It was revealed on October 19th that Leah-Lynn Plante, one of the three anarchists in the Pacific Northwest who I’ve written about before had been released two days previously. In the statement that was released by her no indication was given for why she was released so quickly, though she asked for people to refrain for jumping to conclusions. And out of respect for her I did just that. Here is the statement:
First and foremost, do not panic.
Leah wanted for us to express these points to you with this news:
- She is extremely traumatized and experienced a lot of very, very bad things, but she is alive. The state of her mental health is also very bad.
- She asks that people do not jump to wild conclusions about her release because they do not apply.
- She spent her whole time in SHU / Administrative Detention (solitary confinement) and was told that that is where she would stay for the duration of her incarceration, up to 18 months. She was classified as “different” from Matt and Kteeo.
- She received probably near 200 pieces of mail, books, postcards in 4 days (mail was not delivered to her every day) and was glad for it, and knows probably a similar amount is being returned to sender right now. She urges people to step up support for Matt and Kteeo on all fronts. Books that didn’t get to her probably go into the prison library, which is still a good thing because from what we heard their selection is limited to romance novels and religious literature.
- More information is going to be released. At this time, Leah needs space from media. She is overwhelmed by all the publicity. Regardless of who you are, if you have her personal information, PLEASE do not call her, email her, or try to locate her in order to question her. Give her space until she asks otherwise.
- She was released the night of 10/17. She did not make it public immediately because she did not want the “media shitstorm” to jump down her throat yet.
- She is very moved by the amount of support and solidarity there has been for her, she expressed concern that Matt and Kteeo were not getting as much publicity. Please write them, support them, send them books.
Again, to reiterate, more information is going to be released in a few days.
Thank you all for keeping an ear to the ground and for supporting these people.
No subsequent statement by Leah has yet been made explaining the reasons for her release, though she did make a pretty good and interesting blog post on sexism in her portrayal by the media and supporters, which is worthy reading.
Then on October 30th the Campaign Against Political Repression released a statement cutting all ties to Leah saying,
The Committee Against Political Repression will be suspending support for Leah-Lynn Plante. Leah was released from prison on October 17 after appearing before the grand jury investigating anarchists. We do not know what was said at that hearing. In the time since her release, Leah has not offered details regarding the subjects of the hearing, her response, or about her release. CAPR is withdrawing support for Leah until we get information regarding her grand jury hearing.
In other words, at least according to CAPR, Leah has indeed capitulated. Hopefully Leah will soon release a clarifying statement, but seeing the short time she spent in prison and the manner of her release, her speaking before the federal grand jury seems like the most likely scenario.
[It should be noted and made clear that everything that follows is based on the assumption that her speaking before the grand jury is what indeed occurred. If this turns out to be false I shall immediately retract the statement]
Here today I want to state absolutely that I continue to support Leah Lynn-Plante and I refuse to throw her under the bus for this decision of hers (if indeed this decision took place).
Part of it is this, as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, Leah is an old friend of mine from way back in my Vermont days, and even though we haven’t seen each other in some years, I am nothing if not fiercely loyal to my friends, through hell and high water.
But there is a deeper moral component to my refusal to demonize Leah.
Leah may have (eligibly) broke her previous commitments and capitulated to the grand jury where she may have been made to snitch on her political associates and comrades. And this decision may have even led to a fifth subpoena being issued to Matthew “Maddy” Pfeiffer , though its far far too early to tell for sure. This is all true (or at least might be).
But it must be understood that this was something forced upon her. Leah is not some scab or class traitor who at the first sign or trouble jumped ship and sold out her friends like so many before. Leah stood up to the full terrible might of the criminal injustice system through all of its stages. She put 18 months of her life on the table, was put into solitary confinement, and it was only then, under that immense pressure that she was forced, I repeat forced, to cooperate with the grand jury.
I have never had to face up to such relentless and powerful pressure by the state apparatus, led alone the torture of full solitary confinement. I like to imagine that I might be able to stand my ground, but I just don’t know for sure. Therefore I believe myself, and any other person such as myself, is in no position to pass judgment upon Leah. She is a victim of the criminal injustice system like so many others. That’s part of what this evil machine is designed to do, grind you down into dust, and few can survive it totally unscathed.
Yes, KteeO and Matthew have apparently so far stood their ground and they remain in prison. And they should be commended for this. But not in a way that puts them as the “good” resisters against Leah the “bad” resisters. They deserve support in and of themselves, independent of judgments passed on others actions.
My big concern at this moment is what may be facing Leah in the weeks and months ahead. Radical and anarchist communities tend to be rather cliquish, and with this statement by CAPR as just the beginning, its not hard to imagine that cliquishness being turned with a vengeance against Leah. She has committed a cardinal sin and must be excommunicated. She will be marginalized, excluded and thoroughly ostracized by all activist and affinity groups, friends and comrades will turn on her, and that is a terrible position for a person who has just gone through what she has to be in.
I sympathize and empathize with Leah. I don’t judge and I won’t turn on her.
But in the end she is not some bad example that we can learn from, she is not a sob story, she is no a anarchist version of Judas, she is not a poor weak willed woman who couldn’t stand the pressure and has lost her ways, or any other sorts of insulting narratives. She is a human being in terribly difficult circumstances and we should not forget that.
As always, please send your kind words and support to KteeO and Matthew:
Katherine Olejnik #42592-086
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198
Matthew Kyle Duran #42565-086
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198
You can donate to the grand jury resistors legal fund at: http://nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com/donate/