October 6, 2010

Solidarity Statement from the Labor/Community Strategy Center

Presented by Esperanza Martinez, organizer with the Labor Community Strategy Center, at the Press Conference at the Federal Building in Los Angeles on September 28, 2010.

Today we come together as social justice organizers and organizations in Los Angeles to denounce the FBI raids on seven homes and an anti-war office on Friday, September 24, 2010 in the cities of Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan.  We come together to denounce the attempt by the FBI and the US to silence and criminalize anti-war and international solidarity activists.  We see these raids and subpoenas as part of a historical and growing attack by the state on those committed to fighting for justice inside and outside of the United States.

These types of intimidation tactics are not new to those challenging war, militarization and U.S. intervention across the globe. They date back to the 1920s and the Palmer Raids (rounding up 10,000 people in 33 cities), WWII & the FBI led Counter intelligence program, and the countless repressive tactics in the Third World meant to squelch resistance to U.S. interventionist policies and actions.

These tactics continue to direct attacks on our freedom to speak, our freedom to assemble with like-minded people, and our freedom to tell the government that its actions and policies are wrong. It is an attempt to clear the way for more wars and occupations of other countries by the U.S. military.

Here in Los Angeles, just last week, the social justice movement was subjected to a similar tactic, a scary acceleration and intensified attack on close to 50 organizers and activists who may be charged with jail time for demonstrating public opposition, resistance and dissent to policies that incarcerate our youth, take away our jobs, hike up transit and housing costs and continue to give money to the war machine.

We know the costs of war land the heaviest on our communities, immigrant, working class, oppressed nationality, disabled communities. The cost of war in Afghanistan and Iraq means less money to education, less money for public health. The cost of prioritizing police expansion and hence police repression means less money for libraries and parks.

Those challenging the effects of war in our communities at home and abroad are being demonized and criminalized and we need this to stop. These raids & the overall attempted repression of the movement in LA and in the country are trying to send a message to us to SHUT UP and not fight back.

But we are here, we are organized, and we aren’t going anywhere!

We call on President Obama to step in on behalf of those organizers and activists that are being targeted to put an end to the criminalization of dissent and resistance.