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Defendant In Supreme Court Flagburning Case Responds To Senate Vote On Flag Consecration Amendment
                                   Joey Johnson 213-368-6778
                               Edward Hasbrouck 415-824-0214


(13 December 1995)

Gregory "Joey" Johnson, whose flagburning protest at the 1984 Republican National Convention led to the 1989 Supreme Court flagburning case and the continuing drive to outlaw burning the American flag to protest or criticize the U.S. government, issued the following statement in response to yesterday's Senate defeat of a Constitutional Amendment against flagburning:

"It's outrageous that this Amendment is even being considered and voted on, much less that it came within 3 votes of passage. But I think it's good that enough Senators realized that they couldn't get away with this Amendment, and that it would cause more problems for the system than it would solve.

"The forces behind this Amendment will not go away. They've already promised they'll be back next year, when they expect that the Congress will have become even more reactionary."

"Despite the claims of overwhelming public support for this Amendment, Congress decided not to gamble on what public outrage might come in response to this Amendment. I am certain that if the government enacts this Amendment, as more people become aware of what the Amendment criminalizes and what it threatens, it will engender more protest and defiance of the government, not less."

"The largest number of flagburning in recent U.S. history came in response to George Bush's call for this same Amendment after the Supreme Court decision in my case in 1989. Officials may want to deny or forget this, but there were flagburnings throughout the country in 1989, including in over a dozen cities after the Supreme Court further restricted women's rights to abortion.

"Enactment of this Amendment would lead to increased opposition to the system by a broad range of people, including many veterans who learned the brutal truth of America's 'glorious' invasions and wars from Vietnam to the Gulf to Somalia, as well as people who see this Amendment as an attempt to put a straightjacket on dissent and resistance, people who are civil libertarians or are opposed to amending the Bill of Rights, and a great many people who are uncomfortable with -- or offended by -- flagburning but who have a stronger sense of justice and can smell the odor of fascism coming from the Flag Amendment.

"I've said all along that we live in a sick and dying empire, clutching desperately at its symbols. This is a fascist flag amendment giving the state the power to attach one permissable meaning to the flag and to imprison anyone who says the flag means anything else. I urge people to step up the struggle and resistance against this Amendment and everything that it stands for.

Warren S. Apel