Statement to the Court

after Pleading Guilty to Demanding Democracy in the Oct 14th, 2000 Democracy Brigade

By Ben G. Price

Having been arrested for a third time on Oct 14th, 2000 for demonstrating in the US Capitol Rotunda in an effort to raise awarenss of the destruction of democracy via corrupt money exchanges between politicians and corporations with business pending before the congress, on November 9th I was again arraigned . This is the text of my statement to the court regarding my continuing airing of grievences against the government for tolerating such treasonous behavior.

In 1816 Thomas Jefferson wrote:

"I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

And in 1864 Abraham Lincoln wrote:

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war."

Your honor,

Sometimes citizens have to throw themselves bodily into the path of the American juggernaut to slow it down when it's gone off track. We've seen it in the case of slavery and the long unfinished struggle for civil rights. We saw it in the McCarthy era, when crimes of association were invented so that zealots could rule America through fear. Suffragettes confronted their exclusion from the club car of equal participation. And a century ago, Anti-Trust legislation got some of the wheels of commerce back on the track of democracy, but only for a short while.

I'm here because the American locomotive has again gone way down a wrong stretch of torn-up track by letting politicians take bribes and call them legal contributions! The citizen standing before you is here for violating a law that forbids me from petitioning my government for a redress of grievances within what has been called "the house of the people," the U.S. Capitol building. But had I come with a cash donation to hand to a congressman or senator, I would not have been detained nor accused of attempted bribery and corruption. I'd have been ushered into the offices and inner sanctums of American government and received like a sovereign of society.

Your honor, I expect you talk to lots of ordinary citizens every day who have no political clout. I wonder how many ordinary citizens the congressmen and senators who make up what we refer to as "our government" talk with in a day's time? As many as you? I don't think so. And I wonder if Jefferson and Lincoln would accept the idea of the courts becoming the platform of choice from which citizens may speak to their government, and then only in the role of "the accused." Again, I do not think so.

But I am here for trying -- and so far failing -- to get the kind of access to representative government that lobbyists and graft-peddlers achieve without harassment every day. I am here because when it comes to democracy, I won't take "No!" for an answer. As one of millions of sovereign American citizens, I won't stand for the privatization of democracy.

I pledge here and now that until those sworn to defend democracy take that duty seriously, I will find ways to remind them of their obligations, and to arouse other citizens to do the same. Those who don't rouse themselves to the alarm might be rudely awakened both by the absence of democracy and by the more drastic response demanded to compensate for its loss in the face of tyranny. It is my hope and intent to bypass that outcome peacefully and with dignity.

Thank you, your honor.