December 1, 2010

MGAA-AFT Local 2169 Solidarity Statement Condemning FBI Raids


To All Whom It Concerns:

Whereas, on September 24, 2010, the FBI raided the homes and offices of anti-war, international solidarity and trade union activists in Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan and served subpoenas to 14 people to testify before a federal grand jury regarding their anti-war and international solidarity efforts; and

Whereas, 10 of the 14 people subpoenaed are union members in good standing with a long history of activism and leadership within their unions and their local labor communities; and

Whereas, four days prior to the September 24 raids, the Office of the Inspector General of the United States revealed that the FBI has systematically and wrongly spied on political activists; and

Whereas, on June 20, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Holder v Humanitarian Law Project to uphold a provision of the USA Patriot Act so broadly as to outlaw legitimate humanitarian work, journalism and international solidarity; and

Whereas, from the Industrial Workers of the World’s (IWW) fight for free speech in the 1910s to the major labor-inspired civil liberties court decisions of the 1930s, the labor movement has often been in the forefront of defending the right to speak and protest.

Therefore Be It Resolved, that this body goes on record as expressing its grave concern that the recent FBI raids and grand jury investigation are reminiscent of the Palmer Raids of the 1920’s, the McCarthy hearings of the 1950’s, and the FBI’s harassment of the civil rights movement, and denounces these raids as the beginning of a new and dangerous assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, international solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner; and

Further Be It Resolved, that we call on our US Senators to request a Senate investigation of post-9/11 FBI surveillance of social movements and the use of expansive anti-terror laws to criminalize dissent; and

Further Be It Resolved, that in light of the Inspector General’s recent report, this body calls upon the President of the United States to halt the grand jury proceedings and order an immediate investigation into the circumstances, motivation and propriety of the judicial and police intimidation of our members and others; and

Be it Finally Resolved, that we forward this resolution to regional labor councils and urge these organizations to similarly condemn FBI and DOJ attempts to intimidate and disrupt grassroots social movements.

In Solidarity,
The Executive Committee of the MGAA