Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Protest FBI Raids, Downtown Atlanta earlier today

The Atlanta International Action Center urges you to attend a protest/press conference TUESDAY, SEPT. 28 at NOON at the Richard Russell Building, 75 Spring St, 30303 - downtown at the corner of Spring and MLK, 2 blocks from the 5 Points MARTA station.

Please bring signs and banners demanding :

**Stop the repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists.

**Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.

**End the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.

And if you are unable to come, please call the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 or write an email to: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov.expressing your opposition.

For national updates, go to www.iacenter.org


It might seem strange to blog about something after the fact, but the issue is a fundamental one, and illustrates the perils of standing up for what you believe in, especially if it clashes against a prevailing paradigm.

From the days of Joan of Ark and Galileo, to now, with this crew of Twin Cities Anti-War advocates and who knows how many others, those few, brave souls have often had to put their sanity, social status, physical safety, and even lives on the line for their beliefs and their pressing need to effect some real progress and change in the world.

Under the pretext of investigating "terrorism," the government's agents seized computers, cellphones, political leaflets and other printed materials. The people targeted are well-known leaders of anti-war, solidarity and student organizations such as the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, Students for a Democratic Society and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. The FBI has contacted people in California, N. Carolina and Wisconsin as part of the same "investigation."

While no one has been arrested as of yet, a dozen or so activists have been issued subpoenas ordering them to testify before a grand jury in Chicago.

Nobody said it was easy work. Why do some folks gravitate towards it, knowing what few rewards and how many difficulties and how much pain go down that path? Would the world be a better place if everybody courageously took up arms? One can only speculate, because we will never see it.

Perhaps Blake says it best:

Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow.
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.

Then the perilous path was planted:
And a river, and a spring
On every cliff and tomb;
And on the bleached bones
Red clay brought forth.

I do not consider myself, personally, a righteous one on a perilous path - I lack the stomach and gut-level faith to insist on walking a vale of death in prospect of planting life. And as far as protests and other such mass demostrations, I am very suspicious of them. But I am involved with people who deeply care, and I care along with them. I also blog, and help blog, and help get out there, messages which could get me as easily flagged as the above activists, were the public's interest level of anything I undertook to increase beyond the number of people you can count on the fingers in one hand.

I read the above and expect any day to come home and find our house ransacked, just because we dared voice certain opinions about depleted uranium, for instance. Is this reasonable? Probably not - but such FBI bullying tactics work pretty well.

For anyone with even less stomach lining than me might read the above story, and decide to never blog or voice any sort of opinion in the first place.

I wouldn't be surprised if that was the point of the FBI's little stunt.