Statement from Comrade Niko, Facing Felony Charges off the Burning of the American Flag at the Republican National Convention in 2016

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


On July 20th [2016], we went up to the gates of the Nazi Republican National Convention and burned their blood-soaked rag of empire making a bold statement to people here and around the world, saying that there is another way—we’re not following either one of their leaders, the fascist Trump or the war criminal Clinton, we’re standing with the people of the world bringing forward another way, revolution and communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian.

Now the state is coming back with their repression, hitting us with trumped up charges. Why? I’ll tell you: they don’t want to see people get linked up with this revolution—especially oppressed nationalities taking this up and bringing forward others, so they want to make an example of us. Particularly me being a Black youth, they couldn’t have that, so they brought down the boot now, in a time when political speech and the RIGHT to dissent is coming under attack. So in this context, this CASE means so much to the people whether they know it or not. If they are allowed to attack us [revolutionaries] and put us in jail for years, what is that preparing people for? And also this leadership the masses have is precious and people need to defend it, not let it be taken away, while also bringing more forces forward. That’s why I’m calling on people to defend the RNC 16.

I want to say about flag burning, you may like it, or some people may not personally agree with it, but it is protected political speech. But people have the right to burn the American flag and that right is coming under attack and should people be criminalized and go to jail for years and years just for burning a flag?

I stand by what I did. I’m very proud of what we accomplished standing with the people of the world!! Calling out and sounding the alarm about the fascism of the Trump regime. I got to be part of that.

But I want to say this about the risks... jail, losing your life. These are times that are calling on us to rise to the occasion. Courage, conviction, and sacrifice is required. People go to jail, go to court, all the time for bullshit. This is for a reason. For the people. To get people organized into something that is the opposite of what is going on. I’d do it again. Seeing that flag burn, after the long years of slavery that went on behind, and the long years since, where it is held up as a symbol of democracy, but that is bullshit, it is a symbol of imperialism, of domination and suffering. Every time that flag flies, people here and around the world are being devastated.

When we burned it at the Republican National Convention. That was my first time burning it. And I think it was “right on.” My only regret is that more American flags didn’t burn. Felt that what we did was a rallying cry to the people of the world. There is a force that is serious about getting organized for revolution to overthrow the system, right here in the belly of the beast and people taking heart from that.

I been down here in Chicago now for like five months as a Revolution Club volunteer. And I see there are lots of people, a lot of Black youth, putting your life on the line for bullshit. Why can’t you put your life on the line for something much more—emancipating humanity? For a world where there are no desolated and devastated communities of people gunning each other down, but instead transforming society to where those things are not going on anymore. That’s why people are needed now to get with this revolution. It is not going to be easy, it is going to be a struggle, but a worthwhile struggle. You are going to have to break with those old ways of thinking and transform yourself, and start on the path to be a revolutionary communist—an emancipator of humanity.

People can be part of making all this happen. The alternative is to let these fascists and white supremacists get organized and consolidate, while we are helping them out by killing and dividing each other, while they sweep up humanity.

One of the reasons I’m down in Chicago is because I have this understanding from BA of how the world can be different, and to act on that understanding, to bring others forward, so I am happy to be part of this with the Revolution Club. Even though I get frustrated and have contradictions, but there is nothing I would rather be doing. That is why I left my home and my job to do this. It is a worthwhile sacrifice. Now we are about to go to Cleveland for this trial and I say let’s do it. Let’s defeat this shit.

As Repression and Threats Against Dissent Grow…
Two Protesters Face Felonies in Cleveland for Burning Flag at Republican National Convention

September 4, 2017
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