October 2, 2010

Socialists: End Spying and Disruption!

The following statement was released September 27 by Diana Newberry, Socialist Workers Party candidate for governor of Minnesota, and John Hawkins, Socialist Workers candidate for governor of Illinois.

The Socialist Workers campaign calls on workers, farmers, and all defenders of democratic rights to speak out against the September 24 FBI raids carried out in Minneapolis, Chicago, and other cities.

The break-in at the office of the Anti-War Committee and homes of activists in Minneapolis and Chicago should be condemned by all supporters of political rights. This assault on the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and association is a threat to labor unions, Black and Latino rights organizations, and to all working people.

For more than a decade the U.S. government has been laying the basis for expanding an offensive against the democratic rights of working people to speak out and to organize, anticipating that workers will begin to rebel against the conditions of the capitalist economic crisis. This crisis has now arrived.

Working people in the United States face a sharp assault by the bosses against our wages and working conditions. We are living through an escalation of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The government is expanding its use of wiretaps, informants, and frame-ups.

The FBI has a long history of intimidating and disrupting the struggles of working people attempting to defend themselves against the ruling rich. The FBI has carried out numerous violent acts against the civil rights movement, and has consistently targeted the labor movement; protests against U.S. wars abroad; the struggles of Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Native Americans, and other oppressed nationalities; and the fight for women’s rights.

The recent raids also come as the FBI is conducting a major national probe against the Somali community. For the past two years, the cop agency has raided their homes and businesses, and arrested and intimidated many in the Somali community. A number have been indicted in grand jury investigations. The FBI raids are being used to legitimize the expansion of spying and disruption against fighters for immigrant rights, the labor movement, the Black struggle, socialist organizations, and other working-class movements.

We must oppose the campaign by the U.S. government—Democrats and Republicans alike—to curb workers’ constitutionally guaranteed rights for political organization and activity, and to legitimize use of the U.S. troops abroad.

The first two years of the Barack Obama administration have been marked by stepped-up bipartisan efforts to expand the powers of the FBI and other intelligence agencies in order to conduct spying and disruption operations, carry out arbitrary search and seizures, and round up immigrants. A new expanded Patriot Act signed into law by President Obama earlier this year gives the government greater powers to convict anyone who “harbors terrorists” or raises funds for organizations the U.S. government considers terrorist.

We urge workers, farmers and all defenders of democratic rights to join us in demanding:
Stop the FBI raids!
Return all materials confiscated by the FBI!
Halt the federal grand jury investigations!
Repeal the Patriot Act; End all government wiretapping, spying, and disruption campaigns!