June 10, 2011
Strengthen the united defense against FBI and police raids
Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party condemn the FBI and L.A. County police raid on the home of Carlos Montes, a nationally respected veteran leader in the Chicano and immigrant rights movements. Toting automatic weapons, cops broke down Montes' door on May 17 at 5am and seized his computer, cell phones and files documenting decades of political work. He was arrested and released on bail the following morning. The blatantly political nature of the attack was shown by FBI questions to Montes about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, a U.S. anti-imperialist group founded in 1985.
Carlos Montes has spent 40 years resisting U.S. wars—from Vietnam to Iraq. He has built solidarity with movements against repression in Colombia and for the liberation of Palestine. His forefront role in the L.A. Committee to Stop FBI Repression, a united front against government raids and Grand Jury attacks, clearly put him in the government's crosshairs.
We urge all civil rights and civil liberties defenders in the Los Angeles area to attend Montes' court appearance on June 16. Activists in other cities are encouraged to attend June 16 protests in defense of Montes (see www.stopfbi.net for locations). We demand that the government drop all charges, return stolen property and pay restitution for damages.
Assault on dissent widens
The arrest of Montes is an expansion of FBI harassment that began in September 2010 with raids on homes and offices of 23 leftists and activists centered in the Midwest. These 17 women and six men include parents, grandparents, immigrants, unionists, and community organizers. Like Montes, they are anti-war and international solidarity activists. They have been subpoenaed to testify before Grand Juries, but all have courageously refused to participate in these political fishing expeditions.
FBI documents left behind in one of the raided Midwest homes included a list of 100 questions agents planned to ask about the political activities and associations of those targeted. The majority of the questions related to Freedom Road Socialist Organization: its membership, finances, decision-making, recruiting, meetings, associations with other groups, and additional constitutionally protected information. The government implies it is seeking out terrorist activity. But its own documents show it has no evidence and is instead trying to fabricate charges to justify its intimidation campaign.
Why the Left is under the gun
Internationally, workers, students, women and the poor are in revolt against dictators and World Bank starvation measures. U.S. labor is on the move against unemployment, poverty and union-busting. Women are fighting back against wholesale assaults on reproductive freedom, public education, and social welfare programs. Increasingly dissatisfied with government officials who rob trillions from the public to fuel corporate profits, workers are justifiably angry at being blamed for a crisis caused by banks, war spending, and tax cuts for the rich. This discontent could easily turn into mass revolt.
Radicals such as Carlos Montes have the mobilizing experience and bold strategies that can help forge workingclass solidarity across lines of race, gender, nationality and sexuality. All supporters of civil liberties and human rights must defend them—before the attacks spread to include other critics of government policies.
An injury to one is an injury to all
The Obama administration's red–baiting and accusations of terrorism have only stiffened the resolve of the broad array of organizations and individuals who are working together to stop the frame-ups. The Committee to Stop FBI Repression was formed last fall to expose the government's escalating suppression of dissent and to build a united movement to stop it. It welcomes the participation of all who agree with its basic principles of defending the right to privacy and freedom of association of those who refuse to talk to the FBI or testify before a Grand Jury about their political activism. Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party call on concerned organizations to issue solidarity statements that demand the government drop the charges against Montes and others who refuse to be intimidated by FBI terror tactics. We also urge groups and individuals to take the following actions:
• Help organize and attend local rallies on June 16 (details listed at www.stopfbi.net) . Sign the on-line petition in support of Carlos Montes at http://iacenter.org/stopfbi/ and urge others to .
• Sign the Pledge to Resist FBI and Grand Jury Oppression at http://www.stopfbi.net/get-involved/pledge-of-resistance. Plan to participate in a national day of protest that will take place if any of the activists are indicted or ordered to appear in front of the Chicago Grand Jury.
Our collective strength is urgently needed to end the witch hunts!
Radical Women, Los Angeles Chapter
Freedom Socialist Party. Los Angeles Branch