September 28, 2010

Statement by the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism on the recent FBI raids and harassment in Minnesota, Chicago and North Carol

We firmly denounce the recent raids by the FBI against the homes of activists in the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the Arab American Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society and other left and progressive activists. By serving ill-defined grand jury subpoenas, by seizing all computer hard drives, disks, cell phones, files and boxes of papers and seizing unrelated personal possessions stretching back for 30 years, the authorities have simply revealed they are on a ‘fishing expedition.’ In fact, they are illegally violating the privacy and constitutional rights of those they have unjustly targeted with the sham excuse of ‘anti-terrorism.’ Through these bogus claims and repressive actions, the FBI is threatening the democratic and constitutional rights of all Americans.

The people they have targeted are well known and respected in the left and progressive community. They are peace workers, solidarity activists, student organizers and trade union leaders. Some of them are also advocates of socialism, as is our organization, which, far from being a crime in our country, is a worthy goal shared by growing numbers of Americans.

The FBI’s claims are simply not credible, to say the least. We can only conclude they are a smokescreen for sowing divisions and trying to undercut what has become a majority of Americans now critical or in open opposition to the wars and occupations being carried today in Iraq, Afghanistan and the West Bank and Gaza. Also under fire by these attacks are cross-border trade union solidarity efforts, such as those between U.S. unions and the Coca-Cola workers, banana workers and other unionists fighting for their rights in Colombia and elsewhere.

For decades, the real terror being carried out in Israel and the Occupied Territories is mainly directed against the Palestinians by the rightwing Zionist government with U.S. funding. For decades, the real bloody horrors and crimes in Colombia have been carried out by rightwing death squads, often with the complicity of the U.S. military. Across the world, solidarity movements and human rights campaigns have emerged to expose these crimes with increasing effectiveness. The only way the FBI’s actions make any sense at all is as a bungling effort to try to undermine them.

Americans learned bitter lessons from the FBI’s COINTELPRO repression in the 1960s, and won a number of legal and political battles to curb it in the future. Many of us warned against the undue undermining and attempts to reverse that progress that were implicit in much the post 9/11 ‘Patriot Act.’ One of President Obama’s campaign pledges was to put a halt to that regression. Unfortunately, it appears that he has decided otherwise, and he will pay a price in weakening the unity of the progressive majority needed to fight for anything positive still on his agenda.

We demand that the FBI cease and desist in these attempts to intimidate and divide, that the Grand Jury proceedings and subpoenas be vacated and stopped, and that the FBI return the belongings seized. We urge all Americans to repudiate this misadventure if they hold to the democratic values in our Constitution. Even if actions like these seem bizarre and aimed at relatively small groups, they must be nipped in the bud. An injury to one is an injury to all.

Many actions are scheduled across the country in the next few days to protest these attacks. Following is a partial list of some of them we have now. We urge all our members, friends and allies to take part and help in whatever ways they can:

Monday 9/27:

Minneapolis, MN – 4:30, FBI Office Monday, 111 Washington Ave. S.

Chicago, IL – 4:30 Federal Building, Federal Plaza.

Kalamazoo, MI – 4:30 Federal Building, 410 W Michigan Ave

Salt Lake City, Utah – 9 AM at Federal Building

Durham, NC – 12 noon Federal Building, 323 E Chapel Hill St

Buffalo, NY- 4:30 pm at FBI Building – Corner of So. Elmwood Ave. & Niagara St.
Gainesville, FL – Monday, 4:30 PM at FBI Building
Boston, MA – 4 to 6, JFK Federal Building, Government Center

Tuesday 9/28:

NYC, NY – 4:30 to 6pm Federal Building, 26 Federal Plaza,

Newark, NJ – 5 to 6pm Federal Building Broad Street

Philadelphia, PA – 4:30pm Federal Building, 6th & Market,

Washington DC – 4:30 – 5:30 FBI Building, 935 Pennsylvania Ave NW.

Boston, MA – 5 pm, JFK Federal Building

Detroit, MI – 4:30 pm McNamara Federal Building, Michigan Ave. at Cass

Raleigh, NC – 9 am. Federal Building, 310 New Bern Ave

Asheville, NC – 5 pm Federal Building,

Atlanta, GA – Noon, FBI Building

Los Angeles, CA – 5 pm, Downtown Federal Building, 300 N Los Angeles St

Tucson, AZ – 5 pm Federal Building

Wednesday 9/29:

Albany, NY -5 to 6 pm Federal Building