The Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) joins the growing protest against the FBI raids on activist homes and offices, which occurred on September 24, and against the demands for activists to testify in a closed grand jury, under threat of imprisonment. Activists from the Students for a Democratic Society were among those taken in this dragnet/fishing expedition of harassment attempted against the peace and justice movement. As activists now, connected with the old SDS of the 1960’s and supportive of the new SDS, we remember the old co-in-tel-pro, counterintelligence program, and are determined to protest and resist any new cointelpro, as seems indicated by these raids, grand jury hearings and high handed seizure of people’s personal property, and organization property, with no due process of law or basic human respect for the individuals involved, under cover of the “war on terror” and the so called “Patriot Act.”

Even an administration embroiled in wars and military alliances, as with Israel and Colombia, must still remember it is no crime in America to protest, and promulgate policies different from the government. Had that not been the case the current administration and its Attorney General would not have been in office, and there would have been no civil rights movement. Those “laws” which made it a crime eventually fell. So will these.

We urge the Administration to reconsider its own history, and discontinue this harassment of anti-war and international solidarity activists.

Cancel the Grand Jury. Return the activists’ possessions. And apologize.

We urge all activists: call President Obama at 202-456-1111 and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555

We urge no one to be passive on this slippery slope into the police state and renewal of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Some believe there are better impulses in the government, than represented by these raids, subpoenas, seizures and threats. At a time when a virulent right wing is trying to take over the Republican party and the government itself, we would hope the Obama administration would see, in the peace and justice, anti-war, and international solidarity movements, allies for a democratic society, not its enemy. The call for freedom will not be silenced, nor the demands for justice and the application of international and human rights law criminalized.

We offer our solidarity and such material aid as we can a to our friends in SDS and other activists as this case and contest with the government develops.

Movement for a Democratic Society
Working Committee, October 4, 2010