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anti-racism | imperialism & war

Solidarity with the campaign to free Leonard Peltier

His cause is truly our cause, and our cause his. MARCH TODAY IN TACOMA!
For more than 13 years the Tacoma Leonard Peltier Support Group has been working to keep the issue of freeing Leonard alive among the masses of ordinary people. The annual marches are an obvious highlight of this work, but the leafleting of anti-war events, work on the Internet, and more, are also important. We hail this dedicated work that the LPSG does, and hope with all our hearts that this rivulet of determined struggle will combine with many others into a mighty river that results in Leonard being freed from prison.

One of these rivulets is the struggle of Native Americans themselves against racial discrimination, in defense of on and off-reservation treaty rights, for tribal recognition and tribal sovereignty... or against thefts like the BIA through many administrations "loosing" $10 billion in trust funds that was rightfully owed to the poorest people in North America. The necessity of these struggles hasn't died out since the 1970s. For the majority of Native People the situation is becoming even worse than before. But here too the Annual NW Leonard Peltier March plays a good role by bringing people together to discuss their situations and how to develop their current struggles, as well as to look into and draw lessons from the past. Perhaps some of these lessons might include the following:

---The movement that reached a high point in the mid-70s was the product of many earlier struggles: Frank's Landing and the struggle for fishing rights; the occupation of Alcatraz Island and Seattle's Fort Lawton; the struggles of urban Indians in Chicago, Minneapolis, and in prisons; the Trail of Broken Treaties and occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington; the struggle on Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee II; and too many other struggles to count---all of which were just and necessary in their own right, but which also contributed to eventually building a much greater future movement.

---The struggle of Native Americans in the 60s and 70s did not occur in isolation. The fierce struggle of the African American people, the Vietnamese national liberation war, the battles of the anti-war movement in the streets of the U.S., and many other movements all fueled and inspired each other to fight harder. The struggle of Native Americans against their double oppression in fact won very wide support among the working and poor people of the continent. The handful of whites, African Americans, Chicanos, and others who actively participated in the struggles at Frank's Landing, or on the banks of the Puyallup in Tacoma, or at Wounded Knee, in fact represented a much wider support in society. And we think the struggles of Native Americans today continue to maintain this support precisely because these battles were fought.

---The crucial question that all the mass movements of the 60s and 70s were not built by big-shots, they were built by the ordinary people, the "nobodies" who took matters into their own hands. This was especially true Native Americans: invisible nobodies that the establishment thought it could walk on forever. And if a reservation had timber, minerals, or other resources, then the people were supposed to be happy with a few beads tossed their way, if even that.

Of course, just as today, vast majority of Native Americans shared common interests with the workers and poor people of this continent, and were active in all of their struggles. This was particularly so with the anti-war movement in the U.S. How could they not be active in it when their young sons were not only being sent to kill or be killed in the imperialist war of aggression in Vietnam like the sons of the working class in general, but were also being sent at an extremely disproportionate rate?

This brings us to today, and another very important rivulet of struggle that can contribute to the freeing of Leonard Peltier: the movement against the bloody war for oil and empire being waged in Iraq.

Building this movement is the focus of the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, and we're really "nobodies" in it. In fact the movement as a whole is dominated by coalitions between liberal big-shots who oppose Bush's plans for continued domination of Iraq and the oil-rich Gulf states with alterative plans for continued military domination (i.e., with U.N. troops, "over-the-horizon presence", or other schemes), and opportunists oriented toward seeking solutions from the established order rather than arousing the working class and other oppressed masses to fight in their class interests against those of the rich.

The LPSG's call for the 13th Annual NW march raises this issue when it says the following:

"Leonard suffers under the same interests that hung Chief Leschi, the same interests that massacred the Lakota at Wounded Knee, the same interests that are behind many of the wars around the world, the same interest behind the WTO, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the same interests that strips our schools of basic funds, that strip you of your unemployment benefits and overtime pay, and the same interests that we all find ourselves struggling against in our common pursuit of peace and well-being... ."

Historically, we think these interests have always been capitalist interests, and that today they're the imperial interests of monopoly-capitalism. The brutal Iraqi occupation is not just because of Bush, just as the mass slaughter in Vietnam and all of Southeast Asia, the genocidal Iraqi sanctions under Clinton, etc., didn't take place just because of the Democrats. The never-ending wars, military occupations, and dirty and secret wars conducted by the U.S. government from one generation to the next are the products of a system (monopoly capitalism) whose internal economic laws demand accumulation and expansion. (Native Americans have been resisting the effects of this human devouring and earth destroying system for 500 years!) These laws drive the capitalist ruling class to fight for imperialist domination everywhere. The Republicans and Democrats, liberal or conservative, are but political tools of this system, with the FBI being its political police force.

Thus, in developing the anti-war movement we think that targeting the imperialist system and its class basis in capitalist exploitation is decisive work if this present slow and wandering rivulet of struggle is to flow more rapidly. By targeting imperialism, a system built up on the exploitation and oppression of the working people of all nationalities, we will draw more people into motion and increase militancy: "the imperialist system has got to go!" And, obviously, in order to do this we must spend our time organizing among the workers, oppressed nationalities and youth.

So today, we call on all who read this leaflet to consider ways that they can further contribute to building the anti-war movement along these lines; and finding ways to combine our efforts can only make the work more effective. Furthermore, we're confident that successes in pushing forward the anti-war movement will not only benefit workers and youth of all nationalities, but that it will assist the struggle to free political prisoner, Native American activist, and anti-war activist* Leonard Peltier. His cause is truly our cause, and our cause his. "Justice for Leonard and the end to political repression by the FBI will only come from the organized spirit of solidarity of all people struggling in their true interests." ---LPSG.

Free Leonard!

*For example, in 2003 Leonard sent messages to anti-war demonstrations saying that "Iraqi oil is the key. It means everything in this so-called 'War on Terror'... . These are our brothers and sisters, Aunties and Uncles, we go to bomb. I encourage you all to continue together, united. Speak with one voice. Say NO to war!"

Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee, February 3, 2006
Educate Yourselves 04.Feb.2006 15:59

Marleen

Thank you for keeping Leonard's cause up-front & in the news.

SHAME on us (including me) for not doing so more OFTEN!

Leonard Peltier is an imprisoned Native American considered by Amnesty International, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, National Congress of American Indians, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Rev. Jesse Jackson, amongst many others, to be a political prisoner who should be immediately released.

Those who don't know of him, take a moment to read this short fact page.
Those who know of his cause, read it anyway & refresh your memories:

 http://www.freepeltier.org/quick_facts_peltier.htm

Remember, any of us could be locked away by the feds as a political prisoner, too.