World Can't Wait Activist Sent to Psych Ward Post Trial

 
Statement From Carol Fisher - May 14th

Statement from Carol Fisher
Given at a public Speak Out! in Cleveland Heights
May 13, 2006

(These remarks are slightly edited, in brackets)

Let’s get an assessment of what happened and where we go from here.

The first thing I want to say is: “The World Can’t Wait—Drive Out the
Bush Regime!” And the reason why I’m saying that is because above all
that is really what’s at issue here. Everything about this case and
everything that happened from the moment I put those Bush Step Down
posters up on the telephone poles and was assaulted by the police has all
been about trying to intimidate people who are opposing this regime and
doing whatever they can to step up in their way and turn this shit around
and create a different future.

So we waged a hell of a battle to get to this point and its been
incredibly inspiring from day one, because people were so outraged to see
that this kind of thing can happen for the smallest example of someone
speaking out against the Bush regime. And from there, I have determined
and done all I could to steel myself to take a firm stand and refuse to
apologize for anything and to say “I did nothing wrong—those police
assaulted me”. In spite of all the slander, all the lies from the police,
in spite of a trial that was filled with unbelievable bizarre stories from
the police about all the things that I did to these cops when in fact the
only hard evidence of any injury at all [to them] was three tiny little
marks on one cop’s hand. And this is the truth that I am telling you
here. Sometimes it’s hard to even believe that things have gotten to this
point around this. As opposed to what the cops’ injuries were, my arms
were bruised up and down, I had scrapes on my face, I was wounded on my
mouth and not only that, humiliated in the hospital, being forced to
undress in front of four male police officers, and then again humiliated
and attacked over and over again, not only in the media, but also in the
trial itself, where in the cross-examination, it was more of an
interrogation that lasted two hours, where the prosecution was trying to
trap me, and trying to make me lose my temper, and make me fit their
profile of a crazy woman. And they didn’t get over with that.

In fact I think the trial itself was a real exposure of how desperately
they are trying to whip up a very ridiculous and very conflicting story
about what happened that day to cover over the fact that these cops have
in general an intimidating attitude toward anybody who raises questions
and that this particular cop had vengeance against me because of my
anti-Bush stand, and they don’t want people to know that he actually did
arrest me unlawfully. [And they are trying to cover over the truth that
this case is highly political, it has everything to do with trying to
suppress the movement to drive out the Bush regime] That’s the facts,
very basically.

I want to tell you what happened that day when I got thrown into jail
after the hearing. The reason why this hearing happened is because I sent
a letter to the judge. I made a decision: I am not gonna comply with a
psychiatric examination that the judge had ordered. I wasn’t gonna comply
with the presentencing investigation. I was very very angry about the
fact that it had come to this point where I was being forced to submit to
a psychiatric examination to prove my sanity, when in fact none of this
ever should have happened to me to begin with, and my sanity has nothing
to do with it. This was part of their ongoing attempt to try to punish
anybody who is protesting, to portray them as insane and throw them into a
whole gamut of psychiatric evaluations and even imprisonment into mental
institutions.

So I made that decision and I sent a letter to the judge and the judge was
furious. In the hearing you heard some examples of the way he lashed out.
He also said, after he read this T-shirt I’m wearing, “you are delusional
if you think George Bush cares what you’re doing. He couldn’t care less,
he’s much too busy with other things.” Well, I’m sorry, but we need to
really understand the terms here. What we are doing—what all of us are
doing, is definitely and absolutely causing them to tremble and quake in
their boots. This whole movement of World Can’t Wait is the last thing
that they want to see. People taking a firms stand in opposition to every
level of repression that they are bringing down is the last thing they
want people to be doing. A lot of people have been saying that Judge
McGinty is a fool. He’s just a clown, he’s a nutcase. But the truth is
that he concentrates everything that this regime is up to right now. And
if you think about it, what he is doing is a whole lot like George Bush.
He comes across like a stupid asshole. But when you look at what he’s
saying and what he’s doing, and what his whole social base is up to, it’s
extremely dangerous and it’s about everything that we oppose. That’s how
we need to look at Judge McGinty.

I stood firm and I refused to submit to the psychiatric evaluation. It
didn’t matter whether I said I will take your presentencing investigation
or not, either way I was going to jail so I said screw it, I’m going, all
right? And in I went, not knowing at that moment that he had also added
on an order that I would be sent directly to the psych ward of the jail
with a suicide watch. Okay so he’s already declaring me crazy regardless
of any evaluation. So in I went to the psych pod. And I want to tell you
some things about who I met and what went on there, later on.

Right now what I want to tell you is that the moment I walked in there,
yet again, the stakes of the struggle became more intense, and the terms
were more confusing and the battle went higher. Because they were all
about making me submit to these tests. What they did when I went in there
was they said, “you have to meet with these psychiatrists, or you’re going
to be sent to North Coast Mental Institution for a 20 day evaluation.” A
social worker there was practically begging with me, “You do not want to
go there. You should try to talk to these people.”

So I thought about that. And at the moment, when I was in there and I was
on my own, I have to say, and I am going to tell you straight out that I
backed down right there. I said ok I am going to go talk to these
psychiatrists. I want to be very honest with you about this, because it’s
extremely serious that we all look very carefully at what’s important and
where we need to draw the line, and why, at this point. And if we make a
decision at a moment of confusion, or make a wrong move, it’s important to
talk about that and to learn about it. To strengthen ourselves in the
process. So here’s the thing: I convinced myself that if I can just have
a minimal interview with these psychiatrists, then it’s better to do that
than to go to a mental institution not knowing what kind of vulnerable
position I would be put into.

And there’s two very important things I was forgetting right there. One
is that we have set out on an important political battle right here by
saying that these psych evaluations represent something extremely serious
for the direction the country is headed in and it was right to draw a line
and say No, no matter what the consequences. And it was wrong for me to
think that I could negotiate my way through. Not because of my own safety
but because this is an important symbolic struggle that’s represented
right here, far beyond what the deal is with me. The second thing is,
they are going to use whatever they did learn from me against me anyway.
You know they will. [forgot a point I wanted to make here, actually the
second very important thing. That point is: We will constantly be
confronting pulls to go backward and settle on their terms. We have to
struggle against the illusion that there is no other option that what they
force on us, when in fact what is critical right now is to be rising to a
whole new level that sets a different framework where people are demanding
that this reactionary trajectory be stopped in its tracks and we take it
on a whole new track to a different future.]

I hope people see what I am saying here. There are a lot of people who
have said, “we were so concerned for your safety. It’s true that you were
in a much more vulnerable position and we don’t know what they would do.”
Even my daughter was saying, “I was so incredibly worried, and who is
going to look out for you?” Here’s what I said to her, and I firmly
believe this. What good is it for me to sacrifice my principles and have
to live with that [in order to] come out unscathed, if actually what is
being sacrificed is far more important? Okay, so now I understand that, I
understand that much for firmly and I will go down on that, on this
question or any other question where our future is at stake.

Let me tell you a little bit about these women that I met in the psych
ward. Because another thing that people were saying to me is, “Aren’t you
afraid to go to jail, you know, you don’t know who you’re going to end up
having to... but you don’t know, you’re going to be in the mix with who
knows who in there.” And the whole time I’m thinking about the potential
of going to jail, and I know this judge wants me back in there, by the
way. Because he says, “when you come to this sentencing, be prepared to
apologize AND admit you’re wrong, or you’re going to jail, bring your
toothbrush." So that’s what his intention is, let’s not be fooled. But
when I was going in there this is what I was thinking: I’m not afraid of
jail. I’m not concerned with who all I’m going to be interacting with
because for the most part, I know, them’s my people in there.

And that actually is what I found when I got in. In fact these women, the
minute I walked in were so sweet and caring and giving me a lot of tips,
showing me the ropes. You know, “Oh, you’re in for felony assault, I
know about that one, get thrown down on the sidewalk, yeah, yeah, the knee
in the back, uh huh, happened to me too.” Sharing their stories with me.
And of course some of the women in there genuinely were hardened
criminals. Or genuinely did have some serious mental problems. But I
would say 90% or 95% of them were actually either set up because they
talked back to a cop, defied a cop, kicked ‘em in the shin, or they are
serious victims of the system, having been brought up in an environment
from a very young age, 10 or 11 years old in the inner city, surrounded by
drugs and not knowing any other options. Okay so I don’t consider people
like that criminals. And all of these women were dying to know, what are
people doing out there? What other options are there, and there was a lot
of struggle over praying to god for the solution vs. we gotta fight. And
there was a very strong view in the prison of, “we’re all in this
together”. Really talking to each other on that kind of level. I could
go on and on, but it was extremely inspiring to me.

So here we are, and I’ve decided that my stepping back was not the right
thing to do. But this battle continues, goddamn it, and we’re not gonna,
and I am not gonna let this break me. And when we make mistakes, you
gotta fuckin learn and move on. So I am going to go into that sentencing
and I am going to be prepared to say “NO, I do NOT Apologize, I did
nothing wrong, I am NOT crazy, and here’s my goddamn toothbrush!!

This is one part of the battle that people are fighting all across this
country in one way or another and maybe people want to speak to some of
that. The terms are getting more and more intense and it’s causing every
one of us to really question how we can play the maximum possible role.
And here I am, speaking from a megaphone and getting on the media and
everything else, and despite what the judge says, no, I do not enjoy media
attention. But I have had to challenge myself to get up and do this
because it’s necessary. It’s the same for other people too, we all do
need to be very honest about where we are coming from on this.

Here’s me, I’m a volunteer at Revolution Books. I’m a revolutionary
communist. I think, and I am more convinced than ever, that what it’s
going to need to come down to is a revolution. So that we the people can
actually have state power. And think about this, really think about this:
It is a true fact that we actually are capable of running society in a
better way than they are. In a fundamentally [different] and far better
way. And it is possible! And I will continue to struggle with people over
that. But in the meantime I know that each and every person here and all
those people across the country that are agonizing over these questions,
trying to figure out what to do, from wherever they are coming from, I
know that they all also have an important part to play. And I know that
if it comes down to it and if this judge tries to continue to vilify me
and label me as crazy, and throw me into a mental institution, then I can
rely on the people out here to get me out – or to do the same for anybody
else that this happens to. This is the kind of a movement that we need.
And this is the kind of people that we need to become. All of us,
leaders, developing a widespread, historic, mass initiative that creates a
political climate and a culture of change, and rebellion, and opposition,
and questioning, and a whole bright new future.

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