Victory for Carlos!

June 2012

This week (June 8, 2012) we are honored to join with people all over the country (and beyond!) to celebrate Carlos Montes’ victory against state repression.  As many of you know, Carlos Montes is a veteran Chicano activist known for his leadership in the 1968 East Los Angeles education reform movement, the historic Chicano Moratorium against the U.S. war in Vietnam, and the recent immigrants’ rights movement.  Carlos was a co-founder of the Brown Berets, who organized  from within the Chicano/Mexicano community—and alongside other liberation movements—for peace, justice, equality, and self-determination.   Because of his history, continued organizing work against the ravages of racism, war, and imperialism, and his undying solidarity with oppressed peoples’ struggles for freedom all over the world, Carlos was recently targeted by the FBI.  In May of 2011, the FBI led an LA County Sheriff’s Swat Team in a fully armed raid of his home. Carlos was arrested and charged with 6 serious felonies with possible imprisonment of up to 18 years.  This attack was also related to the targeting of 23 other activists in the Midwest the previous year.  Rather than be intimidated into silence and inaction, organizations and individuals from all of over have joined forces to defend Carlos and others targeted by this crackdown.  As of June 5th, thanks to his firm stance and the work of his supporters and legal team, Carlos will not face a trial or prison time. The struggle to defend the others 23 continues…

Critical Resistance was proud to have played our small part in supporting Carlos Montes and these other activists.  Through our participation in the Bay Area Committee to Stop Political Repression, we were able to see how coming together in coalition and taking a strong, collective stand, is the best defense when our friends, families, neighbors, and comrades are under attack.  While we can’t control when and how the state targets us, we are glad to be working with others to deepen our understanding of how political repression works, how to respond more quickly and smartly, and how to draw out the relationship between political repression and the day-to-day violence of policing, surveillance, and imprisonment.  Amidst the widening use of grand juries, FBI infiltration, and police violence, we hope to recall the great and timeless lesson that when those in power try to smash dissent and prevent change, they also create the opportunity for us to bring people together and galvanize our movements.  So, when they try to divide and conquer, here’s to uniting and fighting.  And here’s to celebrating peoples’ victories, large and small.