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Denver Repression

Progressive and socialist organizations condemn attack on Denver anti-racist leaders

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network supports the six anti-racist organizers, including four members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, targeted for arrest and prosecution in the Denver, Colorado area in the United States, and urges broad mobilization in their defense.

Police across the region arrested the six in a coordinated sweep on Wednesday, 17 September from their cars, a Home Depot, and in one case a home raided in a militarized operation involving a tank.

The detentions followed a massive campaign organized by the six to demand justice for Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man killed by Aurora, Colorado police and paramedics in August 2019.

After an uprising against racism and police violence erupted across the United States following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis, Minnesota police on 25 May, these militant, disciplined protests mobilized thousands to confront local police.

Like their organization, the four PSL members – Lillian House, Eliza Lucero, Joel Northam, and Russell Ruch – are distinguished not only as talented organizers in the anti-racist struggle, but also as exemplary supporters of resistance to imperialism and colonialism across the world, including the Palestinian national movement.

The multiple felony charges each of them faces – including, in one particularly egregious example, the simultaneous kidnapping of 18 police officers – are clearly political in nature, intended to repress future organizing against racist repression at a time of pitched struggle across the U.S.

And the simultaneous filing of these fabricated charges by District Attorney Dave Young, a Democrat, as well as Republican D.A. George H. Brauchler illustrates the bipartisan nature of U.S. state repression, with both parties of the ruling class cooperating fully to crush any meaningful resistance.

On Saturday, over 1,500 supporters marched in Denver as other groups rallied throughout the U.S. to demand the dropping of all charges.

Samidoun echoes this demand and encourages all supporters of Palestinian political prisoners to join the ongoing campaign led by PSL.

The party has asked the public to sign a petition denouncing the charges, and to donate to a fund for legal and political support.

And we urge redoubled support for the ongoing struggles of U.S. political prisoners, as well as the mobilization for Black liberation, and against racism, state violence, and political repression, across the country.

As in Palestine, racism is a crime, and resistance is a duty.


Workers World Party

Workers World Party urgently endorses the call for solidarity with six anti-racist activists in Colorado who were arrested after leading mass mobilizations against the racist police murder of Elijah McClain. Four of those arrested are members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation in the Denver area. We want to express our utmost solidarity with all those arrested and salute their work in building this movement.

The trumped-up charges — including kidnapping, inciting a riot, theft, and “attempt to influence a public service” – are completely unfounded and outrageous and must be dropped immediately.

This coordinated state repression is a clear sign that the police felt threatened by the fact that PSL and other organizers have revealed enormous and unending injustice carried out by the Aurora Police Department — in particular, the murder of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old unarmed massage therapist and violinist whose only crime was walking while Black.

This repression in Colorado is part of the alarmingly expanding state repression being carried out against anti-racist movements, coordinated at the very top by the U.S. president and his attorney general. Yet it is also part of a long history of targeting socialist, communist, anarchist and progressive organizers carried out by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and state and local police.

The ruling class is getting increasingly desperate in its attempts to crush the Black Lives Matter uprising. The use of chemical weapons, police kidnappings of activists, neofascist paramilitary attacks, criminalizing “Antifa,” and requiring massive bail bonds to release incarcerated activists all show that the state is at war with our movements. The growth of revolutionary, multinational socialist organizations threatens every aspect of the U.S. empire and its billionaire ruling class.

With an election coming and no end in sight for the misery of the working class and all the oppressed, we need to protect and defend each and every revolutionary organization from state repression. Workers World Party believes that an injury to one organization is an injury to our entire class. We will continue to build solidarity with PSL and all forces within this uprising.

No amount of repression can stop a mass movement of the working class fighting for justice. In the words of Black Panther Party leader Huey P. Newton: “You can jail a Revolutionary, but you can’t jail the Revolution.”

We urge all organizations and individuals to:

Sign the petition to drop all the charges!

In Unity and Solidarity,

Workers World Party / Workers.org


Freedom Road Socialist Organization

The Freedom Road Socialist Organization condemns the repression of the people’s movement that occurred in Denver, Colorado on September 17. Six organizers were arrested at their homes, in parking lots, and while driving. All six were active leaders in protests calling for justice for Elijah McClain and other victims of police brutality. Four of those arrested are members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and all are facing trumped-up charges including inciting a riot, kidnapping and theft. These charges are absolutely bogus and are obviously designed to try to crush dissent and silence the movement against police crimes in Denver. We stand in unwavering solidarity with these activists and salute their hard work in building this movement.

This attack on activists in Colorado is just another example of the expanding state repression against our movements, no doubt coordinated at the very top by Trump and the U.S. Attorney General. From the rhetoric of ‘Antifa thugs burning cities,’ to the use of chemical weapons against protesters and the mobilization of far-right militias to maim and kill protesters, it’s obvious that the current administration and its supporters are at war with the Black lives movement currently sweeping the country. 

We see this wave of repression building up across the country from Portland, Oregon to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to Tallahassee, Florida. It continues a long history of state repression against leftists and other progressive forces in the United States. 

We in Freedom Road Socialist Organization are no stranger to this repression. On September 24, 2010, 23 anti-war activists, including members of FRSO, were raided and subpoenaed in a coordinated attack by the FBI, on bogus charges of ‘material support for terrorism.’ Facing down many decades in prison, we were ultimately able to beat back the attack through mass mobilization and popular support. 

It is in this spirit of resistance and solidarity that we stand with the protesters facing repression in Denver, and pledge to mobilize and assist to free those imprisoned and get their charges dropped, and beat back this vicious attack. Though the ruling class may try, there is no amount of repression that can defeat a mass movement demanding justice!

In solidarity,
Freedom Road Socialist Organization


Communist Workers League

The Communist Workers League expresses complete solidarity with, and support for, the anti-racist activists recently arrested in Colorado and with the entire Colorado Black Lives Matter movement which has been demanding justice for Elijah McClain and all victims of police terror and white supremacy.

We call for authorities to drop all of the outrageous and serious charges brought against leaders of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Front Line Party for Revolutionary Action. These charges are clearly designed to discourage dissent and intimidate organizations and their leadership from continuing the nationwide movement for justice.

We believe that Colorado police and prosecutors are acting directly or indirectly under the influence of President Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr. On June 1 Barr told governors across the nation “we have to take out the professional instigators and the leadership group in the major cities.” Trump also told state leaders to “dominate” the streets and jail protesters “for ten years.” [abcnews.com, June 1, 2020].

On August 18 Attorney General Barr visited Detroit, Michigan and met at length with Police Chief James Craig. Five days later Detroit riot police launched a brutal, unprovoked attack against peaceful protesters in the downtown area. Notable in the violence by the police was the targeting of some individuals who have been playing a leading role in the Detroit movement.

We urge all progressive people to unite behind the Denver anti-racist activists and to demand dropping of all charges. Free the protesters! Jail the killer cops!


People’s Democracy Party (South Corea)

On September 17th, four PSL members and anti-racist organizers in Denver who led the mass anti-racist movement were arrested violently by police. The movement for Black lives is a righteous struggle for justice, and those arrested are key leaders at the forefront of the movement in Denver.

Just as your fingers cannot cover the sun, lies cannot overcome the truth. There’s no end to the name of the Black people who were imprisoned or killed by the police’s murderous suppression. As long as police terror and white supremacy continues, the anti-racist movement will continue to spread.

The Trump administration is pushing the struggle even further. The fever of the anti-imperialist struggle is growing all over the world. The people’s movement to prevent the 2nd and 3rd killing of George Floyd is spreading like wildfire throughout the U.S. and the globe.

Dave Young, the District Attorney responsible for this attack on the movement–and a member of the Democratic Party–must immediately drop the false and trumped-up charges against the Denver anti-racist organizers and PSL members and stop the assault on the movement and on free speech!

Whereever oppression and exploitation exist, there is resistance and struggle. The American people are outraged over continue to take to the streets and to organize. The People’s Democracy Party (PDP) of South Corea fully supports the arrested PSL members and expresses strong solidarity.

The PDP will hold the banner of the anti-imperialism high and strengthen internationalist unity with PSL. The same system responsible for the oppression and exploitation of Corea is responsible for the oppression and exploitation of Black people in the United States. If we unite against the system, we can win!


Red Ant

A key focus of the Black Lives Matter movement in Denver and Colorado is demanding that charges be laid against the police officers who killed 23 year old black man Elijah McClain. McClain was placed in a choke hold and sedated before dying in police transit.

The PSL is playing a leading role in the BLM movement in Denver. For this reason four members were arrested and jailed on false charges On September 17 in an attempt to intimidate and defeat the movement for justice for McClain. The movement is not backing down in the face of this state repression but escalating a campaign for their release and justice for McClain.

Free the Denver anti-racist organizers! Drop the charges!


Workers’ Socialist Party (India)

On September 17th, Denver Police in US wrongfully arrested 6 people, 4 of them belonging to the Party for Socialism and Liberation. We stand in solidarity with comrades arrested wrongfully while struggling against racism in the United States as well as around the world. We strongly condemn this arrest of political activists and demand that all of the six arrested be released forthwith.

Down with the racist police!
Down with the ruling elite of US!

Trotskyist Platform (Australia)

Trotskyist Platform sends our support, from here in Australia, to the anti-racist organisers who were arrested in Denver, Colorado on September 17. We understand that four of the six arrested activists are members of your group, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). We therefore also send our solidarity to you in the PSL. We are in full solidarity with the arrested activists because they are being persecuted for doing very worthy work: organising protests demanding justice for Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man murdered last year by racist police when he was walking home from a convenience store. It is outrageous that the arrested organisers have been hit with completely bogus charges, including one of “kidnapping”; and that they now face the threat of being imprisoned for years.

The arrests of the Denver anti-racists is part of the vicious repression of Black Lives Matter struggles that has been ordered by the divisive White nationalist in the White House, Donald Trump. Yet it is telling that the District Attorney (DA) Dave Young who filed charges against the activists is a Democrat. He is the very same DA who refused to lay charges against the cops who killed Elijah McClain. All this confirms that it will be bad news whether it is the Republican Trump or the Democrat Biden who wins next month’s presidential election. It is the working class masses, with doubly oppressed black workers in the lead, united with all the downtrodden that is the force that can push back against racist violence, job slashing and capitalist exploitation of workers.

Here in Australia, the racist rich people’s regime has overseen the deaths of more than 450 Aboriginal people in state custody in just the last three decades. This regime incarcerates Aboriginal people at a rate even higher than that which the U.S. rulers imprison black people. Meanwhile, just as in the U.S., the capitalist rulers here repress anti-racist struggles. Police here have used the need for social distancing during the pandemic as an excuse to crush several rallies protesting against the racist murders of Aboriginal people by police and prison guards. Australia’s authorities have attacked the demonstrations despite protest organisers’ strenuous efforts to ensure COVID-safe events and even while the regime allows crowding of people in dangerously virus-spreading, indoor commercial environments. Tellingly too, rallies that fall in behind the Australian capitalist regime’s agenda have conspicuously been allowed to take place even while Black Lives Matter actions have been attacked. The very day before police shut down a July 27 Sydney rally demanding justice for David Dungay – a 26 year-old Aboriginal man suffocated to death by prison guards in circumstances eerily similar to the murder of George Floyd – police facilitated an anti-communist rally outside the Chinese Consulate in Sydney held by the New Federal State of China, an outfit spearheaded by Trump’s fascistic former campaign adviser, Steve Bannon.

The attacks on anti-racist protest organisers in the U.S. and repression in Australia are also part of an alarming rise in McCarthyist attacks on leftists in both countries. The more that the capitalist system is unable to provide secure jobs for workers and the more that downtrodden communities resist the brutal racist oppression that is characteristic of capitalist societies, the more the U.S. and Australian rulers crack down on conscious opponents of capitalist rule. Meanwhile, with the world’s largest socialistic power – the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) – continuing to grow in strength and with its system having shown to the world its superiority over capitalism when it comes to handling the COVID-19 threat, the U.S. and Australian regimes have cranked up their Cold War drive against the PRC. This has been accompanied at home here in Australia by authoritarian persecution of both, on the one hand, Chinese migrants, international students and scholars sympathetic to the PRC and, on the other, non-Chinese people who make even the slightest comments sympathetic to the PRC and her allies. It is perhaps no coincidence that the group targeted as part of the Denver arrests, your group the PSL, happens to be one of the all too few socialist organizations in the U.S. with enough political courage to oppose the Cold War attacks on the PRC. Here, Australia’s ASIO secret police have carried out terrifying raids on the homes of Chinese journalists working in Australia; and subjected to threatening interrogations Chinese international students who organised a Sydney rally in August last year opposing the pro-colonial, anti-PRC forces in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, in June, a NSW upper house parliamentarian, Shaoquett Moselmane, was subjected to a draconian raid by Australian regime forces after he had the temerity to praise China’s response to the pandemic. As a result of the accompanying political and media witch hunt, the elected state senator was prevented from sitting in state parliament for nearly four months until ASIO had to finally admit that he was not the focus of a “foreign interference investigation”. Meanwhile, a sympathizer of the PRC’s socialistic ally, North Korea, has been imprisoned here in harsh conditions for the last nearly three years. Chan Han Choi has been charged with trying to broker deals to assist the people of North Korea to evade cruel economic sanctions but has been denied bail, as he awaits trial, largely on the basis of his avowed sympathies for the socialistic country. All this Cold War repression has created such a national security obsession that it has allowed the Australian regime to repress other dissidents and whistleblowers who have no direct connection with Cold War issues. Thus, a military lawyer David McBride is being threatened with 50 years in prison after being charged with disclosing to the media details of heinous war crimes by Australian special forces troops in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, another whistleblower along with his lawyer, Bernard Collaery, are being persecuted in the courts for revealing to the world the spying on East Timor’s government by Australia’s overseas spy agency as part of this regime’s neocolonial drive to steal impoverished East Timor’s energy resources.

Especially given the commonalities between the attacks on anti-racist organisers and PSL activists in the U.S. and racist and right-wing repression in this country, we will do what we can to promote solidarity with the Denver anti-racists within the Australian anti-racist and Left movements. We demand: Stop the attacks on anti-racist struggles in the U.S. and Australia! Drop all the charges against the Denver anti-racist organisers! Justice for Elijah McClain, David Dungay and all victims of racist, capitalist state terror! Free and drop all charges against Chan Han Choi! Down with the growing Cold War McCarthyist repression in the U.S. and Australia!

In solidarity,

Sarah Fitzenmeyer

Chairwoman
Trotskyist Platform

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