Resistance is a Right!
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FBI Raids, Anti-Muslim Hysteria and the Demand to be a “Loyal American”
The recent raids in Minnesota and Chicago by Joint Terrorism Task Forces, including the FBI; the government organized anti-Muslim hysteria; mass round-ups and terrorizing of immigrant communities — all are part of the war drive of the imperialists and their efforts to impose fascist measures at home. They are seeking a quite homefront, with a divided and docile workforce and a silenced and pacified movement. Government impunity to commit any crime — whether directed against Muslims or immigrants and other workers, or organizers opposing war and attacks on rights — is being unleashed with greater force so as to paralyze resistance and force the peoples to submit.
Coupled with this is the conception that the problem we face is one of “extremism” and those who are “unlawful,” whether its “unlawful” Muslims, or immigrants or rights activists. The “extremism” may be of the Florida pastor variety, or it may be the activist supporting Palestine resistance, but in both cases, the “extremism” is the problem, and the government, and adherence to what it puts forward as “American” values, is the solution.
For example, in speaking to West Point graduates in May, Obama said, “Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth. It’s a matter of faith. It’s a matter of fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear.” Speaking about the Florida pastor he said what the pastor is proposing “Is completely contrary to our values as Americans… this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan.” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, echoing Obama, said, "We would like to see more Americans stand up and say that this is inconsistent with our American values; in fact, these actions themselves are un-American."
September 11, Obama invoked the pledge of allegiance, saying, “As Americans, we will keep alive the virtues and values that make us who we are and who we must always be…On this day and the days to come, we choose to stay true to our best selves — as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Is it an accident that the recent raids by “Terrorism” task forces are taking place at a time when there is such repeated emphasis that all Americans must pledge their allegiance to the values of the imperialists, such as aggressive war, genocide, racism and exploitation? That the current system, which can solve no problem and has imposed more war, poverty and environmental destruction, is “who we are and who we must always be”?! Has anyone forgotten that the pledge of allegiance was institutionalized during the Cold War, put into law during the hated period of McCarthyism and loyalty oaths?
Putting forward this concept of “un-American” is in part an effort to strike fear into the people’s movements and again attempt to provide justification for attacking communists and all those standing up for rights. It is a demand of loyalty to imperialism, and to the president as its representative. In the memory of Americans, this concept of “un-American” is quickly associated with McCarthyism, and its assault on communism and anyone the government claimed was associated with communism.
Today, “terrorism” is being equated with communism, and both are to be seen as enemies. These recent raids are in part an effort to give credence to this claim. Communists are among those being targeted, supposedly for “conspiracy” to provide “material support to terrorists.” The warrant used also specifically targets what it calls “the recruitment, indoctrination and facilitation of other individuals” to join, “materials related to the identity and location of recruiters, facilitators, and recruits,” and finances involved. It is organizing and building organization that is being targeted, and specifically organizing for an alternative to imperialism.
The raids and promotion of “un-American” are also a means to put those fighting on the defensive. It is the activists who are called on to say they have done nothing wrong, in a situation where the government is the one committing crimes — not only against these organizers, but against the peoples of Palestine, Colombia, Afghanistan and Iraq and many more worldwide. These raids are an effort by the government to silence and isolate the communists in particular, while also targeting the anti-war movement, including efforts to support resistance abroad.
As communists facing attack, silence is not possible. We stand proudly in the forefront of the anti-war movement, the immigrant rights movements and all the struggles of the peoples for their rights. We organize openly and without fear, while acting to safeguard our ranks and those of all the fighting forces. Organizing against U.S. imperialism and all its crimes is our main contribution to the struggles of the peoples worldwide. Standing to affirm the right to dissent, the right to resist and to support resistance worldwide is a contribution to progress which we and all those standing for rights are contributing to.
It is the U.S. imperialists that are the criminals. It is they who are terrified of the reality that there is one humanity rising against imperialism and war. The alternative of people’s empowerment is on the agenda and we communists will remain united with the people in the forefront of this battle for a new society that guarantees the rights of all.
Obama on the Demand to have
Speaking on September 11, President Obama said, “As Americans, we will keep alive the virtues and values that make us who we are and who we must always be. For our cause is just. Our spirit is strong. Our resolve is unwavering. Like generations before us, let us come together today and all days to affirm certain inalienable rights, to affirm life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. On this day and the days to come, we choose to stay true to our best selves -- as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Prior to September 11, speaking of the Pastor in Florida, Obama said, "If he's listening, I just hope he understands that what he's proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans; that this country has been built on the notions of religious freedom and religious tolerance." He emphasized, "As a very practical matter, as commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan.”
Speaking recently on immigration, referring to the many millions of undocumented workers in the country, Obama said, “They must get right with the law before they can get in line and earn their citizenship — not just because it is fair, not just because it will make clear to those who might wish to come to America they must do so inside the bounds of the law, but because this is how we demonstrate what being an American means.” He went further when speaking at West Point before graduating military cadets in May. Referring to immigrants without citizenship who signed up for the military, he said, “These women, and men and women across this country like them, remind us that immigrants have always helped to build and defend this country – and that being an American is not a matter of blood or birth. It’s a matter of faith. It’s a matter of fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear.
FBI Raids Peace Activists' Homes, Office
By now, most War Times/Tiempo de Guerras readers have heard about the September 24 FBI raids on peace activists' homes in Minneapolis and Chicago and at the Minneapolis office of the Twin Cities Anti-war Committee. We add our voices to the rest of the progressive movement, and all those who value democracy, in denouncing these raids. We believe that the peace movement must support the folks who have been targeted for their antiwar work.
Plans for solidarity demonstrations are developing quickly. The Anti-War Committee has called for a demonstration at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 27, 2010 at the Minneapolis offices of the FBI, 111 Washington Street, South. Click here for more information.
We encourage War Times readers to call U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 and to send emails to the Department of Justice at AskDOJ@usdoj.gov. Ask Attorney General Holder to put an end to the FBI’s attacks on peace activists.
What do we know about these raids?
On Friday, September 24th the FBI raided at least six homes in Chicago and Minneapolis, with the explanation that peace activists were providing “material support to foreign terrorist organizations,” namely the FARC in Colombia, the Peoples Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Hezbollah. The FBI also raided the office of the Anti-war Committee in Minneapolis, which had organized a demonstration during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Some of the peace activists whose houses were raided are members of the Anti-War Committee. The New York Times quotes an FBI spokesperson who said the raids were part of “an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation.”
While no arrests have been made so far, the activists have been served with grand jury subpoenas.
The raids appear to be 'fishing expeditions' -- attempts to gather as much personal information as possible from the activists’ homes in the hopes of bringing some charges against them. The search warrant which we have seen authorizes the federal agents to seize all documents and records related to any activities in the US or overseas, especially those related to the FARC, PFLP, and Hezbollah, as well as emails, phone records, and internet usage; it also asks for information pertaining to the activists' work in a left group called Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Click here to download a PDF of the search warrant.
What do these raids mean?
Many of the communities we work with live with state violence on a daily basis. Still, we believe these events to be of signal importance to the antiwar movement. In the post-9/11 political landscape, War Times/Tiempo de Guerras has worked to bring an internationalist perspective to the antiwar movement, a perspective that focuses not only on the domestic costs and victims of war, but also on the suffering war and occupation bring to peoples around the world. We believe this perspective is essential to achieving a U.S. foreign policy based on justice and solidarity rather than on either domination or isolationism.
The FBI raids occur months after a 6-3 Supreme Court decision upholding a broad interpretation of 'material support to foreign terrorist organizations', whereby offering advice, training, and service to a designated terrorist organization constitutes material support for terrorism -- even if the service in question has nothing to do with any 'terrorist' act. In this context, Friday’s FBI raids contribute to the criminalization of any communication with any group the U.S. State Department has designated a terrorist organization. Even advocating negotiating with one of these named groups may become a crime, not to mention deeper attempts to build solidarity with groups struggling against war and occupation. (It should be noted, for example, that Hezbollah forms part of the democratically elected government of Lebanon.) These raids, and the policy that underlies them, strike directly at the internationalist perspective that grounds all of War Times/Tiempo de Guerras’ work.
War Times has been a multigenerational project from its inception in 2001, and several of our members lived through periods of heightened government repression. These new FBI raids bring those experiences to mind, not least because of the deliberate and comprehensive targeting of Freedom Road Socialist Organization. The warrant authorizing the search of one peace activists’ home instructs government agents to look for any materials related to the recruitment and political education activities — referred to somewhat quaintly as 'indoctrination' — of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to see a resurgence of FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas focused on today’s peace activists. This kind of redbaiting and demonization of the Left have a long history in the United States. These tactics have served U.S. government efforts to undermine many social movements, from workers' rights to civil rights. The best known examples include the machinations of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover against Bayard Rustin, Stanley Levison, and the entire leadership of the southern civil rights movement. Such methods are also familiar to people who worked in solidarity with Central American peoples fighting dictatorship and U.S. intervention during the 1980’s, and in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1990’s.
So these tactics of intimidation are familiar. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore them. Unless we challenge the legitimacy of the FBI's raids now -- loudly, visibly, and in as many ways as possible — the anti-war movement may be facing a more dangerous and difficult road than we had imagined.
What you can do:
Call the Attorney General’s office at 202-353-1555 and demand an end to political intimidation of peace activists.
Call or write the “newspapers of record” such as the New York Times and Washington Post, asking them to give full and prominent coverage to this story.
Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, explaining why this kind of intimidation is a danger to democracy.
Call your local members of Congress to demand that the FBI stop harassing peace activists.
Participate in any local actions to protest these raids.
Join the Work to Break the Siege of Gaza
Across the country and around the world people are joining in efforts to break the siege of Gaza and end the occupation of all of Palestine. Numerous meetings and demonstrations are taking place to make certain the U.S.-Israeli crimes against the people of Gaza are opposed. The common demand is for the U.S. to End All Funding of Israel Now. The U.S. provides more than $3 billion in military funding alone, including more advanced technology for Israel’s nuclear weapons. It has refused to end this funding and in fact is once again blocking the UN from taking action against Israeli crimes against humanity. These include its invasion of Gaza in 2008-09, its continued siege and its attack on the last Freedom Flotilla brining humanitarian aid to Gaza. Nine people were killed and dozens injured when Israeli commandos boarded the ships and attacked the civilians on board.
As part of efforts to develop the people’s alternative in confrontation with the U.S.-Israeli siege, yet new flotillas are being organized. These represent the rejection by peoples here and worldwide to the brutal collective punishment being inflicted on Gaza and the Palestinians as a whole. Ships are being purchased and loaded with humanitarian aid. Dozens of people are making the trip to take their stand with Gaza and against the continued U.S.-Israeli crimes. These include ships already underway as well as convoys planned for later this year. A U.S. ship to Gaza is being funded through donations gathered at meetings, at mosques and synagogues, stores and schools. Everywhere people are rejecting the notion that everyone should wait for the U.S. “peace talks,” talks that once again are demanding Palestinians abandon their resistance. And while the U.S. says it is opposed to continued illegal Israeli settlement expansion on Palestinian lands, it does nothing to actually stop the settlements. It could easily stop funding and stop supplying bulldozers used to abolish the homes of Palestinians. And the end of the siege of Gaza is not even on the table! The Freedom Flotillas stand against leaving things in the hands of the U.S. and Israel and instead people are taking matters into their own hands. The flotillas are a stand that says U.S.-Israeli crimes must not stand and their threats intimidate no one! Voice of Revolution urges all to join the work to Break the Siege of Gaza!
Freedom Flotilla Survivors Lead New Convoy
Two survivors from the Israeli assault on the Mavi Marmara are leading the Viva Palestina convoy to break the siege of Gaza. Nicci Enchmarch and Kevin Ovenden were both aboard the Mavi Marmara when the Israeli Navy attacked it in the early hours of May 31, 2010.
The Viva Palestina Lifeline 5 convoy carries urgent medical aid to Gaza and left from Central London last Saturday. It has representatives from organizations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Malaysia as well as volunteers from the United States, Britain and Northern Ireland. En route representatives of associations and solidarity groups in France, Italy, Greece and Turkey will join it.
The British convoy formed up at the Embankment east of Westminster Bridge: George Galloway, one of the major founders of Viva Palestina initiative and the human rights lawyer Jim Nichol joined the convoy at the Embankment. On Monday the convoy was welcomed in the city of Valux-en Velin, France (close to Lyon) by the Mayor Bernard Genin. The city has a distinction of being the only in France to fly the Palestinian flag.
Two other convoys are being organized from Casablanca and Doha, involving representatives of organizations in Morocco and Algeria and the Gulf States and Jordan respectively.
The three convoys with between 150 and 200 vehicles will then meet in Latakia in Syria before going past the point where the Mavi Marmara was attacked. The ships will go to the Egyptian port of El Arish before crossing into Gaza via the Rafah Crossing. This is the biggest and most international convoy set to break the siege of Gaza so far. Aid for Gaza on the convoy will include medical equipment, educational supplies, and the wherewithal to rebuild a destroyed mosque, a school for orphans and to construct a maternity facility in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.
Viva Palestina, a registered charity founded by George Galloway, has organized three massive land convoys to Gaza in the last 18 months, bringing over 1,000 people and 500 vehicles loaded with vital humanitarian aid.
The terrible massacre aboard the Mavi Marmara on 31 May has brought a sea change in international opinion against the inhumane siege on the people of Gaza. Far from deterring people from seeking to bring the siege to an end, the Israeli assault on the Freedom Flotilla is spurring on even more people to bring humanitarian aid to the besieged 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and to end the blockade. Recently, Israel announced that they would “ease” the siege on Gaza, however, many essential items are still banned. Among the goods still banned are all construction materials, farming supplies, certain medical supplies, and motor vehicles and spare parts.
Last weekend, Chris Patten and Catherine Ashton visited Gaza as part of a EU delegation to the region. Both slammed the partial easing of the siege, and called for the siege to be lifted immediately, and for all the borders to open up as a matter of urgency.
Arrangements for the second Freedom Flotilla are also going ahead. By the end of the month, the organizers say, a date of departure will be scheduled, probably within the second half of November. Compared to the first Freedom Flotilla, this new initiative will see a larger participation of several international organizations and an increased number of boats involved, including one from the U.S. According to the organizers, 10,000 people have registered as of today to sail to the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile a new video “Sail a Ship Bound For Gaza” realized by an unknown artist, is drawing the crowds on Youtube.
Libyan Aid Flotilla Plans Gaza Trip
The Libyan Civil Mission to Support the Palestinian People is preparing to conduct an aid flotilla, named the "Jerusalem 5." It will head to the Gaza Strip together with the British aid convoy "Lifeline 5," which will be led by British Member of Parliament George Galloway.
The Libyan site “Libya 24” quoted bin Othman saying: "The ‘Jerusalem 5’ will be launched from Britain towards Palestine to the besieged Gaza Strip through Latakia and Tripoli / Libya, stressing that with authorities of the British convoy and the British Association is ongoing. The “Lifeline” Flotilla will also be arriving in Libya in mid-October and both flotillas will then travel to Gaza.
He added that Arab and North African parliamentary members would be among participants of the convoy. He said the influx of aid convoys would come from Europe and North Africa to Libya beginning October 10, 2010 and continue to arrive until October 15. The combined flotillas will head to Gaza about two days later.
Gaza-bound Aid Ship
The Deputy Speaker of Indonesia Parliament Dr. Muhammad Anis Matta said preparations are being made to send a naval convoy from Indonesia to Gaza to break the Israeli siege directly following preparations underway by grass-roots organizations and parties backed by high-profile politicians in Indonesia.
Matta said the Indonesians see the U.S.-backed Israeli siege on Gaza as a humanitarian issue. Matta’s statements came during an interview with the Palestinian Information Center to be published later. He added that his party has adopted a strategy of transforming the Palestinian cause from an Islamic cause into a humanitarian cause to attract participation from all people in support of the cause.
“We have succeeded in this mission, and the Palestinian cause has become a focal point shared now by all spectrums of the Indonesian people, Muslims and non-Muslims,” Matta explained.
In the face of the direct peace talks in progress between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Matta said: “We believe that all of the negotiations going on now will not bring positive results for the Palestinians,” adding that he has chosen to back the resistance movement.
Voice of Revolution
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