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.”
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.