Solidarity Needed With Victims Of FBI Raids

As you have probably heard, early Friday morning (9/24) coordinated FBI raids were carried out at the office of the Antiwar Committee in Minneapolis and the homes of several labor and antiwar activists in Minneapolis, Chicago, Grand Rapids, MI, and Raleigh, NC.

Some initial news reports: 

Most, if not all, are open members of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. While so far none have been arrested their computers, cell phones, along with boxes of personal papers and even books have been seized. The FBI says it is investigating their alleged connection to “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.” Subpoenas have been issued for Grand Jury appearance in Chicago next month.

These new raids come after recent revelations that the FBI and some state and local police agencies have been illegally targeting U.S. citizens involved in Constitutionally protected protest activities around war and other political and social issues. This latest spurious smear was accompanied by an FBI statement admitting, “There is no imminent threat to the community and we're not planning any arrests at this time.” 

I am not a member of FRSO but I have met and collaborated with some of them. They are not terrorists in any sense of the term. They have, however, earned the enmity of the Establishment and the police agencies that do their bidding.  

Those raided in Minneapolis were among the organizers of the mass antiwar protest at the 2008 Republican convention in St Paul–and suffered violations of their basic civil liberties, and infiltration by government informers and provocateurs then.  

All are active trade unionists in AFSCME Local 3800 and Teamsters Local 320 at the University of Minnesota or Teamsters Local 743 at the University of Chicago. Several have been elected to union leadership positions by their coworkers. 

A protest meeting of 200 was hastily assembled at Walker Church in Minneapolis. The National Lawyers Guild has started providing legal assistance. When the victims of the raid have had a chance to catch their breath there will likely be requests for various forms of solidarity. 

The FBI actions are a threat to all of us. Regardless of what you may think of the political views of those targeted an injury to one is still an injury to all. We’ll continue to provide updates on this important case through the website and e-mail list. 

In solidarity,

Bill Onasch

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