Rallies support activists targeted by FBI
Published Jun 23, 2011 9:52 PM
Carlos Montes, June 16.
Photo: Robert Stuart Lowden/LA Indymedia
Social justice activists held a militant protest in front of the Alhambra
Court House in Los Angeles County June 16 at the hearing for Carlos Montes. The
Chicano activist faces charges that arose from a 5 a.m. raid by Los Angeles
County sheriffs and the FBI on May 17.
Mirroring recent FBI raids against anti-war and solidarity activists in the
Midwest, political documents, computers and cell phones were confiscated from
Montes, a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. FRSO has been the
primary target of the FBI raids for participating in legal international
International Action Center organizer Scott Scheffer, who attended the hearing,
told Workers World: “We could hear the protest outside loud and clear and
it seemed that the cops and judge were trying to appear to be extra nice,
asking Carlos if he needed anything and saying they don’t want any
problems and just wanted to move things along smoothly.”
In spite of the friendly tone by the court staff, Montes now faces six
additional felony charges. He received a court continuance for July 7.
When Montes came out of the court, he was greeted with chants to drop the
charges and cheers of admiration. He told supporters and the media: “They
took documents going back 40 years involving the Chicano movement, the
immigrant rights movement and more. Now they are trying to throw the book at
me. But I’m smiling because I see you all here.”
Montes explained that when he asked for copies of their charges, the district
attorney at first refused, but was forced to relinquish redacted copies, per
instructions from the judge.
“This is part of the attacks nationally by the FBI in which my name was
mentioned in their warrants. This is a political attack against our strong
stand denouncing U.S. warmongering and intervention in Colombia, Mexico and
against the U.S. support of the Israeli government that is oppressing
“July 7 at 9 a.m. we’ll be here again — we must keep the
pressure on Eric Holder and the grand jury, call him and sign the online
petition,” Montes said.
Chants of “Solidarity is not a crime,
from Colombia to Palestine” reverberated
off towering federal building walls in the
Oakland, Calif., City Center during rush
hour on June 16.
More than 14 demonstrations were held
across the country to protest the ongoing
grand jury witchhunt against solidarity
activist communities in this country. Today’s
protests marked the first court appearance
of subpoenaed Chicano activist
Carlos Montes in Los Angeles.
“The FBI and the Department of Justice
have now brought this attack home to California
with the arrest of Carlos, and we
will not tolerate being bullied into silence
by the federal government,” said Corina
Pedraza, a member of the Bay Area Committee
to Stop FBI Repression, which organized
today’s demonstration. “We will
protest and continue to speak out for our
rights to organize,” Pedraza added.
The FBI began its latest blatant harassment
of social justice activists in September
2010, when it raided the homes of
seven Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul
activists and the offices of the Minneapolis-
St. Paul Anti-War Committee. After seizing
a voluminous amount of books, computers,
personal papers, newspapers and even
children’s art, 23 activists were subpoenaed
and called before the grand jury.
Montes, a member of Freedom Socialist
Road Organization and a long-time activist
for immigrant rights and Chicano liberation
in Southern California, was the most
recent victim of an early-morning SWAT
team raid by armed policemen on May 17.
Monadel Herzallah of the U.S. Palestinian
Communities Network charged that the
FBI is leading an “attack on the Arab and
Muslim community. We are here today to
support Carlos Montes and to say that we
won’t be used as scapegoats to crush civil
rights movements for justice.”
Richard Brown of the San Francisco 8, a
group of ex-Black Panther Party members
who were targeted by the FBI and grand
jury for their anti-racist organizing, challenged
the crowd to keep organizing to
fight repression. “Never cooperate with
the FBI,” Brown stated.
The Bay Area Committee to Stop FBI
Repression is organizing community
meetings and other events in support of all
the subpoenaed activists and against continued
FBI harassment of political movements.
For more information, go to www.
As part of the national day of solidarity
with Carlos Montes and the other 23 international
solidarity activists raided by
the FBI since September 2010, protesters
came out to Milwaukee’s Federal Courthouse
June 16. Chants included, “Stop
the grand juries,” and, “From Colombia
to Palestine: Solidarity is not a crime.”
Members of SDS Milwaukee, Committee
To Stop FBI Repression, International
Action Center, Latin American Solidarity
Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization,
Milwaukee Graduate Assistants
Association-AFT, Wisconsin Bail Out the
People Movement, Welfare Warriors and
Workers World Party participated.
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