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Tom Burke speaks out against FBI repression in New York cities

By staff |
December 3, 2011
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Tom Burke speaking to a large crowd in Albany, NY.
Tom Burke speaking to a large crowd in Albany, NY. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Albany, NY - Tom Burke, a leader of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, toured upstate New York Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 to talk about FBI repression and the upcoming trial of Carlos Montes. Burke spoke to hundreds of people at events in Rochester, Albany and Buffalo. He also visited and spoke at Occupy Wall Street camps where dozens of tents are pitched and scores of people are holding their ground, protesting the wealthy 1% and the politicians that serve them.

Burke is one of 24 anti-war activists either raided by the FBI or subpoenaed to a grand jury. Speaking to a crowd of almost 100 at Emerson Hall, the Unitarian Church in Albany, Burke said, “For 23 of us, we are told that multiple indictments are still being prepared. For veteran Chicano and anti-war activist Carlos Montes in Los Angeles, I am here to ask you to protest in your city on the first day of Carlos’ trial. This is purely a political attack. Last May, the FBI broke down the door of Carlos home at 5 a.m., with automatic weapons drawn, and ransacked his home, taking away all his political documents and notes for a book on Chicano activism. Carlos, who helped organize the protest at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, refused to answer the FBI’s questions about his relationship to the other 23.”

The FBI attacks on the democratic rights of anti-war and international solidarity activists are clearly targeting leaders and groups, and attempting to disrupt their organizing. The FBI repression of anti-war activists is an expansion of the ongoing and unjust pre-emptive prosecutions of Arabs and Muslims - attempting to justify the illegal and unjust U.S. wars and occupations abroad.

At every New York event the audience discussed the U.S. government coordination of local police attacks upon the Occupy movement and the people’s right to use public space and protest the wealthy 1%. Progressives in every city are opposed to the militarization of local police forces. 

Tom Burke told Fight Back!, “In the face of political repression, we have to build on the solidarity from hundreds of groups - anti-war, community, faith, student and labor - and grow stronger together. We are asking our friends and comrades at the Flying Squirrel Collective in Rochester, the Albany peace and justice movement, the supporters of Burning Books in Buffalo, to join us for the huge mass protests against the war-makers and big bankers at the NATO/G8 summit on May 15 and May 19 in Chicago. Rochester and Buffalo have promised us busloads of protesters and Albany is talking about a Peace Train. The U.S. government is hosting the 1% from the rich countries and making plans for more wars and domination of the rest of the world. We need to unite with the Arab Spring protesters and people in other countries to oppose the poverty and war agenda here in Chicago.”