Four years ago, Democracy Now! called Chuck Turner, who has represented District 7 as its City Council member since he was elected in 1999, "one of the city’s best known dissenters." He has seen some awesome social action, by lying across Columbus Avenue to prevent construction that dispaced poor minority neighborhoods; occupying the Mayor's office in 1991 with a dozen others forcing The Man to make key concessions concerning the hiring of minorities on city construction projects; and suing the city in 2004 for not allowing protesters to march to the Democratic National Convention held at the Fleet Center.
So as you might have heard, Turner was arrested on Friday, Nov. 21, 2008, for allegedly accepting a $1,000 "bribe" from a local businessman named Ron Wilburn, and then "repeatedly" denying that he was "ever being offered the money," according to an FBI affidavit. Turner has since come out on BNN-Channel 9's "Talk of the Neighborhoods" and said if any mistake was made, it was a "campaign finance violation" and that there was no "probable cause" for his involvement in this investigation. The whole thing started to unfold when the Feds unveiled their case against Diane Wilkerson, and the probe seems to be expanding from her. Wilkerson was the first black woman elected to the state Senate. These leaders of of color have presided over a constituency largely composed of minorities.
The Boston Herald reported: "Turner says he’s innocent. 'I did not extort money from Mr. Wilburn,' [Turner] said."
Well, the Boston Herald, the Boston Globe, all TV stations, et al. of the imperialist MSM in the area generally have been crucifying Turner in their coverage -- except for the Globe with what might of been a euphimism for a headline "Turner raises questions about Wilburn interview," when in it was more like "Turner attacks Globe for its failure point out inconsistencies in an interview with FBI informant who lacks credibility." (But there are some reasons maybe the Globe has to treat Turner like a chump.) Oh, I like this letter. But this is for real so lets drop that stupid stuff; and, seperately, we don't have to blindly trust the FBI all the time.
While Turner is boisterously on the defensive with the local MSM, he got all nice and cozy with The Fenway News, a small monthly newspaper with little online presence, and their reporter Aqilla Manna, who also spearheads the newspaper's distribution. She presented a short explanation from Turner about his situation in the context of the greater struggle for social justice. Turner reflected:
"[M]any people have expressed their condolences for my being in this kind of situation -- have expressed how unfair it is, and how difficult it must be for me. What I'm trying to help them understand is that if your objective in life has been to challenge the system, that is similar to someone poking a bear with a stick. When you poke a bear with a stick, you'd be a fool to think that the bear isn't going to swing back. And so your whole life your practice is to figure out how to duck the swings of the bear so that you may have another opportunity to try to bring him down through poking him in the stomach.
"So what's happening is my wife and I have been preparing for this day. We knew this day was going to come if we kept up an effective level of work because their practice is not to allow people who won't submit to their will ...
"They set up a situation that will take you down. So what's happening is not surprising -- it's draining in terms of energy, but it's not even troubling. I know I'm innocent. I'm an organizer. I know how to organize my defense. I've been advocating for people for over 40 years. So if I can advocate for other people for 40 years, I certainly am not concerned with being able to advocate for my self ...
"In fact, in some ways, I'm overjoyed that it's happened, which seems strange, but meaning I'm at the time that I have to realize that every breath I take could be my last. So for me, what I really yearn for is the opportunity to be able to see that my people can understand clearly and see how the system functions. ... The fact of this situation gives me the opportunity to really help teaching critical thinking, help teach how to not to be misled by the psychological warfare that's used to demoralize us as individuals as well as people.
"So for me, God had given me just a wonderful opportunity to help my people understand the viciousness of the system that we had been oppressed by for 400 years."
Of course, we all know there's something pretty fishy about this. Does the FBI allow only crotchety, old black guys like Ron Wilburn to get revenge only on their fellow African-American figures in the community in these skeezy, sneaky ways. Is it all to neutralize The People and keep them complacent, without hope for better pay or, furthermore, change in the white power structure that dominates American society? Or are we all allowed to try to set up our politicians? Or do we have to be Whitey Bulger or something?
Ron Wilburn said their was more people going down or, basically, it wouldn't be right. Either he's just collaborating with a systemically racist system or he's ignorant in getting this simple smalltime revenge.
Besides the Turner story and the sidebar interview by Manna on the cover of The News there were election results and a photo feature. The picture showed a longtime neighborhood activist and former city councilor Rosaria Salerno being recognized for a lifetime of achievements as a founding member of the Fenway CDC. In the image, she embraced with State Representative Byron Rushing.
Ron Wilburn, the cooperating witness in the Turner and Wilkerson case, said their should be others arrested or it wouldn't make sense. I've heard eyes are on a State Representative. Rushing, watch out!
Photo (cc) by Jonathan McIntosh and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.