A dangerous trajectory of repressive acts and laws is challenging core principles. “We cannot allow any one group or person to be singled out and targeted.”


To the WORD: I am sharing with you a public statement, “A Call to Stand Together to Oppose the Obama Administration’s Dangerous Assault on Fundamental Rights,” and I am asking for people to sign on.

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 and is also posted for signature at opposerepressionndaa.net. The initial signatories follow the statement.

This statement calls to attention and summons resistance, to a dangerous trajectory of repressive acts and laws and to reaffirm core principles: 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 for Fiscal Year 2012 and the ruling of May 16 by Judge Katherine Forrest of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in response to the lawsuit Hedges et al. v Obama et al.

The ruling was mainly positive but it also contains an erroneous and potentially harmful characterization of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA (RCP) and its Chairman, Bob Avakian. 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 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 e-mail me 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.

In solidarity,
Raymond Lotta
(773) 329-5698
Editor’s Note: Ray Lotta is serious about getting feedback, which is why his phone number is provided as well as his email.

A Call to Stand Together to Oppose the Obama Administration’s Dangerous Assault on Fundamental Rights

The administration of President 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 Eric 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.

Initial Signatories

Elliott Adams, Veterans For Peace, past President, Creating a Culture of Peace, Secretary
Rafael C. Angulo, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Southern California School of Social Work
Fr. Luis Barrios, Co-Executive Director, Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization-IFCO
Toby Blomé, Bay Area CodePink
Leah Bolger, President, Veterans For Peace
Robert Cliver, History professor
Peter Coyote, Actor, Writer, politically engaged human
Daniel Ellsberg
Larry Everest, Revolution correspondent, author
Ann Fagan Ginger, Author, human rights attorney (ret.)
Dave Heller
George Homanich, Binghampton, NY
Mickey Huff, Director, Project Censored/Media Freedom Foundation
John Hutnyk, Professor, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Chuck Kaufman, Executive Director, Alliance for Global Justice
Jim Lafferty, Director, National Lawyers Guild, LA
Linda LeTendre, Saratoga Peace Alliance
Raymond Lotta, Revolution Newspaper, advocate of Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism
Bob Meola, Courage to Resist, War Resisters League
Jon Olsen, Green Party
Scott Olsen, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Art Persyko, SF 99% Coalition
Peter Phillips, President, Project Censored/Media Freedom Foundation
Michael D. Rectenwald, Ph.D., Professor, Liberal Studies/Global Liberal Studies, NYU
Walter Riley, Activist, Attorney
Stephen Rohde, Civil liberties attorney and author
Candice Rowser, Hunter College CUNY
Marc Sapir, MD
Saratoga Peace Alliance
Carole Seligman, Co-Editor, Socialist Viewpoint
Cindy Sheehan
Carol Strickman, Attorney
Jeffrey Shurtleff, Amnesty International USA 466, and SF99%Coalition
Michael Sorgen, Civil Rights Attorney
Mark D. Stansbery, Columbus Campaign for Arms Control
David Swanson, Author, warisacrime.org
Debra Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait
Howard Switzer, Architect & Green Party of Tennessee delegate to the GNC
Veterans For Peace, Chapter 147
Paul Von Blum, UCLA African American Studies Program
Steve Wasserman, Professor of Constitutional Law, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NYC
Curt Wechsler, Editor, FireJohnYoo.net
Maggie Zhou, Ph.D., Boston, MA
Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics, University of San Francisco

Institutional affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement.