"I'm here to tell you that apathy isn't it. And we can all do something if we try." ~ John Lennon
"I just considered it part of my job. If you were gonna be a revolutionary, you were gonna have to go to prison." ~ John Sinclair
John Sinclair is best known as the Sixties marijuana activist who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for giving two joints to an undercover policewoman. He was eventually freed when John Lennon and Yoko Ono spoke out on his behalf
Less understood is his role as the founder and chairman of the radical anti-war group, The White Panther Party, an offshoot of the Black Panthers. The Black Panther Party was a militant political organization formed after the brutal murders of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy.
During the Cold War the US Government launched a secret program called COINTELPRO to disrupt and ultimately destroy the Black Panthers and the Anti-War movement. As part of this program, John Sinclair was set up and imprisoned on marijuana charges. When the government could no longer justify denying him a bond over two joints, they falsely charged him with a Federal conspiracy to blow up a CIA station, in order to make him disappear.
In this case we find the secret origins of so much that troubles us today, like: classifying dissidents as terrorists, or the use of warrantless wiretaps and indefinite detention. The things that were revealed during his case are what the US government would prefer history forget.
WHITE PANTHER: The Legacy of John Sinclair
a short film by CHARLES SHAW
featuring JOHN SINCLAIR
music by Thelonius Monk, Roy Harper & Jimmy Page, Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon, Phil Ochs, Frijid Pink, Commander Cody, The Up