Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Poster of the Week

CSPG’s Poster of the Week celebrates a Victory Against Repression: 
 All Felony Charges against Carlos Montes Dropped 

Carlos Montes is a nationally respected leader in the Chicano, immigrant rights, and antiwar movements. He was a co-founder of the Brown Berets, a Chicano working class youth organization in the late 1960s and 1970s. The Brown Berets were inspired by and often compared to the Black Panther Party. Montes was one of the leaders of the Chicano Blowouts, a series of 1968 walkouts of East Los Angeles high schools to protest racism and inequality in Los Angeles-area high schools. He is portrayed by Fidel Gomez in the 2006 HBO movie Walkout.

With the 2003 Bush administration war and occupation of Iraq, Montes helped form and lead L.A. Latinos Against War. Montes helped organize protests against the September 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN.

In December 2008, Montes was a founding member of the Southern California Immigration Coalition, to fight against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and police repression; and organize the yearly May 1 marches and rallies to demand full legalization. He is also currently active in the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, and has been organizing against unnecessary FBI raids which tend to focus on dismantling and preventing activist group activity through intimidation.

On May 17, 2011 Montes was arrested by the combined forces of the LA County Sheriff’s Swat Team and the FBI. With automatic assault rifles drawn, they crashed his door down at 5:00 a.m., almost killing him. His home was ransacked and his computer, cell phones, and hundreds of documents such as photographs, diskettes, and mementos of his current political activity were removed by FBI. He was charged with 6 serious felonies with a possible jail time of up to 18 years.

With local and national support, via solidarity protests, call-in campaigns to President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Holder, local rallies and protests, and an offensive legal strategy , two felonies were dropped - this was a first partial victory. However the District Attorney still stated that they wanted Montes to do at least 5 years in state prison for the 4 felony charges remaining.

The local and national Committees Against FBI Repression launched a petition drive and a “Call the D.A.” campaign, with phone banking and a robo call by Montes to over 4 000 supporters, urging folks to call District Attorney Steve Cooley. The D.A.’s office was flooded with calls and letters.

Montes’ attorney made several motions to get charges dropped on various grounds, but the Los Angeles Superior Court judge rejected them. Preparations were made for a trial, knowing well the state judicial system is not ‘fair and impartial.’ Montes and his attorney Jorge Gonzalez got widespread support and media coverage including in the Democracy Now TV show, La Opinion and the Guardian UK newspaper.

The local D.A. on the case then sought for a resolution and proposed to drop three additional felonies, if Montes pled out to one count of perjury. This proposal included no jail time, three years of probation and community service. Under advice from supporters, friends and his attorney Montes moved forward with this proposal.

This is a victory for Carlos Montes and the movement against police political repression. A trial had the danger of him being convicted of four felonies with jail time and the additional old felony - a total of 5 felonies. At this point Montes is out of jail, will continue to organize against repression, for public education, against U.S.-led wars and for immigrant rights. He is already planning to attend the protest at the Republican National Convention on August 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

www.stopfbi.net  (Los Angeles Committee to Stop FBI Repression) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Montes

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