UW-Madison Teaching Assistants Association: Resolution Against FBI Repression of Social Activists

The following resolution was endorsed by the UW-Madison Teaching Assistants Association (AFT Local 3220). It passed unanimously at its General Membership Meeting on 11/14/2011.

Resolution Against FBI Repression of Social Activists

WHEREAS 23 anti-war and social justice activists from Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, and California had their homes raided and personal belongings confiscated by the FBI in late 2010 without criminal charges, and

WHEREAS these activists were given subpoenas to appear before a grand jury to testify about possible “material support to foreign terrorist organizations,” which they rightfully refused to adhere to, and now wait for indictments to be handed down based on their political activities, and

WHEREAS 10 of the 23 targeted activists are leading union members in AFSCME, SEIU, UE, and the Teamsters, and they have received resolutions of support from 36 labor organizations representing 800,000 union workers, including the South Central Federation of Labor and the TAA’s sister organization, the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association, and

WHEREAS a 24th activist, Carlos Montes, a renowned leader of the Chicano movement in the Los Angeles area, had his home raided by the FBI on May 17, 2011 and could face years in prison for firearm code violations stemming from an arrest in the 1960s, and

WHEREAS the FBI has a long history as a tool of state repression against the labor and social justice movements, including the Palmer Raids of the 1920s, the McCarthy witch hunt of the 1950s, and the COINTELPRO repression of the 1960s and 70s, and

WHEREAS it was revealed by the Office of the Inspector General in 2010 that the FBI has systematically and wrongly spied on political activists, and the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the USA Patriot Act so broadly as to outlaw legitimate humanitarian work, journalism, and international solidarity, therefore be it

RESOLVED that the TAA defends the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association, and

RESOLVED that the TAA joins with its fellow unions in condemning FBI repression against political activists and demands the Justice Department immediately drop its investigations of the 23 who were raided last year and drop all charges against Carlos Montes, and

RESOLVED that this resolution will be sent to US Senators Ron Johnson and Herb Kohl and U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin, who the TAA calls on to request a Congressional investigation of post-9/11 FBI surveillance of social movements and the use of expansive anti-terror laws to criminalize dissent.