Solidarity with Leonard Peltier
(Adapted from a 2005 statement by Arthur J. Miller)
Over 30 years ago—on April 18, 1977—a jury returned a verdict in U.S. v Leonard Peltier. Why should you care about this case? The very same government tactics used to bring about Peltier's wrongful conviction and illegal imprisonment are being applied today—not for the sake of "national security," as is claimed, but simply to quiet voices of dissent.
Despite the obstacles, we must achieve solidarity... to get beyond... [oppression and greed]... to create a better world for The People and live in balance with Mother Earth. Although it is essential that there be movements that organize around the different aspects of human suffering seen around the world, as well as the plight of Mother Earth, it also is essential that we understand that all things are connected and... act upon that understanding in unity and solidarity.
There are few clearer examples of the connections between the struggles of humankind than the case of Leonard Peltier.
Leonard's case is all about war and conquest, an issue of real peace and the anti-war struggle. How can we hope to end the U.S. wars in other lands without acknowledging the long war of conquest in this land?
Leonard's case is all about government corruption and falsehoods. How can we create truth in government without being honest about what has been done to the Indigenous People of this land? And how can we seek justice and well-being for those who have suffered in great natural disasters in recent years without also doing the same for the Indigenous People who have suffered under an "unnatural" disaster since the days of Christopher Columbus?
Leonard's case is about greed and the abuses of multinational corporations. How can we speak of today's abuses without also speaking of the same type of abuses that Indigenous People have suffered and continue to suffer.
"I have no doubt whatsoever that the real motivation behind both Wounded Knee II and the Oglala firefight, and much of the turmoil throughout Indian Country since the early 1970s, was—and is—the mining companies' desire to muffle AIM and all traditional Indian people, who sought—and still seek—to protect the land, water, and air from their thefts and depredations. In this sad and tragic age we live in, to come to the defense of Mother Earth is to be branded a criminal." ("Prison Writings," Leonard Peltier, 1999.)In these dangerous times, we are all concerned about the repressive nature of "Homeland Security" types of legislation worldwide, where a great tragedy has been used as an excuse to strip people of their rights. But how can we speak of our concerns about this problem without also speaking about the repression of dissent in the 1970s, in general, and that of Indigenous Peoples, in particular? How can we address this problem without also speaking about Leonard Peltier?
Supporting Leonard Peltier is not just about supporting the man, although that is a good reason to support him. It is not just about supporting the long continuous struggle of Indigenous People, although that, too, is a good reason to support Leonard Peltier. Rather, Leonard Peltier is a global connecting point of all of the struggles of The People and all resistance to oppression, exploitation, and organized violence perpetrated by nation states.
We do not ask people to put aside their activism in the different social struggles of our time. Rather, we encourage people to learn about and understand the connections between all such struggles, and include Leonard Peltier as a part of all of their efforts.
We need your vision, intelligence, and stamina.
We need your heart and fortitude in support of our brother.
Young People—Join us!
We need you to take up where we leave off.
We need your joy, laughter, and wisdom.
Our Latin Brothers and Sisters—Join us!
We need your spirit, warmth, and strength.
All People of Color—Join us!
We need your experience and determination.
All people who work hard for a better world and who believe in human rights, social justice, and preservation of the environment—JOIN US! We need your passion and energy for our struggle.
We ask you to actively support Leonard Peltier for yourselves, your families, and for the future generations. We ask that while you continue your important social activism for peace, justice, the healing of the wounds of The People and Mother Earth... as you work to create a better world for the well-being of all... that you join with us to call for freedom for Leonard Peltier... For it needs to be clear to all that this better world is meant for all. There can be no separate peace.
Our fight is for survival.
Truth is our shield, solidarity our greatest weapon.
Demand freedom for Leonard Peltier.