“You can take everything from a man, but not what’s here [pointing at his head]. Even if you kill him. And if he dies, this remains with others.”
—Chairman Gonzalo, aka Abimael Guzman, on the night of his arrest
Midday on March 9, federal agents surrounded our beloved comrade Dallas with shotguns and arrested him. As we write, he is sitting in the state’s dungeons.
We believe that this abduction of our comrade is the most recent and aggressive attempt on the part of the pigs—city, state, and federal—to quell and repress revolutionary organizing and the militant antifascist movement. Although there can be no doubt that wherever there is true resistance to the rise of fascism, the state will be sure to try to crush it, we believe that the movement in Austin has attracted particular attention. They see that it has become an example to others—and so now they wish to make an example of it by stringing up our comrade.
In recent years, Austin, Texas, has made international headlines for its militant antifascist struggle. Communists and anarchists have turned the streets of Austin into a battleground in the fight against genocide, deportation, and torture. Around the world, comrades have shown interest in and respect for Austin’s antifascists, who show the fascists no mercy, outnumbering them and putting up a fierce fight in all confrontations. What has perhaps attracted the most serious attention, not just from fascists but from pigs as well, is the movement’s staunch, hardened militancy and its high degree of organization—and the fact that it is for the most part led by communists.
This attention and subsequent repression began even before the sharp rise in fascism in the lead-up to Trump’s presidency. Nearly two years ago, people we assume the state believed were associated with the movement were visited by FBI agents who attempted to question them. Not long before Trump was elected, antifascists painted over fascist graffiti that the University of Texas had left untouched on the pillars of a museum on campus—and the pigs struck out wildly, arresting three people who were walking nearby on no evidence we can see.
But with the growth of the movement in size, sophistication, and militancy in the aftermath of Trump’s election, the repression began to increase sharply. The week following Trump’s election, three anti-Trump protests occurred. The first was led primarily by students from UT Austin after a walkout was staged, lasting for several hours, disrupting traffic for most of the work day. The next night, communists took charge in the street, urging protestors to take up more street space and to actively resist riot pigs sent to corral the protest. Tensions were very high, and by the pigs’ violent behavior it seemed clear they were itching to arrest antifascists. Three nights later, on November 13, six protesters, one of them being Dallas (which is not his legal name), were arrested and given various charges ranging from resisting arrest to assault. On the word of the Austin Police Department, an article alleged that all six were members of Red Guards despite the lack of any proof or cause to believe the claim. During the protest, one of the six was having health issues and was further injured during her arrest. She requested medical attention and was taken to the hospital, where she was harassed by the police, who asked her about her political affiliations and pressured her to state that she was in RGA.
Since then, over the course of a series of antifascist counterprotests, militant anti-gentrification demonstrations, and communist-led rallies, the state has only further intensified and refined its attempts to intimidate and punish the movement. They have arrested whoever they could, charging them with whatever they thought would stick, including arresting people for engaging in self-defense against fascists who had assaulted them. When someone was arrested at a militant anti-gentrification march, an FBI agent came and questioned them in the jail without checking in. Not long ago, after December 9, 2017, when Austin’s antifascists confronted, embarrassed, and drove out neo-Confederates and other fascists, the police report openly described all of the antifascists on the ground as members of “Red Guard.” It could likely go without saying, but at every point the police showed bald camaraderie with the fascists on the ground, shaking hands with them, joking and laughing with them, and eagerly protecting them while leaving the antifascists open to attack and turning a blind eye toward the fascists’ own open assaults.
During all of this, the movement in Austin has only grown stronger, refusing to be rattled or deterred by the increasing intimidation and repression. Because of the state’s unchangeable commitment to a degenerate, reactionary world, we feel sure they cannot abide the example set by the movement in Austin in its courage, unflinching militancy, and sophistication. And in the face of this resolve, we believe they grew increasingly convinced that they could not destroy this movement simply through generalized repression, and therefore must do as the bourgeoisie have done so often around the world: singling out the particular individuals they see as key to the movement, and then persecuting them with violence and intimidation they believe will be harsh enough to break their will or simply destroy them, hoping that by doing so they can end the movement. We believe it is obvious that, because of the leadership he has shown in protests, and because he is a staunch supporter of RGA, they’ve had their eyes on him for at least two years, hoping to either imprison him or kill him.
On November 13, 2016, as Dallas was being arrested by a DPS officer for a supposed assault that he did not commit, in what seems clear to us to be an attempt to murder him, Texas DPS officer Goodson wrapped his arms around his neck, twisting it and breaking it in two places, nearly leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Ignoring repeated requests from Dallas to leave in an ambulance for the hospital, another officer proceeded to arrest him and throw him in jail, where he spent the night with a broken neck. The pigs failed to kill him, and he survived that night and recovered slowly after invasive surgery, wearing a halo for months, which left him unable to bathe or cook for himself.
We believe that, after their failure to succeed in what looks to us to be attempted murder, the state decided to try to arrest him for more serious charges.
The series of events that led to his recent arrest by federal agents was set in motion by what we believe to be fabricated charges by Jesus Mares and his partner, Angelica Clarke. We are of the opinion that Dallas’s accuser, Jesus, may have been an informant for a few years or that he is now being paid to be one. He initially met Dallas in 2015 but cut contact for a while, returning in 2016, months before Dallas’s neck was broken. For well over a year, Jesus tried to incite him and other organizers to use unnecessary violence and acts of armed intimidation against federal agents. This contrasted starkly with the politics Jesus pushed at all other times, which were invariably for reconciliation with reformists. It is our opinion that Jesus, realizing that no one would help him carry out terroristic acts, chose to burn bridges with all serious organizers in the area to prepare to falsely accuse Dallas since he had no actual crimes to report. Shortly before Dallas’s arrest, Jesus and Angelica began harassing Dallas’s fiancée in person and via messaging apps.
On February 13, Jesus reported an assault with a deadly weapon that supposedly occurred two days previous, while Jesus’s partner accused Dallas’s fiancée of assault. Dallas was arrested at gunpoint in his fiancée’s apartment complex on March 3. Hearing him yelling outside, his fiancée opened the door to see what was happening, and was subsequently detained in a squad car for hours while the police obtained a warrant to search her apartment. Upon being released, she was told she could wait in the car or leave while her apartment was searched despite being earlier told during her detainment that she could be in her apartment as the search was conducted. She chose to leave only to return hours later to an upturned apartment. The pigs had left a Make America Great Again hat sitting prominently by itself, propped up near the entryway of her apartment. We believe this was an attempt at intimidation, and could be construed as a threat.
With his bail set at $70,000, Dallas remained in jail for five days as his friends, family, and comrades raised the portion needed to pay a bondsman. After his bail was paid and he was waiting to have his ankle monitor installed, his fiancée, who is pregnant with his child, was arrested. In an unsurprising show of cruelty, they kidnapped her as she was headed out the door to her nine-week ultrasound. This day, International Working Women’s Day, would have been their first chance to hear their child’s heartbeat. Although Angelica had accused her of assault at the same time Jesus accused Dallas, it was not until almost immediately after Dallas’s bail had been posted that they then arrested her. We believe this clearly shows that the pigs were trying to cause the most financial and psychological harm possible, keeping them from seeing each other and their unborn child for the very first time.
Dallas was released shortly before an International Working Women’s Day event got underway, and his first act immediately after being released was to come by in support of this event. He told everyone attending that he and his fiancée had both been facing these acts of repression. At the event, he read a deeply moving poem he had written in jail titled “To My Unborn Child.” He urged everyone to fight to get his fiancée out of jail, as she is an incredible example of a devoted woman organizer. Even after being unexpectedly imprisoned for days, and despite not knowing whether there were more warrants for his arrest, his very first priority was to rally his comrades to help defend his pregnant fiancée and to contribute to the success of this important event. Dallas has been a tireless organizer in advancing the women’s struggle. Everyone who knows him can attest to how many times he has stood up against misogyny and sexual misconduct and violence. These are the acts of a committed organizer, and are absolutely unsurprising for anyone who has known Dallas. He has always shown the deepest concern for the people, and lives above all else to see this political work continue even as his freedom and his life have come under sustained and potentially lethal attack. Inspired by his dedication and his touching call to action, his comrades immediately donated hundreds towards the bail fund and began discussing ways to aid the defense of his fiancée.
The next morning, Dallas and a friend headed to the bail bond office to meet the further requirements of his bail. Immediately upon exiting the car, they were surrounded by undercover cops and federal agents. Dallas was arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm as a felon, firearms we believe he had no access to. And while Dallas is a convicted felon, what is particularly absurd is that the conviction occurred almost two decades ago, when he was 17, for spray-painting a building whose owner pursued the maximum penalty of a year in prison. Despite the fact that he never claimed to live with his fiancée and that he is not on the lease, the pigs claim that firearms they seized while raiding his fiancée’s residence are evidence of this possession, firearms that they themselves admit were legally acquired and registered. It is certainly not a crime to own guns in Texas, and we do not see the police raiding homes to seize arms from “patriots” and to accuse them of fabricated crimes.
Although the feds were there only to arrest Dallas, the person who was with him was detained and forced to identify themself. After running their name, a federal agent asked, “So what did you steal?” and began asking leading questions about a fabricated theft that this person certainly did not commit. They said they did not steal anything and that there were no warrants for their arrest. The feds stopped harassing them, but an undercover made sure to say something to the effect of “if you don’t want to be in trouble, then don’t hang around communists,” which we believe is only further evidence that the feds are eager to invent phony crimes in order to imprison communists. We feel that the pigs are clearly aiming to cause psychological terror on all sides: to Dallas, to his fiancée, and to everyone who associates with them, through arrests, detainments, and harassment, hoping that some will implicate themselves unwittingly in a fabricated crime.
Jesus and Angelica claim that the alleged assault happened before 7 a.m. on a Sunday, as they were returning books to Dallas and his fiancée. A fight over books sounds so ridiculous that it may be possible that the judge thinks Jesus and Angelica merely claimed it was over books rather than over something that would implicate them in a crime as well, like a deal in weapons or drugs. To be clear, it would be ridiculous to assume either, as Jesus is already legally well armed, and both Dallas and his fiancée are completely sober. In fact, both of these comrades are known for helping their comrades and friends achieve sobriety and stay sober, and their help has been invaluable to many.
We believe that Jesus is a compulsive liar, lying about everything from his relationships to his drug use. As far as we can tell, he brings guns everywhere, and we believe he is itching to use them. He has offered to arm various people or train them in firearm use with what seems to be no regard for their legal status, ability, and well-being. If we are correct in our assessment that the FBI is using him as an informant, then it is obvious that they do not give a shit about the reliability, character, or mental stability of their informants as long as they believe it will give them a shot to put dedicated organizers in jail.
Jesus has not ceased his harassment even after all these arrests have occurred. A couple of days after Dallas’s first arrest in this sequence of events, Jesus, after seeing one of Dallas’s attorney’s clients inside a courthouse, texted that client a picture of their own mugshot. On another day, he acted in such a way that, we believe, constituted an attempt to impersonate one of Dallas’s attorney’s legal assistants, specifically asking two of his clients whether they had completed the steps needed to finish handling their cases. Jesus also stalked Dallas’s attorney inside the courthouse, following him into a stairwell and cornering him there to loudly confront him about representing Dallas.
We expect Jesus will continue harassing people with just about any degree of connection to Dallas. We believe that he is vindictive and that he takes joy in others’ fear. This use of reckless informants and repression tactics is not new in Texas. In 2008, FBI informant Brandon Darby suggested two activists make firebombs to use against state vehicles, and they were both arrested and imprisoned for years as a result of this federal plot. Like Darby, Jesus seems to be motivated by self-interest rather than any kind of sense of duty to the state. Unlike Darby, Jesus failed to sway the organizers he was targeting to attempt any terroristic acts.
With what seems to us to be no meaningful evidence, the feds have stacked charges against Dallas that could carry a total of 30 years in prison. If he is sentenced to all 30, he would be completely unable to be a part of his unborn child’s life, and would certainly suffer psychologically, trapped for decades in the state’s dungeons.
We hold that this yet another obvious case of the hypocritical U.S. state breaking its own laws and policies to attempt to destroy a political movement that threatens its disgusting existence and the genocidal oppression and exploitation it inflicts on most people on earth.
Let us say this clearly: these arrests will not kill the revolutionary work being done daily here and across the country. We uphold as we always have that the bourgeoisie are a class damned by their own utterly decadent existence to bring the hatred of the masses upon themselves, to suffer blow after blow from the global working class led by the communist movement until they are subdued and snuffed out once and for all. The state is dreaming the diseased dreams of a doomed class when it thinks it can drown our movement and the masses in bloody and cruel repression. The reality is that all they can do is hasten their own destruction. They cannot break the will of the movement guided by the sharpest weapon the proletariat has ever wielded: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism. Though we have many lessons to learn from our errors, and though it grieves us unspeakably that someone we treasure has fallen into the hands of the enemy, we have never been embarrassed by our work and our struggle, and we never will be. We will uphold, defend, and apply Maoism until our deaths.
As anyone who has known Dallas can tell you, he is a man who seeks no praise and truly embodies the revolutionary spirit Mao speaks of in his speech “Serve the People,” one who gives his whole life and self in service to the people. After Hurricane Harvey brought unimaginable destruction and grief to the Texas coast, he was in the first convoy from Austin to join Serve the People – Houston, ready to begin disaster relief in the midst of still-high floodwaters and prowling white nationalists armed with rifles looking to kill looters. His experience with Serve the People – Austin enabled him to streamline the food and supply servings in the most affected neighborhoods. But more than that, his deep love for the people shone through in every interaction, and he was always able to connect with the masses, figuring out what they needed most and always giving more than he had promised. Being passionately dedicated to political education, he has studied many topics with virtually everyone in the Austin movement and beyond, tirelessly educating others and striving to learn more daily. Dallas is an inspiration to an untold number of people with his internationalism, self-sacrifice, humility, and dedication. For years and years he has given absolutely everything he has to the movement and to the masses, and the movement has benefited from it tremendously. Those who know him love him beyond words.
We refuse to let these crimes against a great servant of the people go unnoticed and unchallenged. We have no faith that he would be granted leniency by the state, but we intend to fight every single step of the way to protect him from every kind of harm, to see him freed from the enemy’s dungeons as soon as possible, to ensure his family and his loved ones are protected—and to bring the light of truth to this most insidious attempt to kill and criminalize revolutionaries. We call upon everyone who loves the people as Dallas does to take up this fight alongside us—tirelessly, staunchly, and wholeheartedly. Below you can find ways to show your support, and we will update going forward on how you can join in his defense.
What they seek to do to him, they will try to do to countless of us. We will never rest in the defense of the masses, Dallas, and all true revolutionaries. In our unity, guided by our ideology, we are stronger than they can possibly imagine.
Struggle with us to expose the state’s hypocritical repression!
Spread the urgency of defending and freeing Dallas to the four winds!
You can send donations directly through PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Buy a T-shirt—all proceeds will be used for this struggle: http://teespring.com/free-dallas
SHARE HIS STRUGGLE.
UPDATE: YOU CAN NOW WRITE DALLAS LETTERS! And if you want to, you should! He said explicitly he’d greatly appreciate it–even if you’ve never met him. If you support him, he’d love to hear from you. If you email your letter to email@example.com, it will be printed out and mailed in to him, and his reply will be sent back to you via that same email.
(There are many questions about what is and isn’t acceptable to write about. The guidelines are pretty simple: (1) Do not write about any details surrounding his case. (2) Also avoid discussing your or anyone else’s participation, past or present, in specific organizations. Also avoid writing anything about an organization that is not already public knowledge. (3) Beyond that, almost everything is fair game. You can discuss things that organizations have already publicly said or done, as long as you do not implicate any individuals in those activities. He would welcome summarized updates on what organizations around the country and the world have been up to. He would also welcome hearing your reflections on what you’ve been studying or writing lately, so that he can provide his thoughts and continue, as he always has, to help others advance their political education as well as his own. Be creative, it doesn’t have to be limited to these things at all.)
– The article about him has been translated into French, German, and Dutch. Keep it going! http://www.redspark.nu/en/political-prisoners/defend-comrade-dallas-and-fight-for-his-freedom/
– Finally, STAY FOLLOWING THE CAMPAIGN. This will quite likely be a protracted fight. There will be things that you can help with beyond legal fees (that is, non-monetary things). Right now, writing letters to him, especially on an ongoing basis, is one of the best things you can do, but please keep following the campaign, because there will be other ways to help in the future.
Red salute to all supporters! Free Dallas!