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Archive for June, 2011

Grace Kelley|Students for a Democratic Society – U of MN- TC

I first met Carlos Montes at the National “They Say Cut Back, We Say
Fight Back” Conference in October of 2009. After hearing him speak at
the RNC protest in 2008, I was excited to meet one of the co-founders
of the Brown Berets. As a student activist for education rights, it
was inspiring to meet a leader who played a big part in the Chicano
education rights movement. But what was even more inspiring was
learning that he continues to fight for education rights and many,
many other social justice issues in L.A. today. I was proud to be
fighting along side him for the right to an education for all.

I ran into Carlos again in July of 2010, at the massive protest of
SB1070 in Phoenix. I was still a little star-struck, and was pleased
to help Carlos with whatever he asked me to do. I found that Carlos
does not have any ego about the role that he has played in history; on
the contrary, he is quick to praise the work of others, and to
encourage younger and less experienced activists to keep fighting. He
made the four SDSers from Minneapolis feel welcome and included by
introducing us to all of the wonderfully brave organizers in Phoenix.
He also is very considerate, as I found out when he took one look at
my beet-red face around noon on July 29th and directed me to the
closest air conditioned public building. I am used to protesting in
arctic temperatures, not 110 degree asphalt deserts, and it was very
nice of Carlos to help me avoid fainting from heat stroke.

It is easy as a student activist to look around and see the legacy of
the movements that Carlos has helped to lead. Last year, SDS and La
Raza Student Cultural Center hosted a screening of the film “Walk
Out,” at the U of M. The movie depicts the famous walk outs in LA in
the 60’s, walk outs that Carlos and the Brown Berets helped organize.
Those walk outs kicked off a Chicano movement that has absolutely
impacted this country, and even though we are seeing a push back in
the form of English-only laws, attacks on cultural studies
departments, and SB1070s, the work that Montes and other Chicano
leaders did a generation ago lays the foundation for activists
fighting for justice today.

We have much to learn from Carlos, including how to make the
connection between oppression here at home and U.S. imperialism
abroad. During the Vietnam war, Carlos connected the anti-war movement
to the Chicano struggle. Why should young Latino men fight for the
U.S. military when their communities and families are brutalized by
U.S. police officers everyday? Why is the U.S. spending our tax
dollars bombing other countries when we need that money for housing
and jobs and educations here at home? As our country continues to wage
war several decades later, the activists of my generation continue to
make these connections. We have a right and a responsibility to stand
up to the hypocrisy and the greed and the cruelty of our government.
But now, it seems, that right is under attack. We need to defend
Carlos, not only because he has taught us so much, but also because in
defending Carlos, we are defending ourselves. We are defending our own
rights as activists who speak truth to power. We are defending our
rights as activists to associate with  other activists without having
the FBI break down our door. We must defend Carlos not only because
that is absolutely the right thing to do, but also because,  in
standing up for Carlos, we are standing up for our movements and for
the rights of us all.

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Students for a Democratic Society at the University of MN strongly condemns the FBI and LA County Sheriff department’s violent raid of Chicano activist Carlos Montes. We stand in solidarity with Montes and all those who are targets of the ongoing investigation of anti-war and international solidarity activists.

Students for a Democratic society recognizes the 5 AM raid on May 17, 2011 as part of an ongoing attack against activists and clearly a broadening of this investigation. The presence of the FBI during this raid and the attempt by the FBI to ask questions about their investigation make the connection to the ongoing investigation and harassment of peace and justice activists unmistakable. Moreover, the documents taken from Carlos’ home, including his computer, cell phones, and hundreds of personal documents  have nothing to do with his charges regarding a firearm code and goes hand in hand with the ongoing harassment of peace and justice activists since the raids of 24 September in Minneapolis and Chicago.

Due to his political involvement in the struggles for immigrants rights, Chicano civil rights, and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Carlos is clearly being targeted as part of a broad attempt by the federal government to silence opposition to policies of injustice, oppression and exploitation. Carlos has committed no crime and the attack on him is an attack on all activists involved in movements for justice.

SDS stands in solidarity with the work and struggles of Carlos Montes and demands the FBI, LA County Sheriff Department and Federal Government drops all charges and stop their repression of all activists now!

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The Students for a Democratic Society’s National Working Committee strongly condemns the recent attacks on Chicano activist Carlos Montes. We demand an end to the ongoing harassment of anti-war and international solidarity activists within our communities.

Carlos is a long time Chicano and immigrant rights activist, he has been a leader in advocating for a better educational system for marginalized people in the state of California, and has staunchly committed his life and activism to anti-imperialism and international solidarity.

We condemn the violent raid on of Carlos’ house which was carried out by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the FBI. On May 17th at 5 A.M. a SWAT Team smashed the front door of Carlos’ home and rushed in with automatic weapons as Carlos slept. The team of Sheriffs and FBI proceeded to ransack his house, taking his computer, cell phones and hundreds of documents, photos, diskettes and mementos of his current political activities in the pro-immigrant rights and Chicano civil rights movement. Also taken were hundreds of historical documents related to Carlos Montes’ involvement in the Chicano movement for the past 44 years.
This attack comes at a time when FBI documents were revealed that indicated this witch hunt investigation the FBI is pursuing is not about keeping the people safe, it’s about criminalizing people for their ideas.  This recent raid on Carlos’ house is a clear extension of the ongoing harassment of 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists. We demand an end to these COINTELPRO tactics and the attacks on activists!
SDS stands firmly behind any one of our fellow activists and community members who struggle towarda a better future for us all. We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of association – the ability to affiliate oneself with any political ideas of one’s choosing. True democracy is the expression of ideas without reprimand.
  • Drop all charges against Carlos Montes!
  • Stop all attacks against anti-war, international solidarity, Chicano/Immigrant Rights activists!
  • Call off the Grand Jury, and revoke the subpoenas!
  • Sign the national petition to Drop the Charges Against Carlos Montes, Stop the FBI Attack on the Chicano and Immigrant Rights Movement, and Stop FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists NOW!

FFI: Committee to Stop FBI Repression | www.StopFBI.net

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