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Dane Powell is a hero

Rudy Martinez

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On Jan. 20, thousands of protesters from across the country descended upon Washington D.C. to protest the inauguration of proto-fascist Donald Trump. Several hundred of these dissenters participated in an anti-fascist, anti-capitalist march that resulted in the arrests of over 230 people.

I was arrested that day and, along with 214 others, currently face decades in prison. July 7 marked the first sentencing of a co-defendant. His name is Dane Powell, and he is someone who should be looked up to.

Dane Powell, who can be seen in videos from J20 removing a child from harm’s way, was sent to prison on July 7 for employing escalated tactics against a bourgeoning fascist regime. The Metropolitan Police Department unlawfully deployed stun grenades, tear gas and kettling tactics in their pursuit of protesters through the streets of downtown Washington D.C. Reports have also surfaced of sexual assault committed by officers while protestors were in police custody.

Dane, like myself, has roots in Florida and was present at the Standing Rock protests which aimed to stall the Dakota Access Pipeline protests which have brought conversations about neo-colonialism to the forefront. Powell attended the inauguration knowing that the possibilities of being injured or arrested were high. When his daughter asked why he would not let someone else do the fighting, his response was “we can’t live our lives hoping for someone else to come and fix things for us.”

As he sits in a cell for the next four months, I want Dane Powell to know that he is an inspiration. His bravery is helping me brace for whatever the government wants to throw my way. I am sure my 200+ co-defendants would agree.

Though the world finds itself confronting multiple crises ranging from war, wealth disparity and the eventual death of our planet, issues worsened through the perpetuation of capitalism, you would be hard-pressed to see anyone in San Marcos doing anything about it. Dane Powell, knowing he had everything to lose, knew that residing on the sidelines was conceding defeat.

Dear reader, I do not mean to insult you, but chances are the most active you have been in the last year-and-a-half is critiquing our president at your favorite bar. When individuals like Dane Powell place, not just their freedom, but their very lives on the line in our never-ending struggle against oppression, you have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with them. Your decision to remain neutral makes you complicit in further actions undertaken by the Trump regime.

The future belongs to the daring individuals willing to fight back against fascism. Dane Powell is one of these individuals. My hundreds of co-defendants and I know who we stand with. Do you?

–  Rudy Martinez is a philosophy senior

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3 Responses to “Dane Powell is a hero”

  1. J Grace on July 20th, 2017 3:29 pm

    Mr. Martinez, you have done a disservice to the University and to the University Star. It is quite disappointing to see that as a Texas State senior, you consider this to be journalism and have so sadly put your ignorance on display in such a public manner.
    You portray your “hero” as a simple protestor, guilty of nothing other than rescuing a child. “Someone who should be looked up to.”
    The fact is that he was NOT a simple protestor. He was a thug and a mask-wearing coward. Powell pleaded guilty to felony charges of assault on a police officer and inciting a riot. In the court video, Powell was identified as throwing rocks and bricks at police and breaking store windows. In fact, according to the prosecutor, whose case was backed up by video, Mr. Powell was one of the most violent of those charged. He stormed the police line and the stores where he threw rocks through the windows had customers, including children, inside. Powell was identified in the video by his eyes, his brown boots, and by carrying a black flag. It was that same black flag that Dane Powell had been seen with the day before in Logan Circle when he was also carrying gas masks and a hammer. So, I would submit to you, Mr. Martinez, that this “hero” of yours went to DC to incite premeditated violence, to throw a tantrum in essence, because he didn’t get his way.
    You then go on to portray the police officers in Washington as unlawful, throwing the vague “reports of sexual assaults have surfaced” in the mix. Using ThinkProgress as your source is not the smartest decision – or did you chose that because they say what you want to hear, not necessarily that it is fact. Surely, you are aware that more than just a few articles from ThinkProgress have ended up on Snopes for false reporting.
    So Mr. Martinez, as a reader, you didn’t insult me. However, you may have embarrassed the Star with your poor journalism and misrepresentation of news. Perhaps instead of patting your sanctimonious self on the back for rioting with a coward, you should educate yourself. If yours is the only opinion that is acceptable to you and you see those that may not share that same opinion as an enemy to be conquered, you my friend, are backing the regime.

  2. David Gressner on November 30th, 2017 1:17 pm

    Just now found this, effing A and spot on!
    This cat just wrote ANOTHER gem about the erasure of the white race. Your response was a bullseye. MUCH love.

  3. Matthew on December 6th, 2017 9:20 pm

    Rudy is a dirty commie

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Dane Powell is a hero