Statement By The Central Committee, Rainbow People's Party "john Is In Prison Not For Two Joints--or Else All Of Us And Almost All Of You Would Be In Prison Wth Him--but Because Of His Uncompromising Dedication To His People."
We are dedicating this issue of the SUN and the next two weeks of our lives to our Chairman, John Sinclair, so we can get him out of the penitentiary and back her e with us where he belongs, John was ripped off almost two years ago and taken far away from us in an attempt by the State of Michigan to destroy our party and slow down the incredible growth of the self-determination movement in the Michigan youth community in which John Sinclair has played so huge a part for more than six years. We've suffered from his loss, although his letters and writings from prison have helped us and inspired us to carry on our work, but now we have to say that we can't go on like this any longer- JOHN SINCLAIR MUST BE SET FREE ! We hope this special issue of the SUN will help people to understand why it is so important for John to come back to his community so he can take up his work again, joining the rest of us in struggling to créate real selfdetermination for our people. We know, and we want you to understand, that John was kidnapped from us by the State and has been held without bond for 22 months so far, because he has been committed to the development of the youth community since 1964 and there was no other way to stop his work than to lock him up for 9 12-10 years on the transparent excuse of possession of two joints, John is in prison not for two joints--or else all of us and almost all of you would be in prisun with but because of his uncompromising dedication to his people and our struggle for seli-determination and freedom. A lot of people wonder why we spend so much time and space talking about John Sinclair--atter all, he's just another dude who got busted for weed. and there are a lot of our brothero and sisters in prison who nced our help, right? But John isn't just another freek who's doing time for grass--he's a tremendous energy source for the whole community. an incredibly dedicated brother who has shown a íut of us how we can move to free ourselves from the death culture and build a beautiful alternative to it .out of the raw materials of us freeky lives. Maybe more than anything else he's taught us that we don't have to let our lives be controlled by the control addicts of Amerika, no matter how much they try to keep us separated and isolated from each other, ,no matter how hard they try to keep us down, no matter how severely they repress our culture. John Sinclair was first arrested on marijuana charges in October of 1964, before most of us had ever heard of the holy weed. He was the first freek in Detroit's hip community to take a bust for marijuana, and he was warned by the Detroit pólice to give up his activity in that community or else he'd be sent to prison. Less than a month after that bust John helped bring about the realization of one of his earliest visions by working with 15 other heads, including his partner Leni, to open the Artists' Workshop, an historie self-determination project which he spearheaded through the entire cour se of its development, The Artists' Workshop, primarily through the total dedication and tireless eff ort of John Sinclair, produced a long series of weekly free concerts and poetry readings, developed a free university for the community, published magazines and books of poetry and other writings by Detroit artists and heads of all kinds, and stood as a beautiful example of self-determination for the alternative culture which was just beginning to emerge in those days out of the filth and despair of honky Amerika. In August of 1965 John Sinclair was busted for the second time, and the pólice made it even clearer this time that they were determined to stop what he was doing. He refused to be intimidated and instead began what has become a 6-year campaign to exposé the criminality of the marijuana laws and the snakes who enforce them. Again, we have to rememberthat at that time some of us were only twelve and thirteen years old, and many of you were still in grade school! John had been singled out by the pólice to take the weight for the whole hip community of the time, and although he hated having to divert some of his energies f rom what he considered his real -building self-determination for artists and heads into the framework of a creative alternative -he refused to give up or even to back down an inch in the face of the most severe repression people like ouyselves had yet faced. On February 24, 1966, John was sentenced to six months in the Detroit House of Correction af-; ter his lawyer had sold him out by refusing to challenge the constitutionality of the marijuana laws. He did the six months and came right back into the community to take up his work where he'd left off, trying to consolídate and extend the programs and the inf luonce generated by the Workshop. One of John's qualities which has inspired us most is his ability to understand what's going on among the people and to bring himself and his ivork into line with what the people are doing. While he was in the Hou Corrí' 'ion a big change took place in Detroit's hip community: thousands of freeked-out kids were rushing uut of their parent's suburbs to juin the heads and neo-beatniks who had cohered a round the cure of the Artists' Workshop. And while almost everyt i who had been associated with and involved in 1he Workshop was splitting Detroit fur San Francisco or Europe, John and Leni re-committed themselvés io staying in Detroit, wurking to br:' iv-cularged hip scène closi ler, aad pushing the selfdetermination policies which liad given birth and lite to the Workshop. John brought rock and roll bands togetfaer with the older heads, worked hard to help get the new Grande Ballruom established as a real community center for freeks, started pushing for Legal Self-Defense programs for kids who were getting busted, helped estal)lish a chapter of LEMAR, an organization workingfor the legalization of marijuana, organized benefits to ralse money for community projeets and to get bands into playing lor the benefit of their own people. and generally served as an energy source Lor the whole emerging youth community. Ho continually pushed for greater cooperation among freeks and for selfdetermination and freedom for our people, both in his writings and in his daily practice. On January 24, 1967, John Sinclair was busted for giving two joints to a female undercover agent and her piggish partner. Vaughn Kapigian of the Detroit Narcotics Bureau. He had been threatened continually by the police that they would "get him" if he didn't stop what he was doing, and they went so f ar as to infíltrate the Artists' Workshop and its communal dinners. poetry readings, rock and roll dances, communes and other activities, 56 people were busted January 24th, but John Sinclair is the only victim of the raid to get any time out of it. After the January 24th roundup the community went into a panic. John was held for a week without bond bef ore the people could get him out, but he immediately drew people back together and almost single-handedly purged the community of its paranoia and fear by the force of his example. Along with Leni, Gary Grimshaw, and a number of otherbrothers and sisters in the community John organized Love Energies as an antidote to the poisonous fear and separation which the police were trying to kill our new culture with. Love was conceived as a huge collective of freeks which could unite the active elements of the community and serve the needs of the people. Rock and roll bands, head shops, artisans and crafts people, light shows, people's newspapers, and other free institutions were brought together under the Love banner, and it provided a revolutionary direction and example for the growing youth culture in Detroit and Ann Arbor. In the spring of 1967 John organized the Belle Isle In, the first huge mass gathering of freeks in Michigan. He and Grimshaw founded the Forest SUN as a community newspaper, and Trans-Love as a whole pperated a free booking agency for people's bands, produced f ree concerts and benefits, provided free rides for people around town, turned the Artists' Workshop into a 24-hour youth community center and crash pad, opened a free store, printed and distributed marijuana literature, started a legal self-defense program, distributed free food to poor black and white neighborhood people during the Detroit Rebellion, and opened a people's rock and roll center called The See which was controlled and operated by freeks froni Trans-Love, During the same period John started his court challenge of the constitutionality of the state marijuana laws, which the courts still reiuse to respond to. In the late summer of 1967 John started working intimately with the MC5 and built them into what was then the raust powerful people's band in the country during his two-year association with them as their manager, He chatïnelled the band's energies back into the community iut of which it carne and standard for rock and roll bands which is still rarely matched. Under Johri's leadership and direction the MC 5 played more free concerts and benefits than any olher band on the planet, and when they started meeting with i .justantly increasing reprensión fruni the pólice, state and city ■ ities, and the rock and roll imperialists within the music industry itselü, he steadfastïy reiusedto submit to the whims of the pigs who couldn't stand to see a band which they couldn't control. In this as in everything else John stood firmly with the people and inspired all oí us to resist the illegitimate authority of the fascist elements who hate our life culture and everything it stands for. He showed us that we don't have to "stay in our place" and go along with the death program of the honky power structure, that the spirit of the people _is_ stronger than the Man's technology, and most of all, that if all of us come together and struggle for what we have to have we can't be stopped no matter how hard the death merchants try to keep us down. In 1968 Trans-Love moved to Ann Arbor with its bands - the MC 5 and the Up--and established itself as a force in the emerging Ann Arbor youth community, In the summer of 1968 John Sinclair led the fight for the existence of the free concert program in the parks and took the MC 5 into the parks to play every Sunday free for the people. The only exception was August 25th, when the 5 were the only band to defy the state paranoia and threats in playing for its sisters and brothers in Lincoln Park in cago. John and Pun Plamondon also established a Legal Selí-Defense program in Ann Arbor and, in November, formed the White Panther Party as a political arm of Love Energies. As Minister of Information and the guiding force within the WPP John further developed the ideology of selfdetermination for our people and taught us the need to intégrate our revolutionary Life Culture with the political struggle for freedom and self-determination for all peoples, particularly the liberation struggle of black people in this country. And he showed us how this could be done by developing the MC 5 as an even stronger political force in the youth community, constantly stressing the responsibility of the people's bands to serve the needs of the people who support them. During his last few months on the street John gave 100% of his time and energy to the party and to the people, working with the band to get the music to the people, leading the political struggle here in Ann Arbor to get the parks for the free concerts in the summer, fighting in the courts to defend himself against mounting charges as the pólice intensified their efforts to snuff him off the set, working with the people's radio stations in Detroit to get more music to the people, producing the first Rock and Roll Revival at the State Fairgrounds, helping get the Argus started as Ann Arbor 's community newspaper, and doing whatever he could to contribute to the growth of our culture and the strength of our people. On July 25th, 1969, John was setitenced to 9 12 - 10 years in prison for possession of two joints even after the court had ruled that they got their evidence through illegal entrapment back on January 24th, 1967: And although John had made the first uncompromising challenge to the constitutionality of Michigan's dinosaur marijuana laws, vicious dog judge RobeH J. Colombo refused even to set an appeal bond in his case, oinking that John Sinclair is a "threat to the community" and must be kept locked up He has been locked up for over 22 months already, and we can 't stand it any -John must be set free, NOW! ! We shouldn't have waited this long to make this simple demand, but we had to give the courts a chance to repudíate their piggish representative Colombo, and they refuse to do so on their own Now it's up to the people to force them to move by raising our voices and putting our bodies on the line like John always has. so he can be back with us where we all know he belongs. During the next two weeks the Committee to Free John Sinclair will be sponsoring a series of people's events to raise money for John's defense and to put righteous pressure on the cold, unfeeling court system in this state to grant John an appeal bond We will also be distributing poste ards addressed to Governor Milliken asking that he commute John's sentence in the interest of justice and truth. If we don't get any action now we just won't quit pushing - we can't stop until our brother is back on the streets with the people he loves. He can't stand being without us much longer, and we áure can't stand having him locked up! FREE JOHN NOW! Leni Sinclair Gary Grimshaw Pun PlamDndon Genie Plamondon Frank Bach Peggy Taube David Fenton David Sinclair of the Central Committee Rainbow People's Party BBaaKHmMM