the rules, who did not speak up or defend their fellow students, or will they act to stop this while there is still time? It’s up to US… Join us here in Los Angeles on Saturday October 19 at noon to spell out the message on Santa Monica Beach #TrumpPenceOutNow. Nationwide protests can be found here. Let’s project this to the world together, building for every weekend after that to attract more people, staying in the streets until this fascist regime steps down. From Hong Kong to Puerto Rico, people are showing us, it’s not that goddamn complicated.
Tala Deloria is a former student at UCLA and a member of the Get Organized for an Actual Revolution Tour and the Revolution Club, UCLA.
Activists Who Called Out Mnuchin At UCLA Now Face Months In Jail: Which Side Are You On?, Refusefascism.org, October 3, 2019
Activists Who Confronted Mnuchin During UCLA Protest Now Facing Years in Jail, Julia Conley, Common Dreams, October 1, 2019
´Policías de Los Ángeles mintieron en el juicio contra los #UCLA5
Jorge Luis Macías / Especial para La Opinión | 09 de Octubre 2019