Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Latest From The Partisan Defense Committee-Free The Class-War Prisoners-The Latest In The Radical Activist Carlos Montes Case

Click on the headline to link to the Partisan Defense Committee website.

Reposted from the American Left History blog, dated December 1, 2010.

Markin comment:

I like to think of myself as a fervent supporter of the Partisan Defense Committee, an organization committed to social and political defense cases and causes in the interests of the working class and, at this time of the year, to raising funds to support the class-war prisoners’ stipend program. Normally I do not need any prompting in the matter. This year, however, in light of the addition of Attorney Lynne Stewart (yes, I know, she has been disbarred but that does not make her less of a people’s attorney in my eyes) to the stipend program, I read the 25th Anniversary Appeal article in Workers Vanguard No. 969 where I was startled to note how many of the names, organizations, and political philosophies mentioned there hark back to my own radical coming of age, and the need for class-struggle defense of all our political prisoners in the late 1960s (although I may not have used that exact term at the time).

That recognition included names like black liberation fighter George Jackson, present class-war prisoner Hugo Pinell’s San Quentin Six comrade; the Black Panthers, as represented here by two of the Omaha Three (Poindexter and wa Langa), in their better days and in the days when we needed, desperately needed, to fight for their defense in places from Oakland to New Haven; the struggle, the fierce struggle, against the death penalty as represented in Mumia’s case today; the Ohio 7 and the Weather Underground who, rightly or wrongly, were committed to building a second front against American imperialism, and who most of the left, the respectable left, abandoned; and, of course, Leonard Peltier and the Native American struggles from Pine Ridge to the Southwest. It has been a long time and victories few. I could go on but you get the point.

That point also includes the hard fact that we have paid a high price, a very high price, for not winning back in the late 1960s and early 1970s when we last had this capitalist imperialist society on the ropes. Maybe it was political immaturity, maybe it was cranky theory, maybe it was elitism, hell, maybe it was just old-fashioned hubris but we let them off the hook. And have had to fight forty years of rear-guard “culture wars” since just to keep from falling further behind.

And the class-war prisoners, our class-war prisoners, have had to face their “justice” and their prisons. That lesson should be etched in the memory of every pro-working class militant today. And this, as well, as a quick glance at the news these days should make every liberation fighter realize; the difference between being on one side of that prison wall and the other is a very close thing when the bourgeoisie decides to pull the hammer down. The support of class-war prisoners is thus not charity, as International Labor Defense founder James P. Cannon noted back in the 1920s, but a duty of those fighters outside the walls. Today I do my duty, and gladly.
The Carlos Montes Case

We have previously written in our newsletters about Carlos Montes, targeted by the FBI for his long history of leftist political activism. Montes had recently worked with the committee to Stop FBI Repression, which was formed to defend 23 Midwestern leftists, antiwar organizers and union activists targeted by the FBI since September 2010 for the "crime" of solidarity with the oppressed in Latin American and the Near East. On May 17, 2011, Montes' Alhambra home was invaded by the FBI and the Los Angeles Sheriffs SWAT team who ransacked the house, taking his computer, computer files and cell phone. Montes was arrested on a pretext of violating a firearms code and charged with six felonies. In vastly expanding the state's repressive powers in the name of the "war on terror" over the last decade, the capitalist government has slashed fundamental rights of association and speech. On September 28, 2011, the PDC wrote a letter to the County of Los Angeles District Attorney demanding all of his belongs be returned immediately and that all charges be dropped.
The court case against Montes ended on June 5 when Montes pleaded "no contest" to one count of perjury in exchange for the local District Attorney dropping the three remaining felonies against him. Although Montes will receive no prison time, he now must serve three years of formal probation, which will keep him under the thumb of the capitalist state, and 180 hours of community service. He is also prohibited from possessing any weapons. Montes had faced up to 18 years in jail. While we welcome the fact that Montes will not be imprisoned, the onerous penalties that he has been saddled with are not a "victory against repression" as his supporters have trumpeted. In fact, what transpired there is nothing but the regular workings of the American criminal justice system. Cops and prosecutors routinely level bogus serious felony charges threatening decades in prison to compel plea agreements to lesser charges.

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