Convicted!

So we lost.

We had debated for months over whether to represent ourselves or to use our court appointed attorneys. At first, I expected to go pro se, partly because I only met Bryon Collins on the day before the trial was scheduled to start in August. John had initially expected to let Justin Tapp represent him, but in the weeks approaching our new, February court date had strongly advocated for self-representation. That was fine with me, and for the same reasons – Christ promised that when called before courts, we, not our lawyers, will be given the words to say.

    “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

    (Luke 12:11-12)

Mistakes were made, but overall I was pleased with our conduct. We three prayed together on every break in the court proceedings, and I’d rather go through a trial like that than with the most experienced barristers that have every argued in Old Bailey.

Another big decision was to opt for a jury trial. I now believe that this was a mistake. Why did I want a jury? I had this naive belief in a jury trial as a fundamental Constitutional right protecting us from an overarching government. I now suspect that a jury trial is simply trial by the majority, and that if you’re trying to win an unpopular cause on a technical legal right, you’re better advised to opt for the bench trial. I have to admit that I never seriously considered a bench trial and never really prayed about it, even though John was advocating for one.

Freedom of speech is limited in the courtroom. We pretty much allowed the prosecution to do whatever they wanted for two days to present their case; why couldn’t we just be given two or three days to present ours? When is freedom of speech more important than for a defendant in a courtroom?

John wanted to read from the U.S. Constitution and was not allowed to do so. The prosecution had argued and won in pre-trial motions that the law was constitutional, and didn’t want that issue reopened before the jury. This despite the text of the law itself referencing the First Amendment! Only when the jury sent a note, an hour into their deliberation, requesting a copy of the First Amendment, was one at last provided to them!

Charles Tice’s blog post describing our protest was ruled irrelevant, a video presentation of Occupy news clips was suppressed, and I didn’t even try to introduce any of my speeches from Occupy, as the prosecution had already indicated that they would object. I wanted to use these to demonstrate I had tried just about every tactic I could think of to resurrect and lead Occupy. I had written a book, I had given speeches, I had sent press releases, I had talked to the man on street.

For me, the biggest disappointment was not being allowed to read excepts from my book, Icarus Wing, which not only presented the political and religious philosophy that I advocate, but also might have gone a long ways to shed the aura of “worthless bum” and replaced it with “author”.

Yet enough evidence did get in, I thought, that the jury could understand why we were there. I even thanked the prosecution, in my closing argument, for letting it in! John hammered on homeless issues throughout the trial, and of my writings, both the Alaska Blog and My Confession were admitted into evidence. John had eloquently presented his plans for a free campground on the abandoned native hospital grounds, and I had testified unambiguously about my plans – lead 100,000 Christians north to Alaska, vote ourselves into power in Juneau, take Alaska, and secede from the union.

I might not have expounded enough on why such drastic action is needed. Capitalism is an immoral philosophy that rejects Gospel commandments like “Give to anyone who asks” (Luke 6:30) and “You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24). Business is based on turning people away if they can’t pay, and no philosophy has preached the service of money louder than capitalism.

“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor…” (Mark 10:21) Try it! Live the way you’re taught by Christ! See how you’re treated! Devout Christians are persecuted in this country, and if America won’t repent, than Alaska should secede! 100,000 Christians coming to Alaska would be nice; better would be Alaskans living as Christians.

By the end of the trial, both the prosecution and the defense had moved far afield from the First Amendment issues at hand. For our part, we had focused much attention on Cynthia Franklin’s role in orchestrating the May 17 raid and this dicey question of whether the police were concealing their actions under some screwball definition of the word “protest”. The municipal prosecutor, on the other hand, had insinuated during her cross examination of John that he didn’t work, was a full time protester, and that the parks were for the enjoyment of people who worked jobs and paid taxes. By her final rebuttal, she was appealing directly to the jury to oppose my Christian Revolution, asking them “What about people who aren’t Christians?” None of this was relevant to the legal questions at stake – was this First Amendment speech, and were our actions on May 17th reasonable? I suspect that Judge Motyka saw through all of this, but the jury bit and ultimately convicted us on a red herring offered to them by the prosecutor – that at the exact instant the police arrived on May 17th, we weren’t actively protesting. John was drinking a beer, Margie was relieving herself in the bushes, and I was coming back from the liquor store.

A dangerous precedent is now well established. Overnight political demonstrations in the Municipality of Anchorage are de facto illegal. Tienanmen Square, were it reenacted in Delaney Park, would be put down by APD.

I seek nothing less than the peaceful overthrow of this country’s capitalist leadership. “The majority” stand behind a counter with a huge rack of food behind them, refuse to feed anyone who can’t pay, and when you put a sign in front of them that says “Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back (Luke 6:30)”, they convict you for trespassing because at the moment the police showed up to arrest you, you were sipping a Budweiser instead of holding the sign, chanting. The prosecutor repeatedly suggested that we wouldn’t have been arrested if we had been chanting.

That’s what we needed! A good chant!

“Down with capitalism! Down with capitalism! Down with capitalism!”

Too fanatical for you? OK, I have to a walk a fine line here. I have preach the Gospel without sounding like a religious fanatic. Unlike Occupy, this isn’t a leaderless movement. Our leader is Jesus Christ.

There is no opposition in this country. Nobody opposes the majority. In China, nobody opposes communism. In America, nobody opposes democracy. There are those of us who oppose this country’s leadership, won’t work for capitalists, won’t get the hell out, and strive peacefully for an end to capitalist rule. You never hear our speeches. You can find mine on freesoft.org, but you never see them on TV.

Homelessness is a policy masquerading as a problem. Somehow this society manages to house their cripples, their elderly, even their convicts! The majority builds prisons to house convicted criminals, but throws people away homeless on the streets if they won’t work.

Why would anybody “fix” homelessness? Why would anybody care about John Martin’s cause? Homelessness is a deliberate tactic used to force people to work. There is little meaningful freedom of speech or freedom of assembly for the homeless. You might as well ask for freedom of speech for incarcerated convicts.

Next time I’m in the park, when the police show up, I’ll grab a sign with scripture on it, and start chanting “Down with capitalism!” We’ll see if the CAP officers call Mark Rein and say “Sarge, we can’t arrest this guy! He’s protesting!”

    There is no magic system of government that produces freedom, liberty, equality, human rights, civil liberties and economic opportunity apart from God! The modern attempt, in the name of religious pluralism, to detach God into a Sunday morning exercise is an experiment doomed to failure. No government programs, no matter how well managed, can mitigate a fundamentally immoral society. No economic system, no matter how competitive, will reward hard work if subjugation is the only way to obtain it. Likewise, a society of people dedicated to God, with a healthy dose of genuine disciples, needs little in the way of governance, because God is the leader.

    The choice is not between a free, peaceful, democratic, secular society and an oppressive, fanatic, conquering theocracy. The choice is between an oppressive, fanatic, conquering democracy and peaceful, Godly leadership.

    A Christian political party must be formed. Its primary process can include rallies and speeches, general assemblies and town hall meetings, yet the ultimate selection of a party ticket must be carried out by the most select Christian disciples, using all our techniques of discernment, all of the prophetic gifts and spiritual resources at our disposal. There can be no primary election. Once that slate of candidates has been prepared, it will be presented to the populace in a general election, to be accepted or rejected in favor of other candidates. If the disciples do our jobs, then the electorate should be pleasantly surprised to find us nominating quality leaders who will effectively guide the nation.

    (excerpted from Defense Exhibit B-U)

None of this is protected speech. We weren’t chanting.

Winter Protest

Yesterday we were back in court for oral arguments on the pre-trial motions. Judge Motyka ended the hearing by saying that he’d take it under advisement and rule in two to three weeks. I’d spent Friday afternoon with a sign on Town Square, but haven’t been back this week.

What, then, is Occupy? What are we trying to achieve?

Definition of revolution

Occupy is a revolution. Occupy seeks to achieve an anti-capitalist revolution in the United States.

Christian Revolution

It has to be a Christian Revolution, though. Only God can lead an opposition against a government determined to use S.W.A.T. teams to break up grassroots street demonstrations. It’s not enough to be against something, either. We have to state what we’re for.

First and foremost, Godly leadership. Governors, legislators, executives, business owners, men and women who kneel before God and seek to know and do his will. Everyone, ideally, should become a disciple of Christ! I’d love to see a world where every man, woman, and child commits their lives wholeheartedly to God. Failing that, at least the leadership should be Godly.

You can not serve God and money

I’d like to provide free housing, free food, free energy, free transportation, free technology, free education. Why?

Luke 6:30

I can’t do it myself! I want to live in a society where people choose to give all of these things voluntarily. How do we pay for it all? Not through taxes! Not through borrowing! Only by voluntary charity, by gifting our time, our money, our resources. That’s a big change from what we’ve got now. That’s a revolution!

…and if the United States won’t go for it?

Alaskan Independance

How do we achieve this? By bringing 100,000 people up here from down south and wining the 2014 election.

Occupy Alaska

The next step is to win this court case. I want to obtain a court order prohibiting the police from evicting political demonstrators from Town Square, then build up an opposition camp that can’t be ignored by the media, and start pitching a simple line:

“Come to Alaska. Come to Alaska. We’re occupying Alaska. Just come to Alaska.”

Campfire

Anchorage’s laws are not reasonable, but their firemen (eventually) are.

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Delay!

We went to trial last week and the verdict was… a delay!

Actually, we didn’t get close to a verdict. We didn’t even make it to jury selection.

Scott Christiansen was there, and wrote a nice piece for the Anchorage Press that presents a nice, balanced view of what happened in court last Tuesday morning:

Protesting or Squatting?

For my own part, I’ve been busily preparing for the trial, and have neglected other duties, like updating this blog. I’ll make up for it by replacing freesoft.org’s lead video, which will eventually be called “Defense Exhibit A”, with “Defense Exhibit B”, an hour-long review of what happened to Occupy two years ago:

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Arraignment

I made my second court appearance today. John and Margie came with me, even though it was only an arraignment. I pled not guilty, asked for a public defender to assist me, and was given a date in late July for a pretrial conference.

I then walked down the hall to a different courtroom where an actual pretrial conference was underway. Looks like I can expect a trial date in late August.

John and Margie have earlier trial dates, probably because they actually spent several days in jail before John’s mom paid his bail and Margie got her conditions of release modified to let her return to Town Square.

We haven’t actually returned to Town Square, at least not for a 24-hour sit-in. We’re meeting with our lawyers in two days, and I want to discuss getting a court order prohibiting the city from arresting political demonstrators for trespassing.

We’re also preparing flyers to hand out, describing our plans and goals. Ideally, a trial in two months would lead to a renewed occupation, with a court order in hand to prevent further arrests. If the flyers are successful, maybe we’ll have thirty people by then. Maybe we’ll have three hundred!

An incident later in the afternoon underscored why I’m determined to stage a revolution. The three of us were relaxing in Delany Park when two police officers on bicycles pulled up and told me to unplug my cellphone from the outlet, which was only for park employees and permit holders. “It’s called theft of services”, he said.

I complied and later complained to the city ombudsman, but there are so few places where I can use electricity that working on the website, porting Macaulay 2 to Android, or writing on this blog requires real ingenuity. I’m developing Android applications which I publish for free on the Internet, but I can’t keep the phone charged to do it.

I’m done! Done! DONE with this leadership! Christians are so PERSECUTED in this country!

No more! No more of this! Please, father God, no more of this! I can’t even work on my website, the hatred, the hatred, oh God, no more of this, please God, no more of this.

Almost every morning and every night now, I beg God to either restore this revolution or take my life. We’re supposed to love each other, and all I have in me is hatred, hatred, hatred for this majority.

What is the plan? We convince three hundred thousand people to pack up, move to Alaska, and BECOME the majority.

Day 11

Night 11 found the site unoccupied for the first time, with me sleeping at my campsite and John and Margie in jail.

I got a late start to Day 11, slept in until 9, spent an hour at church drinking coffee, and didn’t get to the site until almost two. I wanted to get there earlier, but everyone who knows me well knows that I’m notoriously unpunctual. It also took me a while to decide on a course of action.

I sat on the sidewalk, in compliance with the trespass order, but I entered the park to preach, and I intend to preach every hour, on the hour. I preached at two o’clock, on the dot. I want everyone to know what has happened to John, and I am absolutely screaming for revolution against this indifferent majority and their tyrannical democracy.

I’m also calling on people to occupy Town Square.

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I preached again at three, and at four, and at five.

After my five o’clock sermon, a friend stopped by, the man who donated the sleeping bag on Night 1, and I went to his apartment for my first shower in two weeks. We worked on some math for a while, then he gave me another sleeping bag (a prayer answered!) and drove me back around nine o’clock. I went to bed at John’s campsite, which is a lot closer to downtown than mine.

Day 10

Night 10 brought a police raid at eleven o’clock sharp.

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I had gone on a beer run and came back running. About a half dozen police officers were gathered around our site in front of where John and Margie were seated under the tarp, refusing to move. I quickly jumped onto the grass so that I, too, was on park ground. I was given a few minutes to gather my belongings and leave. I gathered only my phone charger and announced my refusal to leave, as John was announcing his. Once they put the handcuffs on, I walked out of the park under arrest as John and Margie were carried out behind me.

Everything was confiscated. I’ve been through this once before, though John has dealt with it ten times. I also managed to keep my sleeping bag the first time, but no such luck on this night. We were transported to jail, where I participated in a telephone interview with the magistrate. Perhaps “participated” is too strong a term, since I said little and the magistrate proceeded to offer me release on an unsecured bond, which means that I’ll only have to pay if I don’t appear in court or violate the conditions of my release, which include not entering Town Square. I was only asked to sign an agreement to appear in court, however, which I did, and was released around 1:30 am. John was held overnight.

I had an audio recorder running and made an hour and a half long recording of the arrest.

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On the way out, I met two prisoners sitting in the entryway, one of whom was talking on his cell phone. After he hung up, I asked if we were allowed to sit there in the warmth. He suggested that I just sit there and enjoy the warmth, which seemed like good advice, so we sat and talked until a correctional officer came out and told us to leave. My friend had another trick up his sleeve, however, and we simply walked down to a different entrance where we were able to enter, duck into a vacant restroom, pray together, and rest for about two hours before being discovered and evicted by more correctional officers.

My friend then found an unlocked prison bus to shelter us from the light snow that was falling, but I decided to walk into downtown and soon encountered a disabled car. The driver’s only problem was a lack of gas or money to purchase it, so I helped him push it to a nearby gas station and gave him the $3.65 I had in my pocket. He thanked me profusely and I continued my walk.

I spent the next few hours wondering around downtown Anchorage until Side Street opened at seven, and I went in for coffee and a warm place to sit and write this blog. In the afternoon, I attended John and Margie’s bail hearing, where Margie refused the conditions of her release (stay out of Town Square) and John was required to post a $150 bond, which of course he does not have. Both remained in jail, while I retreated to my campsite near the university for prayer and much-needed sleep.

Tomorrow’s a big day.

Prayer requests: Guidance, guidance, guidance. Put your words in my mouth tomorrow. Stay with John and Margie, abide with them, Lord.

Day 9

Night 9 was John and Margie’s second. With rain in the forecast, we prayed for shelter, and a tarp appeared! A visitor stopped by to share and pray, then drove by half an hour later to drop off two nice blankets and a tarp. John and Margie had taken the evening off, and by the time they returned at eleven, I had strung up the tarp between three trees and a stake. No trouble from the police.

Woke up to a steady rain pit-pattering on the tarp. Now there’s even snow in the forecast! We talked some more about what message to paint on the tarp, and seem to be settling on “Christian Revolution”.

    rev·o·lu·tion

    1. a sudden, radical, or complete change
    2. a fundamental change in political organization; especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
    3. activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation
    4. a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm {\it the Copernican revolution}
    5. a changeover in use or preference especially in technology {\it the computer revolution; the foreign car revolution}

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Which is exactly what I’m trying to achieve! A Christian revolution in Alaska; fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation; a society where “Give to anyone who asks” is a core value; leadership that serves God and not money; disciples who “give up everything that (they) have” valued instead of persecuted.

If the United States wants a Christian revolution, great! Otherwise… God bless Alaska.

Day 7

Joe and I occupied Night 7. At first, I was going to sleep under the tarp, had packed all of the signs under it, and was actually in my sleeping bag when Joe showed up! I didn’t have room under the tarp, wasn’t going to tell him to sleep on exposed, bare concrete, and certainly couldn’t leave him in the park alone. So the signs went back up, I gave him my coat and blankets, and I slept in the bag, which was colder than I thought it’d be! Some road work awoke us around 4 am, and I got up and put on some long underwear from the suitcase.

At first I thought that Day 7 would be a day of rest, but it turned out to be a day of preparation. John Rodda, from Parks and Rec, showed up mid-morning to politely read me the riot act. The police have amble photos now of me and others sleeping in the park, and police action is implied. We have to sleep on the sidewalk.

After reading a chapter from Ezekiel, I went over to Side Street Cafe to charge my batteries, both physically and mentally, and met John and Margie drinking coffee there. Told them about Rodda and was blessed with a cup of coffee from Deb. Went back, read more Ezekiel, and worked on the phone until it went dead.

Over lunch at Downtown Soup Kitchen, Francisco explained how the 99% are going to hell, actually I think he said 99.999%, but I could be off by a nine or two. Then back to the park, where a visitor read Proverbs 15 since it is the 15th of the month, and I learned that Proverbs has 31 chapters. John and Margie stayed for a while, while I bought some treats with my food stamps (odwalla strawberry smoothies, avocados, and honey) and retrieved my battery pack from Side Street.

Then we talked about Rodda.

I explained my intent to retreat to the sidewalk. There’s just not enough to fight for. I can get up at six in the morning, when the park “opens”, set the signs back up, and go back to sleep for a few more hours. Few people are walking around at three in the morning. As we expand, we’ll run a row of tents down the sidewalk. Why not? Ask for a hundred people in prayer, and when we have surrounded the park with about fifty tents on the sidewalks, then occupy it. Why fight over something so trivial as what happens between midnight and six am?

John has a different idea. He’s thinking about occupying with me, tonight, for the first time!

Well, that changes everything! Obviously, if the most ardent occupier in Alaska is going to occupy, I can’t be under the tarp! John explains what we can expect legally, since he’s been through it so many times. They really can’t arrest us if it’s a protest activity. We’ll be released when we face the magistrate. They can confiscate the sleeping bag we’re in, and if we try to fight, then they can arrest us for that. We agree on a completely peaceful approach in this case. Us two men join in prayer with Margie, a deep, meaningful prayer for guidance, holding hands while praying aloud. Then I’m off to spend four of the six dollars I’ve got on batteries for the audio recorder.