Government Attacks on the Anti-War Movement

February 19, 2004

In early February, the U.S. Justice Department issued subpoenas to several individuals who attended a fall anti-war forum in Iowa. The government also subpoenaed membership lists and other files of the organization which sponsored the forum, the Drake University chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. The Justice Department says that the subpoenas are part of an investigation into an anti-war demonstration organized at a Iowa National Guard base one day after the forum.

The subpoenas and investigation are nothing but a political witch-hunt and part of the growing government surveillance, harassment and repression against the anti-war movement.

In November, the New York Times reported on a classified FBI intelligence memorandum, sent to local law police agencies across the country, calling on police to infiltrate and monitor demonstrations against the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Already, anti-war activists in several cities have uncovered local police units organized to infiltrate, spy on and disrupt anti-war organizations.

Such police-state tactics are even more in use against Arab-American and Moslem communities where tens of thousands of people have been subjected to arbitrary detentions, where religious services have been invaded by the FBI, where charitable organizations have been raided and closed down by the government, etc.

These attacks against the rights of the people are part and parcel of the government's so-called "war on terrorism." In the name of "national security," the government is usurping more arbitrary power, criminalizing political dissent, building up its apparatus of repression and suppressing such fundamental rights as the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, etc.

But these repressive tactics show the great weakness of the government and its fear of the growing anti-war struggles. Anti-war organizations and activists must not only resolutely defend their democratic rights to speak out and organize but also continue to bring ever-wider sections of people into the struggle against the government's war program.