Feb 14

Drop All Charges Against Max Kantar and Ahlam Mohsen!

DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST MAX KANTAR AND AHLAM MOHSEN!
Adopted unanimously at the Feb. 12, 2011 Socialist Party of Michigan state membership meeting

The Socialist Party of Michigan expresses its strongest condemnation of the outrageous charges presently being pressed against Michigan human rights activists Max Kantar and Ahlam Mohsen, in response to their anti-imperialist solidarity display at an August 16th Democratic Party-sponsored public meeting with U.S. Senator Carl Levin at the Pepper’s Café and Deli in Big Rapids.

During a question-and-answer session of the meeting, Kantar, a 23 year old independent freelance political writer and frequent contributor to the SPMI’s intermittently published Michigan Socialist political magazine, read a scathingly veracious denunciation of Sen. Levin’s long history of enabling support for U.S. war crimes around the globe, coupled with the Senator’s corresponding record of complicity and substantive indifference to the escalating economic devastation, racist police repression, and systematic mass imprisonment of tens of thousands of his own constituents in the interests of the rich and powerful. At the conclusion of Kantar’s speech, Mohsen, a 23 year old Palestinian-solidarity activist and anthropology student at Michigan State University, performed the symbolic action of placing a de-crusted apple pie in the senator’s face…

Citing an earlier arrest of both Kantar and Mohsen in January 2010, resulting from their participation in an anti-war protest held at Sen. Levin’s Detroit office while the Senator was away in D.C., both were subsequently charged with felony aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, and later released on bonds of $10,000 and $25,000 respectively, after being initially set for each at $250,000. In further seizing upon the opportunity to make an example out of two more activists, amid the FBI’s recently accelerated multi-state crackdown on the anti-war activist left in the U.S., the Mecosta County charges filed against Kantar and Mohsen were temporarily “suspended” two weeks later in order to facilitate an FBI investigation into whether the two had committed federal crimes against a member of Congress.

Following the FBI’s investigation of the Big Rapids restaurant protest incident, both Mohsen and Kantar were arraigned on combined misdemeanor and felony charges of aiding and abetting the assault of a federal officer. In addition to citing 18 U.S.C. § 111, which establishes a maximum sentence of eight years in federal prison for conviction of such a crime, the federal indictment of Mohsen and Kantar, underlying such charges, additionally cites 18 U.S.C. § 1114, which establishes additional criminal penalties for “Whoever kills or attempts to kill any officer or employee of the United States…” (Emphasis ours).

Both the baseless FBI investigation into Mohsen’s and Kantar’s solidarity action against Senator Levin last August, and the draconian federal charges currently being pressed against the two activists, come amid a recent waive of FBI repression against left-wing, anti-imperialist solidarity activists throughout the Midwest beginning with coordinated FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas last September and December against numerous individuals representing such organizations as the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombian Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. During the course of such raids, FBI agents confiscated virtually all of such individuals and organizations’ files, passports, membership and phone lists, financial records, and computers and other electronic equipment at the homes and offices where the raids were conducted.

The Bush regime’s concerted efforts to expand the apparatus of executive surveillance and intrusion are now widely recognized by the American populace to have been among the cornerstones of its domestic policy agenda throughout its two terms. The presently accelerated crackdown on anti-war/anti-imperialist activists around the U.S. should serve to unequivocally demonstrate that the present Obama administration’s Democratic Party-directed Justice Department stands equally committed to the employment of police state-style suppression and intimidation methods to quell the growth of popular opposition to U.S. imperialist crimes abroad.

Similarly demonstrative of the Democratic Party’s true principles has been Senator Levin’s unflinching refusal to exercise his overwhelmingly influential and contextually relevant position to request that the outrageous charges currently being pressed against Kantar and Mohsen be dropped – a subsequent standpoint that even such figures as Pat Buchanan, William Kristol, and Pat Robertson conceded to be too drastically unbalanced when given the choice of having assault charges pressed after their respective encounters with similar protest actions involving the symbolic “pie-ing” of prominent politicians and pundits.

The Socialist Party of Michigan demands that all charges pending against Max Kantar and Ahlam Mohsen be immediately and unconditionally dropped and call upon all SPMI members and supporters to contact the office of Asst. U.S. Attorney Hagan Frank to give additional voice to this demand. We additionally affirm our full solidarity with the content of Kantar and Ahlam’s speech, along with our corresponding recognition that the only true criminal at the August 16 Big Rapids restaurant meeting, known to hold any real culpability for acts of aiding and abetting assault, was U.S. senator Carl Levin himself.

Letters, faxes, and phone calls to demand the government’s dropping of all charges against Kantar and Mohsem can be sent/made to:
ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, HAGEN FRANK
330 Ionia Avenue, N.W. Suite 501,
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 456-2404
Fax: 616-456-2408
.

Text of the Activists’ Aug. 16 Statement Read to Sen. Levin before their Arrest

Campaign to Free Ahlam Mohsen and Max Kantar official blog


Feb 04

Solidarity with the Revolutions in Egypt and the Middle East!!

Joint Statement of the Detroit Socialist Party and the Organization for a Free Society

The Detroit Socialist Party and the Organization for a Free Society support the struggle in Egypt which has inspired people across the world as they fight passionately to smash the 30-year rule of the US backed dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian people have realized the limits of their government and, no longer satisfied with hollow assurances of democracy and freedom, have taken the first steps towards real democracy and actual freedom. The courage and solidarity with which they have successfully contested the Mubarak dictatorship gives us all hope that democracy and freedom can be attained by and for the power of united poor and working people.

Mubarak’s authoritarian rule over Egypt (aided at every turn in his pact with US imperialism), has created and maintained a system of economic injustice in which the majority live and work in poverty (if they are permitted to work at all). In the face of widespread social and economic injustice, Mubarak has employed a vast apparatus of secret police goons whose sole task is to maintain the security of the wealthy elite through harassment and intimidation. In addition to the creation of oppressive domestic policies, Mubarak has also assisted in crushing the right to self-determination for neighboring Middle East nations. This is especially true for the people of Palestine, who’s access through Egypt has been blocked largely as a consequence of Mubarak’s active support for the illegal and cruel Israeli military occupation. The current struggle in Egypt raises our hope that the people of Egypt will not only shake the foundations of their own oppression, but will strike a blow to the oppression of the Palestinians, the Middle East, and all oppressed and exploited people throughout the world.

US lawmakers are carefully examining the situation in the Middle East and what it holds for their empire. President Obama and Secretary Clinton have paid lip service to the “universal rights” of the Egyptians to rebel, while continuing their policy of support for the Mubarak regime and allowing him to use US teargas, tanks and weapons to try and crush the Egyptian people’s struggle. Therefore, to stand in solidarity with the Egyptian people’s fight for a democratic government we are taking to the streets ourselves to end US support of the Mubarak regime and will continue to build the struggle for real democracy in the US.

As capitalism continues to spiral into crisis, a wave of free-market dogmatism is rushing into the halls of US lawmakers, who are calling for a slash-and-burn spending policy aimed at every public service which intends to help the poor, working class, youth, students, women, people of color and the environment. It seems that war, empire and corporate profits are the only things that aren’t too expensive to our US lawmakers. The present US military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the secretive bombing of Pakistan and military aid to Israel, is all based upon the lie that what is presently happening in Egypt and across the Middle East never happens! It is high time that socialists and all those who seek peace and freedom everywhere reinvigorate and rebuild the struggle against Western imperial adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, the Middle East and throughout the world.

Presently, activists who have been taking responsibility to lead the anti-imperialist struggle are facing government repression tactics in the form of Grand Jury subpoenas, infiltration and spurious criminal charges. These tactics are aimed at intimidating activists and undermining the ability for Americans to take responsibility for changing their governments policies toward finally reflecting the democratic, peaceful reputation that US political leaders speak of. We demand that people’s right to resist and protest be respected, and that all repressive tactics to intimidate and undermine global justice activism be brought to an end!

As revolutionary socialists in the US, we are reminded of the limitations of our own system and are inspired by the passion and determination for real justice in the struggles in Egypt and across the Middle East. We once again bear witness to the eternal truth that working people of all countries have more in common with each other than the regimes ruling over them. We all share the same aspirations to rights that would truly be universal: The right to meaningful work; to a life without poverty; to universal education; and to collectively determining the use of the resources and technology that sustain our lives and our world. In this very real sense, the Egyptians’ struggle is our struggle. Let us extend the most meaningful show of solidarity to them yet, by not simply cheering them on but in taking up their call. With the Egyptians, we too demand no less than the radical emancipation of our own oppressed, our own unemployed, our own impoverished. Working people of all counties, unite! In solidarity with this struggle, and the struggles of the people across the Middle East, we demand an immediate end to all US support to the governments of Egypt and Israel, an end to the wars against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and an end to federal government repression of peace and justice activists.

WHERE WE STAND:

  • Solidarity with the people’s movement in Egypt. End Mubarack’s 30-year dictatorship! US out of the Middle East.
  • We want an immediate end to all US support to the governments of Egypt and Israel, and an end to the wars against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • People’s right to resist and protest be respected, and that all repressive tactics to intimidate and undermine global justice activism be brought to an end!
  • World wide revolution to end all imperialist regimes. We want global solidarity and cooperation! International socialism for the 21st century!

See also: SP International Commission Statement on the Tunisian Uprising (leaflet version


Aug 28

Detroit Socialist Party Statement on the UAW/Rainbow Coalition March August 28, 2010

The United Auto Workers and Rainbow Coalition invited everyone today to relive the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We are invited to relive Dr. King’s passion for social equality, economic justice, and anti-war sentiments. However, the Detroit Socialist Party calls for us to not remember the glorified and uncontroversial moderate invented by the media, but rather the dedicated radical who was a dire threat to the establishment; shunned by Democrats and Republicans alike.

The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be… The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The Democratic Party, which is well represented in this march, was not considered to be a force for progress by King, but rather a part of system he was trying to overthrow. He didn’t decide to work within the system, which he saw as corrupt, but rather to reveal the hypocrisy and injustice of the system by bringing it to the forefront in the thought of the public. He did not settle for what the establishment was willing to give up, but rather made a constant effort until that which he desired – that which was moral obligation – was realized. He did not begin and end with the civil rights movement; that was but one part of his vision. He recognized that racism was one of the tools used by the ruling class to divide those who they wished to exploit….

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We cannot accept what merely looks like reform and let the Democratic Party ride us for the betterment of their corporate masters. Rather, we must stand erect with dignity and demand revolutionary and idealistic change as King would have. We do not need a health plan which subsidizes insurance companies; we need socialized medicine! We do not need tax policies that incentivize jobs through stimulus; we need the direct creation of jobs in workplaces under democratic control! We do not need for the current laws to simply be enforced; we need new and strong legislation that reaffirms the people’s rights over corporate rights! We do not need to settle what the Democrats are willing to give us; we need real and meaningful change with working class interests in mind! We will not be contented with anything less than we deserve!

Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong… with capitalism… There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Detroit Socialist Party has monthly membership meetings at 3 pm on the third Sunday of the month. Meetings are held in the lobby of our office at 2937 East Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48202. Look for the tall, rainbow colored building.

May 01

Statewide Smoking Ban Not a Socialist Measure, Say Michigan’s Socialists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sat. May 1st 2010


LANSING – Confuting the widespread characterization of Michigan’s looming workplace smoking ban as a ‘socialist measure,’ by many of the new law’s critics throughout the state, the Socialist Party of Michigan officially resolved to take an opposing stance toward the ban at the April meeting of its State Executive Committee on Wednesday.

Among the 38 states to have enacted similar laws thus far, Michigan’s new smoking law, set to take effect this Saturday May 1st, is among the most restrictive – prohibiting smoking and related paraphernalia in all public places occupied by even a single employee, including the outdoor patios and private rooms of all restaurants, bars, and hotels, while permitting partial exemptions to be granted only to pre-existing cigar bars, tobacco specialty shops, and the gaming floors of Detroit’s three casinos.

While expressing concern about the overreaching scope of the law’s prohibitions, Michigan’s Socialists also sought to challenge common, and increasingly echoed, misperceptions about the kind of political and economic change that socialists actually stand for.

“In contrast to the deliberately misinformative rhetoric of corporate politicians and pundits, the American socialist movement has never had any affinity for homogenizing workers’ and consumers’ choices,” said Socialist Party of Michigan Chairperson Matt Erard.

“Unlike the Democratic Party, Socialists believe that the establishment of free universal health care for all, rather than either monolithic lifestyle encroachments or mandatory private insurance purchases, is the key to improving public health and lowering its costs. With over 1,000 more Michigan workers presently losing their health coverage every week, the legislature’s new smoking ban is another ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach to addressing our state’s public health crisis,” Erard added.

Erard took a corresponding stance toward such proposed legislation while running as the sole Socialist candidate for the state legislature, among the four Michigan campaigns the Party fielded in 2008 general election. In his response to questions on whether he would support the enactment of such a ban in the candidate questionnaires published within the Detroit News and MLive.Com voter guides, Erard noted that, “[a]s a socialist, I advocate workers’ self-management and I favor the model of direct workplace democracy over arbitrary decrees from the state, just as I favor it over the arbitrary decrees of private bosses.”

Following the Party’s resolution on the impending smoking ban this week, Erard further noted that the primary focus of the ban’s restrictions, namely shielding non-smoker workplace employees from involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke, would be far less relevant without the confines of the present capitalist system of wage-labor.

“Under a socialist system, characterized by full employment and workplace democracy, all Michigan workers would be able to select and structure their employment opportunities in consonance with their needs and lifestyle choices, rather than having to grudgingly adapt to the top-down policies of any employer willing to rent their labor,” Erard said.

Apr 28

Detroit Socialist Party Statement on UAW /
Rainbow Coalition March August 28, 2010

The United Auto Workers and Rainbow Coalition invited everyone today to relive the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We are invited to relive Dr. King’s passion for social equality, economic justice, and anti-war sentiments. However, the Detroit Socialist Party calls for us to not remember the glorified and uncontroversial moderate invented by the media, but rather the dedicated radical who was a dire threat to the establishment; shunned by Democrats and Republicans alike.

“The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be… The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

The Democratic Party, which is well represented in this march, was not considered to be a force for progress by King, but rather a part of system he was trying to overthrow. He didn’t decide to work within the system, which he saw as corrupt, but rather to reveal the hypocrisy and injustice of the system by bringing it to the forefront in the thought of the public. He did not settle for what the establishment was willing to give up, but rather made a constant effort until that which he desired – that which was moral obligation – was realized. He did not begin and end with the civil rights movement; that was but one part of his vision. He recognized that racism was one of the tools used by the ruling class to divide those who they wished to exploit.

“ Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

We cannot accept what merely looks like reform and let the Democratic Party ride us for the betterment of their corporate masters. Rather, we must stand erect with dignity and demand revolutionary and idealistic change as King would have. We do not need a health plan which subsidizes insurance companies; we need socialized medicine! We do not need tax policies that incentivize jobs through stimulus; we need the direct creation of jobs in workplaces under democratic control! We do not need for the current laws to simply be enforced; we need new and strong legislation that reaffirms the people’s rights over corporate rights! We do not need to settle what the Democrats are willing to give us; we need real and meaningful change with working class interests in mind! We will not be contented with anything less than we deserve!

“Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong… with capitalism… There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

The Detroit Socialist Party has monthly working group meetings at 3 pm on the first Sunday of the month and monthly membership meetings at 3 pm on the third Sunday of the month. Both are held in the lobby of our office at 2937 East Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48202. Look for the tall, rainbow colored building.