EF!ers Charged with Felony Terrorism for Hunger Games Banner, Glitter

Two of the protesters have been arrested and charged with "Terrorism Hoax," a state felony which can carry a ten year prison sentence.

Two of the protesters have been arrested and charged with “Terrorism Hoax,” a state felony which can carry a ten year prison sentence.

After an action that involved dropping a glitter-fabulous banner from the second story rotunda of the Devon Tower in Oklahoma City, Moriah Stephenson and Stefan Warner were arrested on charges of Terrorism Hoax, Trespassing and Disorderly Conduct.

Terrorism Hoax is a state felony that carries a 10 year sentence.

At first glance, glitter falling from a banner with a Mocking Jay from Hunger Games that reads “The Odds Are Never in Our Favor” is a totally innocent act.

Not in the world of Oklahoma City Police, who apparently skipped the “satire” section of their class on terrorist plot devices. They say the activists with Cross Timbers Earth First! and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance took it too far when a black substance (also known as glitter) descended from the second floor balcony.

It is quite obvious that dropping glitter does not represent a terrorist act—not even a hoax—unless the accuser is afraid of the subversive quality of the literary reference being made (something to keep in mind before mentioning Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World on your Facebook list of top 10 fav books).

Activists have used the Hunger Games symbols as a way of expressing this very sense of political repression, so the trumped up charge of “terrorist hoax” comes as a chilling mechanism to repress dissent (kind of like beating up protestors at an anti-police brutality protest).

As Panagioti Tsolkas of the EF! Journal Collective declares, “If I were among the elite beneficiaries of the techno-industrial empire, I would have banned these books.”

In the film, locals from impoverished rural and industrial areas rise up against the Capital, an exploitative regime that uses brutal security forces to maintain its mines and logging camps in the districts. Activists note that totalitarian force is implemented to crush any sign of rebellion in the US, as has been exhibited by the sensitivity of the police to the usage of the Hunger Games.

Whether we are looking at what the police consider a “terrorist hoax” or a “terrorist pop culture reference” or even a “terrorist satire,” it seems like the Hunger Games continues to take on a subversive tone. Rebellion spreads throughout the districts… er… States… and the police do everything they can to quell it.

Tsolkas continues, “Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series, and even Gary Ross’ film adaptation, is creating a common language and context for rebellion, one not too far into fantasyland to be useful here-and-now.”

State Repression Nothing New

At the same time, such repressive charges have been filed before. In 2009, the AETA 4 were charged with Animal Enterprise Terrorism for writing with chalk on a Santa Cruz residential sidewalk, chanting, and brandishing signs. In Indiana around the same time, two activists were slapped with felony RICO charges for protests like tree-sits against I-69.

The US government is also known to employ convicted rapists as informants and agents provocateurs to spy on clown groups and other peaceful organizations.

More recently, a peaceful demonstration  of Smash HLS in South Florida was assaulted in late October by the Department of Homeland Security, and 9 activists were arrested. Also in Florida, members of Everglades Earth First! were monitored by the FBI last month while on a tour presenting an anti-GE tree slideshow.

Although it has routinely used the most dispicable practices in subverting popular resistance, officials connected to the Department of Homeland Security have claimed that peaceful environmental protestors bear “shades of Al Qaeda,” while the US army just ranked Earth First! as a terrorist organization alongside Al Qaeda.

The latter fact is especially difficult to swallow, considering EF! is an environmental group that fights industrial domination, while the US is bankrolling Al Qaeda in Syria to fight a regime that has rejected its plans for a pipeline. Similarly, the US has bankrolled regimes from Egypt and Saudi Arabia to Colombia and Mexico in order to attack popular movements.

Whenever and wherever a group is effective in exposing or subverting the US’s plans for ecocidal extraction and exploitation, it will be targeted, monitored, and viewed as terrorists.

Going back to the Hunger Games, Tsolkas explains, “District 12 (the fictitious coal mining community of lead character Katniss Everdeen) exists all over the real world, and actually is in the process of uprising.”

It is true. The odds are never in our favor. We must unite in resistance to the exploitative center or face the obliteration of all that we hold dear—even the earth, itself.

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