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Flag-Burner Calls Self a Maoist

June 22, 1989|From Newsday

NEW YORK — Gregory Johnson stood happily clutching a burnt American flag Wednesday, basking in his moment of triumph.

Earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, overturned the 32-year-old Bronx man's conviction for burning a U.S. flag in Dallas during the 1984 Republican National Convention.

Johnson is a member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, whose members stood around a burning banner chanting: "America, red, white and blue. We spit on you."

As he savored his victory, Johnson, sporting high tops with red and black laces and a black motorcycle jacket, spewed forth a stream of rhetoric leaving little doubt that the decision had not reinstated his faith in the Constitution.

"Liberty and justice for all is a lie," said the brown-haired, blue-eyed Johnson. "I am not an American," he added, "I'm a proletarian internationalist, a Maoist."

Johnson, who is unemployed, said he viewed the United States as a "racist and oppressive" society.

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