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International legal support groups

MISSION STATEMENTS OF INTERNATIONAL LEGAL SUPPORT GROUPS

In developing a operating philosophy for your group, it may be useful to draw on the articulations of other established groups committed to activist legal support

Green and Black Cross (UK)

We believe in and support the kind of democratic change that comes from below. We see in history a narrative of progressive change when people come together in the face of dominant powers to confront problems and take their fate into their own hands. Through a diversity of tactics we see change occuring in this way from the fight for the five day working week, the movements for women's suffrage to the Poll Tax rebellion. For us, as the chant goes, this is what democracy looks like!

At the same time in these histories we find repression and abuse of social struggles by concentrated power -be that state, big business or 'revolutionary' Political Parties. For this reason we share a tradition and commitment to non-hierarchy and collective decision making.

Green and Black Cross has not been set up to direct a movement. Instead our role is one of support and developing the strength of movements through the practice of non hierarchy and mutual aid.

Die Rote Hilfe (‘Red Aid’) (Germany)

The Rote Hilfe is a solidarity organization that supports individuals from the left who are politically persecuted. It focuses on political refugees from the Federal Republic of Germany, but also works to support those persecuted by forces from other countries. We support all those who because of their left political activity lose their jobs, have to go before the court or are sentenced. Similarly, we support those who are persecuted in another state and who are denied political asylum here.

1. We provide both political and material assistance

  • We prepare together with the defendants before the trial and make known his/her political background, especially in public.
  • We take care of solidarity events, fundraisers and grants to ensure that the financial burden borne by many together. We aim to cover legal and court costs partially or completely, but also payments for living expenses will be paid if heavy fines are incurred, people face job loss or imprisonment or the victims or their families are in trouble.
  • With political prisoners, we maintain personal contact and advocate that the prison conditions improved, especially solitary confinement is lifted, and we demand their release.

2. The Rote Hilfe is not charity

Supporting individuals facing repression is simultaneously a contribution to strengthening the movement. Each and every one participating in the campaign should be able to do so in the knowledge that afterwards, if they face criminal proceedings are will not be left alone. One of the main purposes of government persecution is to isolate individuals who have taken to the streets together, by picking out individuals, imposing exemplary punishments as deterrents. Against this, Red Aid promotes the principle of solidarity in order to encourage the continuation of the resistance.

Besides the direct support for those affected by state repression, the Rote Hilfe aims to generally defend against political persecution. For example, we work before demonstrations to make sure that the participants are equipped and prepared to protect themselves and other from injuries, arrest and state violence. We are committed to campaigning against the strengthening of criminal sanction or repressive laws, against the weakening of the rights of the criminal defense and defendant, against isolation punishments, and against further restrictions on the freedom of speech and assembly.