FBI steps up anti-communist witch-hunt
Published May 26, 2011 10:22 PM
The sun had not dawned yet on the cold, crisp morning of May 17 in Alhambra, a
neighborhood east of Los Angeles. It was hard to believe spring had arrived
that morning when at 5 a.m. the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
SWAT team assembled in front of Carlos Montes’ driveway and front yard.
The silence was shattered along with Montes’ door as the officers rammed
it down and then sprang into his home bearing automatic rifles.
May 20 protest at Federal Building in Los Angeles.
WW photo: John Parker
Montes is a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization. He has been a
long-time activist for immigrant rights and Chicano liberation in southern
California. He was a founder of the Brown Berets and a fighter with Chicano
A leader in the Southern California Immigration Coalition, Montes has led the
big May 1 immigrant marches in Los Angeles since 2006, along with many other
fighters like BAYAN USA, Union del Barrio and the International Action
Although the LASD claimed they raided Montes’ residence over an illegal
weapon’s charge, the true nature of the raid was revealed when they
ransacked his house and took historical political documents dealing with more
than 40 years of his activism, photos, his computers and his cell phones.
Stop the witch-hunt
Montes is not the only activist who has been targeted by the FBI for his
solidarity work. Last September the FBI raided 23 anti-war and international
solidarity activists’ homes. Many of them belong to FRSO, the same
organization to which Montes belongs. They were subpoenaed to appear before a
After these subpoenas were issued, Montes became active, along with many other
supporters, among them Workers World Party and Fight Imperialism, Stand
Together, in opposing the government’s witch-hunt against FRSO members in
Montes was also named in the FBI’s subpoena which was left in the Twin
Cities Anti-War Committee’s office on Sept. 24. Like many of the 23
activists called before the grand jury, he had helped to organize the mass
march there on the opening day of the 2008 Republican National
Building the fightback
On May 20 a crowd of more than 100 activists gathered in front of the Federal
Building in downtown Los Angeles. What was originally set up as a press
conference became a raucous rally supporting Montes against the FBI
This writer opened the rally, as the crowd chanted, “FBI: Hands off the
movement.” Montes thanked everyone for being there for him and showing
John Parker, West Coast regional coordinator of the IAC, spoke in Montes’
defense. He denounced the FBI raids and called for solidarity, evoking Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. by stating, “An injury to one is an injury to
Terrie Cervas of Gabriela USA compared the FBI raid against Montes to the
treatment faced by political activists in the Philippines at the hands of the
U.S.-backed and -trained government.
A truck displaying a large banner in solidarity with Montes stopped traffic in
front of the rally. Soon, two Homeland Security SUVs showed up and the truck
moved. The government agents chased down the truck and stopped it toward the
end of the block. Half a block away, those at the rally could see the agents
harassing the truck driver.
The demonstrators rushed over to the truck and pressured the agents to release
the driver. The angry crowd chanted, “Let him go! Let him go.” Feet
began to move off the sidewalk and into the street. The agents were being
surrounded, and feeling the crowd’s pressure, let the truck driver
The demonstrators returned to the Federal Building to hear others speak who had
been recently targeted by the state, like Alex Sanchez, leader of Homies
Unidos, and Nativo Lopez, a long-time immigrant rights advocate.
More local actions will be announced. The FBI raids against Montes and others
are unacceptable. The only thing that will stay the hand of the state from
repeating another wave of fascist-like McCarthyist incarcerations and
COINTELPRO-style repression will be the people’s fightback movement.
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