Mandy’s Statement

well here we are. i have so much to say… how to begin?

thank yous seem the best way. to my co-accused. to my friends and family who’ve stood by me. to my sureties. to OPIRG-Guelph. to the folks who weren’t swayed by the sensationalist media, and welcomed me back into my community and my life the minute i got off house arrest. to the lawyers who worked on this case – we don’t see eye to eye on much, and i know i can be a pain in the ass to work with, but i really do appreciate all the hard work you’ve put in. to all the people, many of whom i’ve never met, who wrote me letters and donated their time and money to help out. and finally, to all of you who inspire me every day as you struggle and resist and remain strong.

the last year and a half have been interesting, to say the least. this certainly wasn’t how, or when, i expected it all to end. in his opening statement on the first day of our preliminary inquiry, Crown Attorney Jason Miller stated that “this case is about a strange truth.”

that’s about the only thing he’s got right so far.

the truth is, the G20 Leaders Summit came to Toronto in June of 2010 to discuss how to make their rich richer and the world’s poor poorer. and who got detained? over 1100 people who came out to say they didn’t think that was really appropriate. they got beaten by riot cops while the so-called “leaders” ate expensive food at an expensive meeting behind their expensive and offensive security fence.

for up to a year and a half leading up to that weekend, undercover cops exploited and then betrayed the kindness and the trust of tight-knit communities of dedicated activists and organizers – some of the best people i have ever had the privilege of calling my friends and allies. relationships, projects and communities were torn apart by two of these in particular. and guess which people the state deems dangerous?

and then there’s the whole thought crime thing. conspiracy? seriously? the idea that talking about protests, brainstorming ideas and discussing possibilities as a group can lead to criminal charges is a strange truth indeed.

but the fact is that the state can do this, they have done it, and they’ll get away with it.

it’s time we all get rid of any lingering belief that governments are looking out for us, any last wishful thought that cops might sometimes (or one day) be our friends. if you’re resisting, they want to crush you, and they have a lot of state resources at their disposal. we need to be ready. the stronger we get – and we are getting stronger – the more worried they get. and worried people with power are dangerous.

we need to stick together. what we have are our smarts, our need for fairness and justice, our wide range of skills and experiences, our love for each other and the Earth, and our solidarity. that’s more than enough. for the past year and a half the state, in its violent and coercive manner, has tried to keep me from the organizing and the people that i love. i’m happy to say that it hasn’t succeeded! in fact, their plan completely backfired. the way we’ve dealt with these charges as a group committed to standing together has been so encouraging. and the support i’ve received throughout this whole process has shown me without a doubt that we, collectively, are a force to be reckoned with. i feel stronger than i have in a long time, and i’m not concerned about the time i’ll be spending behind bars because i know you’ve got my back. in fact i’m looking at it as an opportunity to learn about the prison system from the inside, and i hope to be able to share what i learn with those of you who have never been there.

my sentencing is scheduled for January 13th, so the next few months will be spent putting my life into storage, wrapping up loose ends and saying my goodbyes.

i’ll be back soon enough. i hope you’ll write me, and keep me up-to-date with all the amazing things going on on the outside so i can join in in a year or so. just remember the guards will be reading your letters too, so feel free to try to educate them but make sure not to get yourself and your friends in any shit. in return i’ll write about what it’s like in jail, and i’ll do my best to make myself useful on the inside. who knows, maybe we can even collaborate!

one last thing. the 17 of us made the decision to take a deal based, among other things, on a lot of speculation as to how it would affect our communities and future organizing. i hope we made a good decision… time will tell. either way i hope people talk about it, debate it, criticize it, and learn from it, and if you do i hope you find a way to involve me in those discussions.

in solidarity,

mandy :-)

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