U.S. Out of Latin America Now!
Defend the Right to Resist at Home and Abroad
October 11 National Day of Action Against U.S. Militarism in Latin America!
We, peace activists across the country call to support the October 11 National Day of Action against U.S. Militarism in Latin America.
While the U.S. has been raging their endless wars and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are yet other wars and covert actions across Latin America, which have continued for more then one hundred years by the U.S. and more recently rapidly escalated against the peoples from Colombia to Honduras.
The Obama administration has accelerated the militarization of U.S. relations with Latin America, virtually erasing the goodwill with which Latin Americans welcomed the change of government in Washington. In June the United States signed an agreement with the government of Costa Rica – a pacifist nation that outlawed its army in 1948 – allowing unrestricted access for 7,000 Marines from 46 ships, armed with missiles, 200 helicopters, and other assault weapons; numbers totally disproportionate and inappropriate for official claims that it is to fight the so-called “drug war.”
This mobilization follows a basing agreement with Colombia for the use of seven bases; the recognition of a coup government and construction of a new naval base in Honduras; continued expansion of the U.S. military base in Curacao just over the horizon from Venezuela’s oil fields; and the military response to Haiti’s devastating earthquake in January 2010.
The goals for the Oct. 11 Day of action are to support, proposed by different Latin American solidarity organizations, include:
1. Cancellation of the threatening and unnecessary US military exercises in Costa Rica
2. Closing the School of the Americas (now Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation)
3. Ending the U.S. military presence on bases in Colombia, Honduras, Guantanamo, and elsewhere in hemisphere.
4. Ending the Merida Initiative with Mexico and the increased militarization of the U.S. border with Mexico
5. The proposal by Representative Barney Frank to start reducing the social debt by cutting the U.S. military budget immediately by 25 percent.
For more information about the Oct 11th national day of the action, please visit Latin America Solidarity Coalition • www.LASolidarity.org
We reprint below the statement by School of the Americas (SOA) Watch organizers, presented at the Tolemaida military base in Colombia as part of an action there in August, 2010. Tolemaida is one of seven Colombian bases that the U.S. military has been granted access to for 10 years under the U.S.-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement, which was signed in October 2009. The agreement has been met with broad opposition by the Colombian people, those through out South American and many other international rights groups. A U.S. Air Force document revealed that the U.S. military is planning to use the seven Colombian bases for "full spectrum operations throughout South America" against threats not only from "drug trade" and resistance movements, but also from "anti-U.S. governments" in the region. As Father Roy Bourgeois, SOA Watch founder and Purple Heart recipient, said, "The bases agreement operates from the same failed military mindset that has given rise to the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)." He added "The purpose of the bases and the purpose of the SOA/ WHINSEC are the same: to ensure U.S. control over the region through military means."
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We are nine U.S. citizens committed to justice and nonviolence. We recognize the unjust, deadly role our government has played throughout Latin America for decades.
We come to Colombia now to say NO! to an increased U.S. military presence here. We oppose in particular the recent long-term leasing of seven Colombian military bases to the United States, including this one at Tolemaida. We recognize that this escalation threatens Colombian sovereignty, militarizes the region, and poses a threat to neighboring countries.
We also come to say YES! to our many Colombian friends and acquaintances. We have worked in solidarity with them through ten disastrous years of Plan Colombia. Their courageous, nonviolent work towards a good life for all Colombians has inspired us.
We strongly agree with them that Colombia’s vast resources should benefit Colombians first – all Colombians – rather than multinational corporations. And we oppose the continuation of Plan Colombia (by any name), which has intensified political violence, contaminated land, forcibly displaced millions from their homelands, and failed to reduce drug production and trafficking significantly.
Back home, we nine work with many thousands to close the School of the Americas (SOA) – now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) – at Fort Benning, Georgia. We are known as SOA Watch. Since 1946, more than 65,000 Latin American soldiers have learned repressive counterinsurgency techniques at the SOA/WHINSEC. More than 12,000 Colombian graduates have brought those lessons home – with deadly, anti-democratic results.
At the fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009, President Barack Obama told Latin American leaders: "The United States will be willing to acknowledge past errors where those errors have been made.” And he said: “We're also committed to combating inequality and creating prosperity from the bottom up.” But so far he has failed to recognize the mistake of militarizing Latin American countries – Colombia in particular – against their own people.
We urge our President to withdraw U.S. troops, contractors, military hardware, and military aid from Colombia. We urge our President to close the SOA/WHINSEC and eliminate the U.S. military presence on Colombian bases.
Behind the Coup — The Right-wing Attack
The latest coup attempt, in Ecuador, against one of the countries in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) is an attempt to impede Latin American integration and the advance of revolutionary democratic processes. The right-wing is on the attack in Latin America. Its success in 2009 in Honduras against the government of Manuel Zelaya energized it and gave it the strength and confidence to strike again against the people and revolutionary governments in Latin America.
The elections of Sunday, September 26 in Venezuela, while victorious for the Venezuelan United Socialist Party (PSUV), also ceded space to the most reactionary and dangerous destabilizing forces at the service of imperial interests. The United States managed to situate key elements in the Venezuelan National Assembly, giving them a platform to move forward with their conspiratorial schemes to undermine Venezuelan democracy.
The day after the elections in Venezuela, the main advocate for peace in Colombia, Piedad Córdoba, was dismissed as a Senator in the Republic of Colombia, by Colombia's Inspector General, on the basis of falsified evidence and accusations. The attack against Senator Córdoba is a symbol of the attack against progressive forces in Colombia who seek true and peaceful solutions to the war in which they have been living for more than 60 years.
And now, Thursday, September 30, was the dawn of a coup d'etat in Ecuador. Insubordinate police took over a number of facilities in the capital of Quito, creating chaos and panic in the country.
Supposedly, they were protesting against a new law approved by the National Assembly on Wednesday, which according to them reduced labor benefits.
In an attempt to resolve the situation, President Rafael Correa went to meet with the rebellious police but was attacked with heavy objects and teargas, causing a wound on his leg and teargas asphyxiation. He was taken to a military hospital in Quito, where he was later kidnapped and held against his will, prevented from leaving.
Meanwhile, popular movements took to the streets of Quito, demanding the liberation of their President, democratically re-elected the previous year by a huge majority. Thousands of Ecuadorans raised their voices in support of President Correa, trying to rescue their democracy from the hands of coup-plotters who were looking to provoke the forced resignation of the national government.
Quito, Ecuador, September 30, 2010: The Ecuadoran people mount an immediate and militant defence of their president Rafael Correa, against an attempted coup by the police. (Indymedia)
In a dramatic development, President Correa was rescued in an operation by Special Forces from the Ecuadoran military in the late evening hours. Correa denounced his kidnapping by the coup-plotting police and laid responsibility for the coup d'etat directly upon former President, Lucio Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez was a presidential candidate in 2009 against President Correa, and lost in a landslide when more than 55 percent voted for Correa.
During today's events, Lucio Gutiérrez declared in an interview, "The end of Correa's tyranny is at hand," also asking for the "dissolution of Parliament and a call for early presidential elections."
But beyond the key role played by Gutiérrez, there are external factors involved in this attempted coup d'etat that are moving their pieces once again.
Infiltration of the Police
According to journalist Jean-Guy Allard, an official report from Ecuador's Defense Minister, Javier Ponce, distributed in October of 2008 revealed "how U.S. diplomats dedicated themselves to corrupting the police and the Armed Forces."
The report confirmed that police units "maintain an informal economic dependence on the United States, for the payment of informants, training, equipment and operations."
In response to the report, U.S. Ambassador in Ecuador, Heather Hodges, justified the collaboration, saying "We work with the government of Ecuador, with the military and with the police, on objectives that are very important for security." According to Hodges, the work with Ecuador's security forces is related to the "fight against drug trafficking."
Ambassador Hodges was sent to Ecuador in 2008 by then President George W. Bush. Previously she successfully headed up the embassy in Moldova, a socialist country formerly part of the Soviet Union. She left Moldova sowing the seeds for a "colored revolution" that took place, unsuccessfully, in April of 2009 against the majority communist party elected to parliament.
Hodges headed the Office of Cuban Affairs within the U.S. State Department in 1991, as its Deputy Director. The department was dedicated to the promotion of destabilization in Cuba. Two years later she was sent to Nicaragua in order to consolidate the administration of Violeta Chamorro, the president selected by the United States following the dirty war against the Sandinista government, which led to its exit from power in 1989.
When Bush sent her to Ecuador, it was with the intention of sowing destabilization against Correa, in case the Ecuadoran president refused to subordinate himself to Washington's agenda. Hodges managed to increase the budget for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) directed toward social organizations and political groups that promote U.S. interests, including within the indigenous sector.
In the face of President Correa's re-election in 2009, based on a new constitution approved in 2008 by a resounding majority of men and women in Ecuador, the Ambassador began to foment destabilization.
Certain progressive social groups have expressed their discontent with the policies of the Correa government. There is no doubt that legitimate complaints and grievances against his government exist.
Not all groups and organizations in opposition to Correa's policies are imperial agents. But a sector among them does exist which receives financing and guidelines in order to provoke destabilizing situations in the country that go beyond the natural expressions of criticism and opposition to a government.
In 2010, the State Department increased USAID's budget in Ecuador to more than $38 million dollars. In the most recent years, a total of $5,640,000 in funds were invested in the work of "decentralization" in the country. One of the main executors of USAID's programs in Ecuador is the same enterprise that operates with the rightwing in Bolivia: Chemonics, Inc. At the same time, the NED issued a grant of $125,806 to the Center for Private Enterprise (CIPE) to promote free trade treaties, globalization, and regional autonomy through Ecuadoran radio, television and newspapers, along with the Ecuadoran Institute of Economic Policy.
Organizations in Ecuador such as Participación Ciudadana and Pro-justicia, as well as members and sectors of the Council for the Development of the Peoples of Ecuador (CODEMPE), Pachakutik, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), the Indigenous Enterprise Corporation of Ecuador and Fundación Qellkaj have had USAID and NED funds at their disposal.
During the events of September 30 in Ecuador, one of the groups receiving USAID and NED financing, Pachakutik, sent out a press release backing the coup-plotting police and demanding the resignation of President Correa, holding him responsible for what was taking place. The group even went so far as to accuse him of a "dictatorial attitude." Pachakutik entered into a political alliance with Lucio Gutiérrez in 2002 and its links with the former president are well known:
Pachakutik Asks President Correa To Resign And Calls For The Forming Of A Single National Front
Press Release 141
“In the face of the serious political turmoil and internal crisis generated by the dictatorial attitude of President Rafael Correa, who has violated the rights of public servants as well as society, the head of the Pachakutik Movement, Cléver Jiménez, called on the indigenous movement, social movements and democratic political organizations to form a single national front to demand the exit of President Correa, under the guidelines established by Article 130, Number 2 of the Constitution, which says: "The National Assembly will dismiss the President of the Republic in the following cases: 2) For serious political crisis and domestic turmoil.
“Jiménez backed the struggle of the country's public servants, including the police troops who have mobilized against the regime's authoritarian policies, which are an attempt to eliminate acquired labor rights. The situation of the police and members of the Armed Forces should be understood as a just action by public servants, whose rights have been made vulnerable.
This afternoon, Pachakutik is calling on all organizations within the indigenous movement, workers, democratic men and women to build unity and prepare new actions to reject Correa's authoritarianism, in defense of the rights and guarantees of all Ecuadorans.
The script used in Venezuela and Honduras repeats itself. They try to hold the President and the government responsible for the "coup," later forcing their exit from power. The coup against Ecuador is the next phase in the permanent aggression against ALBA and revolutionary movements in the region.
The Ecuadoran people remain mobilized in their rejection of the coup attempt, while progressive forces in the region have come together to express their solidarity and support of President Correa and his government.
Shame and Hope in Honduras
Whenever I read or hear news about Honduras, I always remember, with admiration, a Mexican of Honduran ancestry, the youngest of the 81 men who accompanied Fidel Castro when he returned to Cuba, landing near the foothills of the Sierra Maestra Mountains on December 2, 1956, to begin the war of liberation that ended Fulgencio Batista's tyranny.
His name was Alfonso Zelaya, and he served the Cuban Revolution with courage and loyalty up to his death of a heart attack in 1994 while visiting his native Coahuila. He had been born there in 1936, the son of a Honduran exile who had been forced to leave his homeland because of his participation in social struggles. Alfonso was the nephew of Honduran national poet Alfonso Guillén Zelaya and chose his nom de guerre, "Guillen," in his honor.
The ties of heritage and militancy between him and former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya are clear, as seen in the honor and rebelliousness that Zelaya displayed before, during and after the June 28, 2009, coup.
With that infamous coup, the neo-conservative forces of the United States and the corrupt local oligarchy crushed an administration that, even though it had been elected in the difficult conditions that the democratic bourgeois systems impose, had been honest in public affairs and had undertaken measures to benefit the people — which the bourgeoisie found unacceptable.
Above all, Washington sought to attack the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), the association of solidarity of the more progressive countries in the region, so as to begin a counteroffensive in Central and South America against the advances made by the anti-imperialist and leftist forces, seeking to reestablish the old relations of domination and subjection.
There is nothing new about the brutal repression that exists in Honduras now. The citizens of that Central American nation are very familiar with the methods that the oligarchy servile to the United States has employed in wielding power for many years and their results of poverty and injustice.
What is new is the strength of the Honduran people's resistance — not because Honduras lacked patriotic leaders in its struggle for political independence from Spain and then, after achieving that political independence 189 years ago, in the struggle for its second, definitive independence. These were men who risked their lives together with their Latin-American and Caribbean brothers. What is new is the masses' awakening from their lethargy wrought by neo-liberal illusions.
Seeking to legitimize the dictatorship that came to power through a military coup, the United States "recommended" to the de facto government that it hold an election — which placed Porfirio Lobo in power — just as it had urged the dictator Batista, in Cuba, to hold a spurious election that confirmed him as President. Recent electoral farces in Iraq and Afghanistan have had the same purpose of "legitimizing" Washington's puppets there.
The Honduran people enjoyed notable benefits during the progressive administration of Manuel Zelaya; now, all of those achievements have been swept away in just a short time. The coup's perpetrators have restored to the powerful U.S. oil companies the privileges that Zelaya's Citizens' Power administration, overcoming enormous obstacles, had taken away from them.
Honduras' membership in ALBA, a project of solidarity that was very helpful for that Central American country, was cancelled, leaving the country at the mercy of the voracity of the monetary policies of the big U.S. banks and of the international financial system they uphold.
The situation in Honduras today is eminently pre-revolutionary. On the one hand, selective and general repression, disappearances, murders, violations of civil rights, the torturing of prisoners, censorship, threats and the kidnapping of journalists. On the other, advances in the people's resistance, for the people have lost their fear of the military and the police, and the merging of the people's movements in an active National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) with the growing incorporation of individuals and social and professional organizations in the struggle.
The Cuban people's victory on January 1, 1959, wouldn't have been possible without Batista's March 10, 1952, coup.
That was the contradictory contribution of the Cuban oligarchy — which was shamefully dependent on U.S. imperialism — to Cuba's present achievements and, by extension, to the future of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The fact that the Cubans — though faced with the longest libel campaign in the history of the world and the most extensive economic, commercial and financial blockade to which any nation has ever been subjected — have saved their Revolution and now have some of the highest standard-of-living figures in the Third World shows that the dreams that the founding fathers the Latin-American nations cherished can come true.
Without the resistance that Cubans have put up against U.S. imperialism for more than half a century, Latin America's current prospects would be unthinkable.
The Honduran people are putting up strong resistance against the shameful June 2009 coup against Latin America in Honduras. The future is filled with hope.
(A CubaNews translation by Mary Todd. Edited by Walter Lippmann.)
The Honduran National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) exceeded its goal of collecting 1.25 million signatures to demand a Constituent Assembly and the return of former President Manuel Zelaya, Prensa Latina reports.
The signature-collecting process in cities, towns and villages of the country's 18 departments began on April 20 and ended September 15, in celebration of the 189th anniversary of Central American independence from Spanish rule.
On September 14, the number of signatures stood at 1,269,142, reported Rasel Tome and Elogio Chavez, members of the FNRP committee responsible for this work. "Today we tell the international community to hear the voice of the sovereign people, who cry out for justice and call for change. The people have spoken," said Tome.
The purpose of convening the Constituent Assembly is to change the constitution in effect since 1982 and to rebuild the country after the 2009 coup that ousted Manuel Zelaya as president. Zelaya was able to return to the country three months later, where he remained in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa until being exiled to the Dominican Republic. The FNRP is demanding that the government of Porfirio Lobo guarantee the former president's safe return to Honduras. "My exile is a crime committed by the current administration and my return should be as requested by the OAS with guarantees and freedom to perform my duties," Zelaya said in a letter to Radio Globo.
The Alliance for Global Justice condemns and urges all people of good will to protest the September 24, 2010, FBI raids on Minneapolis and Chicago activists. The raids and grand jury investigation are nothing less than an effort to criminalize solidarity efforts to promote peaceful and just solutions to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the half-century civil war in Colombia.
The Alliance for Global Justice is particularly concerned about unconfirmed reports that AfGJ National Co-Coordinator James Jordan is among 22 people named in the search warrant for the Minneapolis anti-war office, meaning that his emails with them will be read. Jordan has done groundbreaking work in exposing the US Bureau of Prisons’ role in the construction and oversight of prisons in Colombia where conditions constitute nearly unimaginable human rights violations such as lack of sanitary facilities and access to potable water as little as ten minutes a day. Jordan has also been an international leader in the effort to expose the unjust incarceration and prosecution of Colombian labor leader Liliany Obando who was jailed on the eve of her release of a report documenting military and paramilitary assassinations and human rights violations against Colombia’s largest farmer/farmworker union, FENSUAGRO, which has had more members killed than any union in the world.
The grand jury “witch hunt” is reportedly looking for evidence that activists have violated the ban of “material support” for groups designated as “terrorist” by the United States government. The definition of material support was recently broadened recklessly by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Alliance for Global Justice sees the current persecution of Colombia and Palestine solidarity activists as the first step to criminalize actions in solidarity with governments and social movements which oppose US hegemony, economic policy, and militarism. We think this is an extremely dangerous attack on civil liberties by the Obama Administration and cannot be allowed to stand.
The Alliance for Global Justice does not, and has never, provided material support, even under the new definition promulgated by the Supreme Court, to any organization designated as a “terrorist organization” by the U.S. government. We do not, in fact, provide any support. We do support the rights of all peoples to self-determination and self-defense in their quest to build a peaceful and just society and world and a better life for themselves and their children.
We will not be intimidated or frightened away from working in solidarity with our sisters and brothers struggling against oppression anywhere in the world. We urge all our supporters to take action to oppose this latest assault on all of us who work peacefully for a better world. Please contact President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to demand an end to the FBI raids and to demand that the grand jury witch hunt be closed down immediately. Send messages as well to your Representative and Senators and let them know that their response will help determine how you vote in November.
Last Friday, September 24, the FBI raided the homes of, and served Grand Jury subpoenas to, Hatem Abudayyeh, Executive Director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), and several other anti-war activists in Chicago, Michigan, and Minneapolis, and questioned others in North Carolina and California — essentially attempting to criminalize their strong and tireless advocacy against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and support for the rights of the peoples of Palestine and Colombia.
For many years, Hatem Abudayyeh has led the social services, cultural outreach, adult education, and youth development programming of the AAAN; and has advocated for the civil and human rights of Arabs and other immigrants in the U.S., as well as Palestinians and oppressed peoples across the world. The Arab American Action Network denounces the raids on the homes of, and the serving of Grand Jury subpoenas to, these anti war activists in Chicago and across the country. The FBI has overstepped its boundaries and targeted individuals based on their commitment to peacefully challenge U.S. policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Colombia.
The raids are unfounded and have violated these activists’ constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of assembly, rights that are supposed to be guaranteed without intimidation in the United States. Furthermore, the raids are a waste of taxpayer dollars and are direct attempts to intimidate, as well as silence, these activists, their communities, and any voice of dissent.
We, as members of the Board of Directors of the Arab American Action Network, condemn this attack on our Executive Director, which is another in a long list of attacks on our community. We stand in support of him and the other activists fighting for peace, justice, and an end to unjust U.S. policies across the world.
And we encourage participation in the national day of action on Monday, October 4 and 12 —call Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General (202-353-1555), and demand that the Department of Justice end its harassment of anti-war and international solidarity activists, return all materials seized in the raids, and stop the Grand Jury subpoenas.
We are people of faith and conscience who condemn the recent FBI raids in Chicago as a violation of the constitutional rights of the people and organizations raided. They are a dangerous step to further criminalize dissent. The FBI raids chisel away and bypass fundamental constitutional rights by hauling activists before grand juries under the guise of national security. An overly broad definition of “material support for terrorism” in the June 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerns us as people of faith who continue to be actively engaged in humanitarian work and peacemaking.
The real illegitimate activities are U.S. foreign policies that support war and occupation. We believe that peacemaking is a sacred commandment. We feel compelled to work to end military solutions that kill and maim innocent people, destroy civil society institutions, create massive poverty and dislocation of people from their homelands, militarize our own nation and continue to create more animosity against the United States, thus undermining our security.
We are committed to a just peace in Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia. Some of us have visited these conflicted areas and accompanied those most affected by the violence. Some of us have permanent staff and volunteers working nonviolently for a peaceful resolution to these conflicts. We all stand opposed to the U.S. and all nations’ support of military aid and military intervention in these countries. The infusion of military aid has exacerbated violence rather than resolved it.
We believe in a divine spirit of justice and hope that promotes understanding and equality of all humanity. We refuse to remain silent in the face of the latest efforts of the FBI to chill dissent against war by invading homes of peace activists and calling a grand jury with sweeping powers to manufacture fear. We denounce the use of fear and the far-reaching labeling of critical dissent as “terrorism” that tramples on not only our right, but our duty to dissent as people called to a moral standard of justice for all.
8th Day Center for Justice Staff
American Friends Service Committee – Chicago Office
American Muslims for Palestine – National
Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East
Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy
Community Media Workshop
Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
Fellowship of Reconciliation
First Chicago Church of the Brethren
Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice
North Suburban Peace Initiative
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Witness for Peace-Great Lakes Region
The following resolution was adopted unanimously by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 5 Convention on October 1, 2010. AFSCME Council 5 represents 46,000 workers in the state of Minnesota.
Whereas: The homes of three members of AFSCME Local 3800 and the Local 3800 organizer, Jess Sundin, Steff Yorek, Anh Pham and Tracy Molm were raided by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 7:00AM on September 24, 2010; and,
Whereas: Tracy Molm, Jess Sundin, Anh Pham and Steff Yorek were issued subpoenas to appear before a grand jury in Chicago in October, and,
Whereas: AFSCME Local 3800 is an affiliate of ASFCME Council 5, and
Whereas: These members have not been arrested or charged with any crime, and
Whereas: These four members in good standing are well-known and respected activists in our union, and
Whereas: FBI spokespersons have stated that the raids were prompted by the activities of these four members, and other individuals subject to the same raids, in seeking peace and justice for workers and other oppressed peoples throughout the world, and,
Whereas: These persons are entitled to a presumption of innocence under the United States Constitution, and,
Whereas: Every American has the constitutional right to advocate and organize for change in the foreign policy of the United States, and,
Whereas: AFSCME Council 5 takes note of the very recent report by the Department of Justice Inspector General that soundly criticized the FBI for improperly targeting domestic peace and antiwar groups for investigation, and,
Whereas: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has frequently gone on record in defense of trade unionists and others to educate, agitate and organize for the legitimate goals of peace, justice and solidarity with all working people, and,
Whereas: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has repeatedly demanded that Congress and the White House (quote) “disavow and reverse any practices or policies which threaten trade union rights or civil liberties,” as well as (quote) “opposing attacks on traditional constitutional guarantees” including in Resolution No. 156 of the 25th AFSCME International Convention in 1984 submitted by delegate Peter Benner, and in Resolution No. 79, adopted by the 35th AFSCME convention in 2002 which stated that “AFSCME, a union built out of the combined struggle of the civil rights and labor movements, take leadership in opposing granting wider powers to the FBI to infiltrate community groups and unions in the name of preventing further terrorist attacks,” (end quote) and,
Therefore Be It Resolved: That AFSCME Council 5 goes on record as expressing its grave concern that the recent FBI raids 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 our grave concern that these raids be 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 AFSCME Council 5 finds that no acceptable justification or evidence has been presented for these raids and subpoenas and that we have no reason to believe any will be forthcoming, and,
Further Be It Resolved: That we notify the Minnesota Congressional Delegation that Council 5 opposes these arbitrary and capricious raids, and,
Be It Finally Resolved: that in light of the Inspector General’s recent report, AFSCME Council 5 calls upon President Obama to order an immediate investigation into the circumstances, motivation and propriety of the judicial and police intimidation of our members and others.