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redguard
Call for submissions: Absent Cause #5 – Dangerous Gifts

 Absent Cause
zine was established in 2008 as a venue for people from myriad cultures and selves, pushed to the outskirts and into the underground, to find each other, draw connections between their experiences, and gain strength for their struggles.

The term “Dangerous Gifts” is usually associated with the special contributions of people with mental illness / variance. But there are many kinds of dangerous gifts we experience and share: the person who chooses to wear a veil as an expression of culture or religion; gender or gender-less expression outside the male-female binary; being a fat person, a hairy grrrl, or having other physical characteristics outside mainstream acceptance; existing as a survivor in a social system that celebrates abuse and war; the choice to confront capitalism, racism, patriarchy and heteronormativity in a culture of submission; and so much more.

Absent Cause is seeking submissions on your experience of “Dangerous Gifts” for the forthcoming issue. Artwork, comix, photography, essays, poems, and SHORT fiction are welcome.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 30, 2011.

Explore the dark side with Absent Cause:
Underground cultures and hidden histories; feminist, gender-variant and queer sexualities, chosen families and radical politics; vampirism, the gothic, horror and the macabre; surviving abuse, coping with mental illness/dangerous gifts, self-harm and suicide.

redguard / Greg
redguard at gmail dot com
 
 
redguard
Over at Fuck Yeah Marxism-Leninism, preflightlapdance asked: In response to your belief that one day the whole world will be socialist, does the objective failure of many of the world's socialist states not temper that enthusiasm just a bit?

And I responded: 

I received a few questions like this, also from seleucusnicator and butterfliesandbeaches, so I’m going to answer them all in one go.

I’m probably one of the older folks on Tumblr – pushing 40 – so I feel confident in saying that we have all lived our lives in a period of deep reaction on a global scale, since the late 1970s at least. The 60s generation and their wonderful stories of struggle seem to come from another planet altogether. No wonder it is hard for many people to imagine a socialist world.

However…

The great contradictions of capitalism and imperialism, exposed by Marx, Engels, Lenin and many others, have not changed fundamentally in the past century. They haven’t gone away. In fact, in the world around us right now, we can see them sharpening.

We are still living in the epoch of imperialist war and socialist revolution. Like any great historical period, it does not proceed in a straight line, but with forward charges and humiliating set-backs, twists, turns and diversions. Remember that it took capitalism at least 400 years to consolidate itself on a global scale, and capitalism is a system that generates itself spontaneously. Socialism, on the other hand, requires a high degree of consciousness among vast masses of people.

During the last 30 years, the profit system got a big boost, first from the high-tech revolution and second from re-conquering the territory and labor of the former USSR and Eastern European socialist bloc. But it was a brief respite for the bosses. Today even the drug of enormous war spending isn’t working. Global capitalism has run aground with no relief in sight.

The socialist revolutions and socialist-oriented national liberation struggles of the Twentieth Century took place on the periphery of imperialism, where it proved easier to break the chains. Without exception, these great revolutions unfolded in countries and regions of the world held down and kept underdeveloped by colonialism and imperialism. Each one had enormous internal obstacles to overcome along with the unrelenting war of U.S. and other capitalist powers against them, through direct military intervention, nuclear threats, internal subversion, economic blockade, etc.

In the years following 1917, no one in the Bolshevik Party (and I mean no one, despite later claims by some) thought that the revolution would survive unless there was a socialist revolution in a major imperialist country. As we know, unfortunately that didn’t happen.

Lenin had already laid the basis for understanding why in his groundbreaking study of Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, where he showed how monopoly capital created a labor aristocracy dependent on crumbs from the super-exploitation of oppressed nations. These labor lieutenants of capital were able to divert the struggles of the workers into safe liberal and social-democratic channels over a long period.

The eventual downfall of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and dangerous compromises with capitalism like those undertaken by the current leaders of China, are not the result of inherent flaws in socialism. The combination of economic hardships of underdevelopment, imperialist military threats, and lack of revolutionary support from the West is what caused the difficulties and political decay that plagued many of the workers’ states attempting to build socialism. What is most amazing – and in my opinion is further proof of socialism’s vitality – is that the USSR survived over seven decades in spite of all this (and incidentally, defeated Nazism in the bargain)!

While imperialism’s fundamental contradictions haven’t changed, one thing has: its constant drive for expansion has now created a vast working class all over the world, and a highly-skilled one in many places. While communists and socialists the world over were fighting just to hold on to our ideas and organizations, the bosses were busy creating more of their own gravediggers.

Today we see that, far from building up a labor aristocracy, the big capitalist powers are tearing down the working class in their own countries, forcing them into a race to the bottom against super-oppressed workers who are no longer isolated from the means of production, thanks to the high-tech revolution. Also, as it becomes more and more difficult for the growing global working-class to find decent jobs, immigration is increasing. Ultimately, I believe, all this is laying the basis for more militant fight-back in the imperialist countries and great international class solidarity.

I highly recommend Fred Goldstein’s recent book, Low Wage Capitalism, which analyses these developments in greater depth.

As far back as 1940, the revolutionary communist Leon Trotsky predicted the “shifting of revolutionary gravity” from East to West. It seems that this prediction is finally poised to become fact – if not tomorrow, than at least in the near future, historically speaking. Whether that means years or decades, no one can predict.

(This is not to discount the importance of the new wave of socialist struggles throughout the rest of the world, which will grow along with the burgeoning working class, and which today provides such an inspiration and breath of fresh air – from Nepal to Venezuela.)

Trotsky also observed that while it is easier to start a revolution on the periphery of imperialism, it is harder to carry it through because of the low social and economic level imposed from outside. In contrast, in the imperialist centers, it has proven much harder to begin the revolutionary struggle – but once workers’ power is consolidated here, it will be relatively easier to convert to a high level of socialist economic equality. And perhaps most importantly, removing the jackboot of U.S. imperialism from the necks of the world’s people will free them to make quick work of their local ruling classes.

Imperialism is dangerous, deadly – never more so than when it’s backed into a corner. But as Mao argued in the face of the U.S. nuclear arsenal – and as the Vietnamese and many other people showed in practice – it is not invincible. If humanity is to survive, there really is no choice but for the working classes to enter onto the road of planned, sustainable economies that provide everyone with their basic needs.

--redguard

Fuck Yeah Marxism-Leninism

 
 
 
redguard
01 November 2010 @ 10:31 am
 By Phil Wilayto

After a period in which defending Iran hasn't been very high on the agenda of most U.S. anti-war activists, there are now two petition campaigns opposing war and sanctions against Iran.

One effort is led by a New York City-based organization more known for defending Cuban “dissidents” who openly take U.S. money to try to undermine the Cuban Revolution. The other was launched by an independent Tehran-based organization formed to promote Iranian solidarity with Cuba, Venezuela and other progressive countries in Latin America.

Curiously, it's the first campaign that seems to be getting the most support.

The first petition is the product of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, an outfit formed in 1982 as the Campaign for Peace and Democracy/East and West, with the goal of promoting anti-socialist movements in the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. While claiming to oppose injustice in both the U.S. and in countries targeted by Washington, its campaigns are virtually all directed at undermining governments under attack by Western powers.

In the case of Cuba, the CPD went to bat for about 75 Cuban dissidents imprisoned in 2003, some of whom had openly accepted money from the U.S. for counterrevolutionary activities. Here is how the CPD itself described the 75:

“Many of them, as well as other Cuban dissidents, have met with James Cason, head of the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba, and some have received duplicating materials, funding or other resources directly from the U.S. government or from NGOs funded by Washington.” (1)

The CPD takes the same approach toward Iran, stating that “We too would like to see a regime change in Tehran, but one brought about by the Iranian people themselves, not by Washington.” (2)

Like Cuba, Iran isn't targeted by the U.S. because of any issue of democracy or human rights. (Both the U.S. and the CPD are stunningly silent about human rights abuses in U.S. client states like Saudi Arabia or Honduras.) Instead, it's because, like Cuba, Iran refuses to go along with the dictates of the Empire, a dangerous position to take anywhere, but especially in the oil-rich Middle East.

So it's not surprising that the CPD includes this line in its petition opposing war and sanctions against Iran: “We support those who struggle for democracy and social justice inside Iran.”

The statement may seem innocuous enough, what does it really mean?

In the West, we're told there are two sides in Iran: the people, and a repressive government. Period.

What we're not told is that the major division in Iranian society today is class. While the major industries like gas and oil are owned by the government, there is a substantial private sector with its own economic and political agenda, and it is this sector that is the social basis for the anti-government movement. Even the Western media admits that it was mainly the middle and upper classes that supported last year's main presidential challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and the protests that followed the 2009 election, while it's the poor and the working class that provide the political support for the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Surely, many of those who took to the streets in Tehran and other cities were motivated by a sincere belief that the election was unfair, and also wanted a loosening of what they saw as social and political restrictions. And some of these suffered unjustly for taking part in the protests, as both President Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have admitted.

But there also are other forces opposing the Iranian government.

There are the royalists, who want to bring back a Shah. There are the armed groups that carry out attacks on government forces, such as the PKK in the Northwest, Jundallah in the Southeast and the MKO, which until recently operated with virtual U.S. protection from bases in Iraq. Even though some of these organizations have been exposed as receiving substantial financial and military support from the U.S. (3), they all claim to be promoting “democracy and social justice.”

Then there are the ideological elements in the “pro-democracy” movement that promote a bona fide neocon program of privatization, deregulation and massive cuts in social services.
And there's the matter of the tens of millions of dollars spent by first the Bush/Cheney and now Obama administrations to support Iranian “dissidents.” (4)

The CPD petition in effect asks U.S. activists to declare their unconditional support for all these forces, without distinction.

This isn't the first time the CPD has tried to promote its politics in the anti-war arena. Its petition is based on a resolution that the organization unsuccessfully introduced at the mass anti-war conference held this past July in Albany, New York. That gathering, called the United National Anti-War Conference (UNAC), was attended by 750 activists representing virtually every anti-war organization in the country, making it the largest peace conference held in the U.S. in decades.

The CPD resolution, which condemned the Ahmadinejad government along with war and sanctions, was defeated by a 2-1 margin, after the conference attendees accepted the argument that it wasn't the role of the U.S. movement to take sides on internal matters in Iran.
Instead, a resolution against war and sanctions initiated by the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality and co-sponsored by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the International Action Center, a resolution that purposely did not address internal issues in Iran, passed unanimously.

Just as there was an alternative to the CPD resolution at the Albany conference, there is now an alternative to the CPD petition.

In mid-October, a nongovernmental organization in Iran called House of Latin America, or HOLA, invited several anti-imperialist organizations from the U.S. to Tehran with the goal for building the movement against war and sanctions against Iran. Among those who attended were representatives of the International Action Center, ANSWER Coalition, Toronto Coalition Against the War and the American Iranian Friendship Committee.

HOLA was started about five years ago to promote solidarity with the peoples of Latin America. Its activities have included organizing solidarity trips to Nicaragua and Venezuela, hosting a talk by Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, translating a book by Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and facilitating a visit to Iran by the son and daughter of Che Guevara to participate in a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Che's death.

HOLA proposed setting up a new campaign called Solidarity with Iran or SI, which is promoting its own petition. This one spends more time detailing U.S. threats to Iran, defends Iran's right to develop nuclear power for peaceful energy purposes and doesn't take a position on Iran's “pro-democracy” movement.

U.S. progressives who want to add their voices to the movement to oppose war and sanctions against Iran would do well to look into who is promoting which campaigns, and why. Otherwise, we can risk squandering our limited political capital in the service of those whose goals are diametrically opposed to our own.

The CPD petition can be found at http://www.cpdweb.org/stmts/1015/stmt.shtml.
A copy of the HOLA petition has been posted by the Defenders at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/si-dfje and the International Action Center at http://www.iacenter.org/iran/iran-signon101610/

Phil Wilayto is a longtime community and anti-war activist based in Richmond, Virginia. He is editor of The Virginia Defender newspaper and author of “In Defense of Iran: Notes from a U.S. Peace Delegation's Journey through the Islamic Republic.” (www.DefendersFJE.org/dpi). He can be reached atDefendersFJE@hotmail.com.

1 - “Statement Protesting Repression in Cuba” - http://www.cpdweb.org/stmts/1002/stmt.shtml
2 - “Iran: Neither U.S. Aggression nor the Theocratic Repression - A call for a new, democratic U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East” -http://www.cpdweb.org/stmts/1005/stmt.shtml
3 - “Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush administration steps up its secret moves against Iran” - The New Yorker, July 7, 2008 -http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_hersh
4 - “U.S. grants support to Iranian dissidents” - USA Today, June 28, 2009 - http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-06-25-iran-money_N.htm
 
 
redguard
01 November 2010 @ 10:29 am
 Dear sisters and brothers,

If you can volunteer to distribute Freedom Party literature near polling stations in Manhattan anytime on Tuesday, Nov. 2 between 6 a.m. when polls open, to 9 p.m. when the polls close:

COME TO A MEETING FOR ELECTION DAY VOLUNTEERS IN NEW YORK ON SUNDAY, OCT. 31, 5 P.M. AT THE SOLIDARITY CENTER, 55 WEST 17TH STREET, 5TH FLOOR IN MANHATTAN

(Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island are having their own meetings. Call 347-636-3660 for info.)

IF YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE IN NEW YORK STATE - VOTE FOR THE FREEDOM PARTY - GET YOUR NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS TO VOTE AS WELL!

With next week’s elections dominated by Wall Street money, Tea Party bigots and Democrats who are running to the right, there is actually something really important and exciting happening in New York State.

That something is the Freedom Party, a new mass party with radical Black and Latino/a leadership that’s dedicated to an independent struggle against racism, economic and social injustice at the polls and in the streets.

The Freedom Party is running resident revolutionary City Council member Charles Barron for Governor; community activist and educator, Eva Doyle, for Lieutenant Governor; and activist and people’s lawyer, Ramon Jimenez, for Attorney General.

The Freedom Party is not just a electoral operation; it is a progressive, revolutionary mass party with a growing base that could play a decisive role in the struggle to defend communities of color and the working class in the struggle for survival that we all face.

If we get the vote out state-wide for the Freedom Party, we can win a place on the ballot for the Freedom Party in future elections. At this critical moment, establishing the Freedom Party as a force in NYS would be a big victory for poor and working people, and a huge upset for the two Wall St. parties and the rest of the establishment which works overtime to suppress any real independent opposition from the left. Please help on Tuesday, Nov. 2, by volunteering a few hours to distribute Freedom Party literature at polling stations.

If you can help, come to the meeting for poll volunteers this Sunday evening at 5 p.m at the Solidarity Center, 55 W 17th St., 5th floor in Manhattan, or call us at 212-633-6646 and leave your name and number. We will get back to you.

Thanks,

Larry Holmes,
For the Freedom Party
 
 
 
redguard


Sat. Nov. 6
6 to 8 pm
St. Mark's Church in the Bowery
131 East 10th Street (at 2nd Ave.)
NYC


The Committee To Stop FBI Repression is convening a national meeting in New York City on November 6th, 2010, at 6:30 pm. We want to invite all those interested in building the movement against FBI raids and the Grand Jury attempt to criminalize anti-war and international solidarity activists. We have done nothing wrong and we are speaking out and organizing to have the Grand Jury called off. We have a lot of work pressing upon us, and while the attack is bad, it offers our movement an opportunity to unite, strengthen, and grow!

On September 24th, the FBI raided two homes in Chicago, and five homes in Minneapolis, along with the Anti-War Committee office. Armed and threatening, the FBI turned people’s homes upside down and took their computers, cell phones, documents, newspapers, framed photos and children’s art work. All together fourteen anti-war and international solidarity activists in Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan were subpoenaed to appear before the Grand Jury.

The anti-war and civil liberties movements responded quickly and with great spirit. Over 60 cities protested, with a report from Springfield, MA, coming in just today. Activists passed out 12,000 fliers at the One Nation rally in Washington D.C. In Minneapolis, more than 500 rallied at the FBI offices in response to the repression. More than 1300 people marched in Chicago against war and repression on October 16th. The national call-in days are flooding the White House receptionists and shutting down Eric Holder’s answering service. The personal appeals targeting politicians and those with power are important. This is all great and leads us to NYC (looking for a space to hold 100 people in Manhattan) on November 6th to get more organized and congeal a leadership that will beat back this attack and others that are coming.

Here is an important update--each of the fourteen activists subpoenaed to appear signed a letter from the lawyers stating they would NOT testify. The Assistant U.S. Attorney, Brand Fox, told the lawyers he would withdraw the subpoenas, but he would say nothing more. So this is not over yet. The government is not likely to let go. The government has a number of options—more raids, arrests, new subpoenas, or offering immunity to some with the threat of jail if they do not speak. For the time being, the FBI continues to harass other anti-war activists at their homes and work places, trying to divide and intimidate. So we need you to remain vigilant, to help us organize, and to work towards a defense that continues to put U.S. war and occupation on trial.

Thank you,

Tom Burke, for the Committee To Stop FBI Repression
http://www.Stopfbi.net/
 
 
redguard


The only legal options to be considered at the Third Circuit's November 9 hearing are whether Mumia Abu-Jamal is to be executed or get life in prison without parole. Clearly neither of those two options is acceptable.

To fully grasp the significance of the hearing, one needs to revisit Federal District Court Judge William Yohn, Jr.'s decision of December 18, 2001. In that ruling the judge upheld Mumia's conviction but at the same time threw out his death sentence on the grounds that the verdict form used by the jury for sentencing at his trial violated the U.S. Supreme Court's Mills precedent and therefore entitled Mumia to have his death sentence overturned.

Yohn then gave the state 180 days to convene a new jury trial only on the issue of Mumia's penalty, in which the choices would be either death or life in prison without parole. On the other hand, if the state did nothing, Yohn ruled that Mumia would automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

At the time Judge Yohn stayed his ruling on the death sentence while the state appealed his decision to the next higher level of federal court, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. (At the same time Mumia cross-appealed Judge Yohn's decision upholding Mumia's conviction.) Mumia was therefore never removed from death row and remains there to this day.

On March 27, 2008, the Third Circuit upheld Yohn's decision on the death penalty on a 3-0 vote. Again the decision was stayed while the state appealed to the highest federal level, the Supreme Court. (In the same decision, the Third Circuit rejected Mumia's appeal on the conviction by 2-1 and, as before, Mumia cross-appealed that ruling.)

On January 10, 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the Third Circuit to reconsider its decision on the death sentence in light of its simultaneously-issued ruling unanimously rejecting an appeal from a white-supremacist named Spisak. That man admitted to killing at least two people in Ohio and openly wished to have murdered more. He had appealed his death sentence also as a violation of Mills, but involving a different aspect of it than Mumia's case.

The Sixth Circuit, as did the Third Circuit in Mumia's case, ruled that the death sentence should be vacated, but the Supreme Court ruled that the Mills precedent did not apply in Spisak's case, and that therefore execution rather than life in prison was the appropriate penalty. Based on that decision, the Supreme Court immediately applied the same argument to Mumia's case and asked for the Third Circuit to reconsider the issue of execution for Mumia as well.

Thus, the hearing on November 9th is on Mumia's penalty only. The choices before the court are either to sustain Yohn's and its own earlier decisions or to reinstate the death penalty, clearing the way for Mumia's possible quick execution.

If the Third Circuit reaffirms its earlier decision to sentence Mumia to life in prison without parole, the state will most likely appeal to the Supreme Court. (This is exactly what happened with Spisak, after the Sixth Circuit upheld its own earlier ruling which had overturned the man's death sentence.) But in the unlikely event that the state doesn't appeal, it will then have 180 days to implement Judge Yohn's decision.

Of course if the Third Circuit rules against Mumia, he will appeal to the Supreme Court. However, the odds for relief are small, given the increasingly reactionary nature of that court.

Thus, Mumia's legal situation is extremely dangerous. His life truly is on the line, for no matter how the court rules, the only two choices under this legal system are either execution or life in prison without parole and, for the moment, the prosecution, with all its allies and backers, is fighting very hard for execution.

THAT'S WHY WE ARE CALLING FOR ALL THOSE WHO POSSIBLY CAN TO COME OUT TO PHILADELPHIA WITH US ON THE 9TH. WE MUST STAY THE HANDS OF THE EXECUTIONERS AND PRY OPEN THE PRISON GATES FOR MUMIA'S RELEASE.

FREE MUMIA!
ABOLISH THE RACIST DEATH PENALTY!
FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

To make reservations for bus tickets from NYC to Philadelphia on November 9th, call 212 330-8029.

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition
http://www.freemumia.com/
info@freemumia.com
(212)330-8029
 
 
redguard
04 October 2010 @ 09:36 am



On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the first of 14 solidarity activists targeted by the FBI will appear before a Chicago Grand Jury. Let’s show the Inquisitors we will not let them silence our movement!

Monday, Oct 4, is National Call-in Day! Call President Obama 202-456-1111 and Attorney General Eric Holder 202-353-1555 to demand an end to repression against antiwar and solidarity activists, immediate return of all confiscated materials, computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc., and no grand jury proceedings against antiwar activists.

New York City, TUESDAY OCT. 5 — RALLY AT THE FEDERAL BUILDING, 4:30 to 6:30, 26 Federal Plaza, Broadway side, all trains to Chambers Street or City Hall. Actions in cities across the country.

Last week there were coordinated national actions in 43 cities protesting the latest FBI raids.

Sign the petition now: www.iacenter.org/stopfbi

Read the call to action / donate at: stopfbi.net
 
 
redguard
 Dear family and friends,

Many of you will have heard about the FBI raids of peace and international solidarity activists’ homes on September 24th, and the grand jury subpoenas of activists around the country, focused in the Midwest. Some of you have not. I want to let you know that I was one of those raided by the FBI and given a subpoena to appear before a grand jury, which is investigating “material support of terrorism.” I am grateful for the support I have received from you so far, and am hoping for your continued support through this trying time. This is a very confusing attack on me and my fellow activists, so I hope this letter will help provide some insight into what has happened, and what might happen in the future. Many of you know a lot of this information, but some may not, and since I am sending this to a wide spectrum of supporters, I am going to over explain rather than risk leaving too many questions unanswered.

The Anti-War Committee: I am a founding member of the Anti-War Committee, whose office was also raided that day. As our name implies, we oppose wars perpetrated and financed by the United States, and work to change US policies of imperialism and war. In particular we have done work opposing US military aid and presence in Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia and Palestine. We do not finance terrorists (or anyone—we barely make rent on our office). We have done nothing wrong. As a Committee, and as individuals, we are engaged in constitutionally protected activities of free speech and right of assembly (www.antiwarcommittee.org for more information).

Palestine & Colombia: We are particularly being targeted for our solidarity work with Palestine and Colombia. Ironically, the reason we do solidarity work with these people is because in Palestine and Colombia activists who work for social justice and who speak out against U.S. policy or against their repressive government (which is funded and supported by the U.S.) are targeted for oppression. I have seen this first hand. I went to Palestine in 2002 and saw how the Israeli government uses collective punishment (home demolitions, bombing of apartment buildings, cutting off food) to pressure Palestinians to stop demanding their own freedom. In Colombia in 2004 and 2006 I met with campesinos (peasants) who told me about massacres committed by government sponsored death squads conducted in order to push them off their land for oil companies or to silence them from protesting U.S. free trade policy. I have spoken out across the country about how our tax dollars fund this oppression and I thought I had the right to criticize governments that don’t allow organizing or speech.

Material Support of Terrorism: “Terrorists” are anyone the State Department decides should be on the “Foreign Terrorist Organization” list. There is no review, oversight or appeal of this decision. The FMLN (the current party in power in El Salvador) was on this list, the African National Congress (movement in South Africa fighting apartheid in the 80’s) was on this list. “Material Support” is not just about whether someone sends money to a designated “terrorist” organization. A recent Supreme Court ruling (Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project) affirms that any form of communication with a designated “terrorist” is considered “material support.” In that case, the Humanitarian Law Project was trying to assist with setting up fair elections in Turkey and Sri Lanka, a project which necessarily involves discussions with all parties. Under this law, Jimmy Carter could potentially be charged with a felony for helping to organize fair elections in Lebanon, where he, of course had to coordinate with Hezbollah. The Justice Department claims that speech with anyone is ok, as long as it is not “coordinated,” but has refused to define what “coordinated” means. (more here:http://ccrjustice.org/holder-v-humanitarian-law-project)

The Grand Jury: Computers, files, papers, cell phones, and many other materials were confiscated in the raids. All that will be gone through to look for any connection to anyone or anything that might provide evidence of “material support.” At this point, we don’t know who they want to indict. Those of us who have been subpoenaed have been ordered to come to a grand jury hearing in Chicago, the first appearance being on October 5th. At that hearing, there is no judge and no lawyer. The prosecutor can ask anything they want, about who you know, what you think, who you’ve met, what you’ve said. The Department of Justice is “fishing,” trying to piece together random information in a witch hunt similar to the McCarthy era. If we refuse to put ourselves or others at risk by not speaking, we can be jailed for the duration of the Grand Jury. (http://grandjuryresistance.org/ for more information on grand juries, including how they have been used to silence activists throughout history).

Where we are: I, and many other activists, have pleaded the fifth, and chosen not to testify. I cannot in good conscience be a part of this judicial witch hunt. People who fight for peace and justice should not be called terrorists or have their lives turned upside down like mine has been. By refusing to testify I put myself at risk of going to jail. The next legal step is in the hands of the Department of Justice. They could cancel the Grand Jury. They could carry on, but decide not to bother with us. They could send us letters again, giving us the option to talk or go to jail. We don’t know when they will take the next step, or what it will be. We do know what our next steps will be. We will not be silent. We will not allow the harassment of activists to quiet our opposition to immoral policies. We will continue to speak out against the unjust investigation, the unjust law, and the unjust foreign policies of the US government. The peace community is strong, and are already showing amazing solidarity around the country. Some of you have seen this again and again over the decades and have played a role before. Some of us are young enough to be experiencing it for the first time, at least directly.What you can do: Regardless of how you feel about the political positions of myself, the Anti-War Committee, and other activists involved, please remember that we have done nothing wrong, and yet we stand a very real chance of jail time. If you would like to help, please do any or all of the following:

SPEAK OUT! Let others know what is going on, and ask them to take an action.

Sign the petition to stop the Grand Jury: www.iacenter.org/stopfbi

Monday October 4, Call Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General (202-353-1555) and President Obama (202-456-1111) to demand (1) End repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists, (2) Return all materials seized in the raid (3) Stop the Grand Jury Subpoenas of activists. If you can’t make the call on Monday, any day will do.

Tuesday October 5, Hold a protest in your area, or join an already existing one. This is the first day of the subpoena hearings.Contact your representative and senators to change the material support law.

Donate to the Committee to Stop FBI Repression to fund our legal defense. Donate at stopfbi.net.

Anne and I have been overwhelmed by the love and support we have received from family and friends. I love you and appreciate your faith in me as I stand up for my convictions. I hope you’ll continue to stand by us as we defend our right to protest and organize for peace and justice.

Peace and solidarity, Meredith

Original posting here
 
 
redguard
 Thousands have come together in response to the FBI raids on seven homes and an anti-war office on Friday, September 24, 2010. Across the country organizations and individuals are standing together to protest the United States government’s attempt to silence and criminalize anti-war and international solidarity activists.

Jess Sundin said, “These raids and subpoenas are an attack on anti-war and other progressive movements. It is an attack on our freedom to speak, our freedom to assemble with like-minded people, and our freedom to tell the government that their 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.”

Protests against the intimidation and harassment have taken place or are planned for 39 cities across the country. From Minneapolis and Chicago ,to Los Angeles, Atlanta, Kalamazoo MI and Dallas Texas, The response has been tremendous an continues to grow.

We are calling for further actions to take place in the coming week as the first Grand Jury Subpoenas call for activists to appear on October 5.

Monday October 4 : Call Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General: 202-353-1555

Demand :
**End repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
**Return all materials seized in the raid!
**Stop the Grand Jury Subpoenas of activists!

Tuesday October 5: Act in solidarity with activists called before the Grand Jury

Take action at local federal buildings and FBI offices! Organize demonstrations in your community!

Sign the Petition Now: www.iacenter.org/stopfbi

Funds for legal defense will be needed. We will announce where they can be sent in the next few days.

Reach out to your organization or community group and send a statement of solidarity.

Steff Yorek, a long-time antiwar activist and one of the activists whose homes was searched said, “The assistance and support we have already received has been tremendously encouraging, with your help we can stop this outrageous fishing expedition and attack on progressive movements.”

Click here to download the leaflet
***Please print and distribute at Oct 2 March in DC and in your community today!

Committee To Stop FBI Repression:
www.stopfbi.net
Email: stopfbi@gmail.com