Socialist Party USA: Statements
No to FBI Raids! Yes to Political Freedom!
by Andrea Pason and Billy Wharton, co-Chairs Socialist Party USA
The long tradition of US government suppression of left-wing activists was re-activated during the recent FBI raids on the homes of activists in Minnesota, Illinois and North Carolina. Government agents targeted activists in groups such as the Minneapolis-based Anti-War Committee, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Students for a Democratic Society. The raids are designed to criminalize anti-war activism at a time when speaking against US military aggression is more politically necessary than ever. As socialists, we condemn these governmental
actions and stand in solidarity with our fellow activists by calling for the return of the materials taken from them, an end to all raids and, eventually, the dismantling of the US security state.
A disgraceful tradition of governmental suppression of political activists is woven into US history. This history of repression begins in the early 20th century with the Palmer Raids that led to arrest and deportation of left-wing activists. This was followed, in the 1950s, by the infamous McCarthy period in which Communists and Socialists were red baited out of government and private employment. The violence was escalated in the 1960s and 70s during the COINTELPRO program that targeted left-wing groups such as the Black Panthers and led to several high-profile political assassinations.
Although the governmental repression following the attacks of September 11, 2001 did not target the left, it did serve to massively expand the security state. Today, more than 800,000 people are employed by the government to spy on, track and investigate. It is widely believed that the recent raids are the result of a "fishing expedition” by one or multiple parts of this expanded repressive apparatus. Taken together with the continued undercover governmental disruptions of large-scale protests such as the G20 demonstration in Pittsburgh, these raids
represent the increasing disruption of civil liberties.
We say in a clear voice that peace and other political activism are not crimes. Being politically active is, instead, the duty of all people interested in living in a democratic society. It is not enough to have rights on paper. We must have the ability to exercise them without repression.
The solution to the raids and the security state is the creation of a broad movement that demands not only the defense of civil rights, but also their expansion in order to guarantee political freedom for all. Socialists should be at the front of this movement because we have learned that democracy is vital to the creation and
operation of a socialist society.
We stand by the words of the founders of our organization who argued, “Nothing is more revolutionary than freedom.”
NO to the FBI Raids!
Yes to Political Freedom!
End the Wars and Occupations! Dismantle the Security State!