Andy Conn, a community organizer in Sacramento, was part of a "Black Friday" civil disobedience action with a dozen others, all of whom were arrested and charged with "inciting a riot". Their action was to simply sit down with a few signs denouncing the ideology of consumerism. Their punishment, in exchange for pleading "guilty", is to attend anger-management classes (and having a threat-risk attached to their permanent records), paid out of the "guilty" person's pocket. Those who are lower-income that cannot afford the class fees are screwed. If they don't complete the class they go to jail, and they will have an incarceration status on their permanent record.
So, if this happens to you, "Frag the system!"
Give them hell, they deserve it! You are paying for it, so don't make it easy! Instead...
Educate the class!
Andy C., one of the "Black Friday 15" of Davis, CA, writes, "Today I must attend a 6 hour anger management and life skills class as a part of my guilty plea for inciting to riot. I can't wait for the instructors to ask me why I'm angry. I'm bringing flyers, a bad attitude and an itch to recruit. 25 people have flyers and we have discussed class wars and police brutality. I like this opportunity. Blocked the four way street entrance to all the stores but mainly Walmart with 14 close friends. The people that were really angry were the people that could not buy crap on BLACK FRIDAY....hahhaahahahhaah! There are 15 of us going to these classes that gives us 30 opportunities to organize."
Joaquin Chavez, Campaign Co-Founder and Policy Research Director at Raise the Wage Davis, also had to attend an anger management class. He recounts, "The May 10th class was much the same, and we had a great teacher who facilitated discussion of social movements, activism, etc. Now I'm actually looking forward to my second session."
Sean R. of Davis adds, "When I go on the 24th I'm going to use it as an organizing opportunity!"
Friends of the "riot" inciters had their own stories to add.
Gabriel M. says, "They gave me anger management for throwing red paint at the BART Board meeting in Oakland over the Oscar Grant shooting. It was the worst part of my sentence, worse than my 30 days in jail. They had given me excessive amount of hours. Guys who hit their spouses didn't even get as many hours as me. Not to also mention, the class was run by a former high school football coach who yelled a lot and made anti- semitic remarks."
Cathy C. recollects, "My sister and I staged a sit down strike back in high school to support teacher pay raises. We were suspended for "inciting a riot". I laugh to this day... a sit down strike is a "riot"... thankfully it was my first taste of how f*cked the system is, and I haven't looked back!"