The word “Kafkaesque” is thrown around liberally in the modern era, often without warrant. “The Trial,” a 1925 novel written by Bohemian writer Franz Kafka, tells the story of Josef K., a man arrested and prosecuted in a nightmarish kangaroo court while unable to properly defend himself. But nearly 100 years later, another real trial took place in our modern American dystopia, one which easily qualifies for the moniker. Starting February 11, four anti-war activists, Adrienne Pine, Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers and David Paul, were facing a year in prison and a $100,000 fine each for interfering with the protective function of the State Department. Today, despite a hostile judge and a host of constraints against the defense, prosecutors were unable to convince a jury that any crime had been committed and the events ended in a mistrial.
The four are members of the Washington D.C. Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective, a group that last year, at the behest of the government of Nicolas Maduro, entered and occupied the Venezuelan embassy for over a month. In 2019, the Trump administration sponsored a series of coups against the democratically elected Maduro, bizarrely announcing the virtually unknown politician Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of the country. Each coup was less successful than the last, and Maduro remains in complete control of the country, while Guaidó has become an overwhelmingly unpopular figure, jeered and assaulted wherever he goes.
On the news of the mistrial verdict, Howie Hawkins, 2020 Green Party presidential nominee, said “I am grateful for the resolve of the jurors who held out and caused today’s hung jury…It shows that the overreach in foreign policy of the Trump Administration is not popular among the American public.” Flowers and Zeese are members of the Maryland Green Party. “We stand with Greens and other progress