[log in to unmask]" type="cite">Dear climate activists,
The US (and UK, and other NATO powers) government has been busy associating activism of many stripes with the magic black paint of "terrorism", starting with the most radical groups, but using laws purposely written in vague languages, closing in on all the rest that poses any threat/inconvenience to the powers-that-be, just like using a giant dragnet. Environmentalists, and indigenous rights groups struggling to protect their land, water and soil, have been often lumped in with and treated using the same tactics as "terrorist organizations" by the US intelligence/security apparatus, according to some declassified/leaked documents. So, I hope you do not consider the below irrelevant to these mailing lists, especially since it has become clearer than ever that a truly systemic change to the profit-driven capitalist/imperialist system is needed to allow any real solutions to the climate crisis, and we will need all our allies in other social movements to effect that change, and can not allow the fascists in power to take us out one by one.
Below is a request for individual/organizational endorsement of a statement fighting back on a dangerous insinuation by the legal ruling in the USA in the case of Hedges et al. v Obama et al. pertaining to the National Defense Authorization Act, and about who the government can claim to advocate violence/terrorism. Though the case is in the US, theywelcome international endorsements as well.
Even though I disagree with the RCP on some major points, I understand that RCP does not advocate terrorism, which is violence against innocent people. They only advocate being prepared to meet violent repression unleashed by the state, which I think should be totally legal as it would be self-defense, though I don't even know if that's a viable strategy (could violent response to state violence be used to justify more violent repression, and also prevent internal revulsion among the ranks of the state's military/police apparatus?) In any case, RCP's advocacy and organizing should be protected by our constitutional rights, and we can not allow them to be singled out for persecution. Besides, the US and NATO has been providing "material support" to the "rebels" in Syria, and previously in Libya and many other places, to violently challenge their respective states, and often proactively, as opposed to in self-defense, so the hypocrisy is quite naked.
If you do not see the text of the statement itself titled "A Call To Stand Together To Oppose The Obama Administration’s Dangerous Assault On Fundamental Rights", immediately below the name and email of Raymond Lotta, please let me know. Some others have reported this strange disappearance of the text, and the pdf of the statement fails to forward too.
Thanks, and all the best.
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: raymond lotta <[log in to unmask]>
To: Raymond Lotta <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, August 4, 2012 6:33 PM
Subject: Response requested: Statement vs NDAA
I am sharing with you a public statement for signature entitled “A Call To Stand Together To Oppose The Obama Administration’s Dangerous Assault On Fundamental Rights.” The statement can be read below this letter or as an attachment (and it will soon be posted on the web).
The purpose of this statement is to call attention, and summon resistance, to a dangerous trajectory of repressive acts and laws and to reaffirm a core principle: we cannot allow any one group or person to be singled out and targeted. I have drawn up this statement out of great concern for the situation we are confronting—and in doing so have consulted with, and incorporated the insights of, others expressing similar concerns.
The immediate catalyst for this statement is the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and the ruling of May 16 by District Judge Katherine Forrest in response to the law suitHedges et al. v Obama et al. The ruling was a mainly positive one, but it also contains an erroneous and potentially harmful characterization of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP) and its Chairman, Bob Avakian. For background, you can look at the article I have written for Revolution newspaper. The legal steps taken to rectify this mischaracterization are summarized here. As for the RCP’s actual view on the struggle for revolutionary change, here is a link.
This public statement below is aimed at broadly influencing public opinion and helping, along with other efforts, to galvanize the kind of opposition that is really needed to the widening assault on fundamental rights.
I encourage you to become a signatory to this statement; if appropriate, include your institutional affiliation (any public manifestation of this statement will include the phrase “institutional affiliation is for identification purposes only and does not imply endorsement”). Please reply with your information.
Any thoughts on projecting this statement, as well as your thinking on the larger situation to which it is addressed, would be greatly appreciated.
Raymond Lotta[log in to unmask]
A Call To Stand Together To Oppose The Obama Administration’s Dangerous Assault On Fundamental Rights
The administration of Barack Obama, which had promised to put an end to torture and other outrages committed by the Bush Administration, is in fact putting into place a dangerous system of repression and control. This is a serious assault on fundamental rights, and it must be answered not with silence and complicity but with heightened awareness and more determined opposition.
The record of the Obama Administration is a chilling one. President Obama has preserved Bush’s rendition program, which relies upon torture, and has extended the Patriot Act. His Administration has adopted a quasi-official assassination policy, complete with secret “kill lists” reviewed by the President, which Attorney General Holder has brazenly asserted meets Constitutional standards of due process. In the 2010 case of Holder v HLP [Humanitarian Law Project], the Obama administration successfully argued before the courts that the “crime” of “material support” to “terrorists” be broadened to include merely speaking with and advising (even on some legal matters) any group designated by the government as terrorist. The ruling has already been applied to pro-Palestinian activists and endangers many others, including prominent public intellectuals, as well as groups upholding or advocating fundamental social change.
The most recent expansion of dangerous and illegitimate government authority is the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This law grants to any U.S. president the power to detain any person, including U.S. citizens, indefinitely and without charge or trial, for the alleged crime of associating with a broad and vague category of people, which could include people who have nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks or with terrorism in general.
The pattern is disturbingly clear: not just a continuation but a further leap in the draconian measures taken by the Bush administration—under the pretext of the open-ended, so-called War on Terror—to detain, torture, and assassinate…not just a continuation but a further leap in measures to restrict and criminalize dissent and opposition to the status quo.
This must not go unanswered—nor be allowed to continue to grow increasingly worse. In opposing these repressive moves, it is imperative that people not allow anyone, or any one group, to be singled out or targeted for repression. In this regard, the lawsuit Hedges et al. v Obama et al. that is challenging ominous provisions of the NDAA is quite salient. On May 16, a federal district court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and issued a temporary injunction blocking the government from implementing Section 1021 of this law. But insinuated into this mainly positive ruling is a reference to the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and its Chairman Bob Avakian which is an erroneous and potentially harmful characterization that could be used as a pretext to criminalize what is constitutionally protected freedom of speech and association and potentially sweep the RCP and its Chairman into a category of organizations identified by the government as terrorist.
Those of us signing this statement cannot speak for the RCP and indeed have various levels of familiarity with and a variety of views on its philosophical and political principles and objectives. But we do not countenance—and recognize as very dangerous—the designation by the powers-that-be of groups as politically “acceptable” and “unacceptable.” History teaches, by negative and positive example, that we must stand against attempts to divide progressive, radical, and revolutionary forces along any such lines.
In this there are very important lessons to be drawn from the self-critical summation by Pastor Martin Niemoeller of his experience when confronted with the heightening repression carried out by the Nazi regime in Germany during the 1930s:
“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out because I was a Protestant.Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak out for me.”
The signatories of this statement call on people to step forward and stand together to oppose the assault on dissent and the moves to restrict and criminalize oppositional speech, association, and political activity, which are being carried out by the Obama Administration and which continue and expand dangerous precedents and mechanisms which can also be utilized by any future Administration.