Miami Militant Labor Forum panel speaks out for constitutional rights

By Laura Anderson
July 17, 2023

MIAMI — “Defending and extending freedoms protected by the U.S. Constitution is at the center of class struggle today,” was the topic at a lively panel discussion here at the Militant Labor Forum July 1, attended by 20 people.

The speakers included Akilé Anai, director of media communications for the African People’s Socialist Party in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is one of the “unindicted co-conspirators” targeted in the July 29, 2022, FBI assaults on the APSP and Uhuru Movement headquarters and residences in St. Louis and St. Petersburg. Three members of their movement and one former member have been indicted on frame-up charges that include acting as “unregistered foreign agents.”

Also speaking was Laura Rodriguez, one of five activists known as the Tampa 5, who were attacked by police at a March 6 rally to defend “diversity” in higher education on the University of South Florida campus. They were arrested and charged with felony “battery” against the police, and face up to 10 years in prison. Rachele Fruit, of the Socialist Workers Party in Miami, chaired the forum.

Commenting on the significant support both cases are getting, Anai said, “The government assumes our ideas are not popular, so they attack us. It’s the same for the Tampa 5. But they have miscalculated this.” Rodriguez reported that a resolution to drop the charges against the Tampa 5 has been supported by the North Florida Central Labor Council.

Fruit explained that “the stakes in demanding the charges be dropped are substantial in defending constitutional freedoms, whether against Uhuru and the African People’s Socialist Party, the Tampa 5 or Donald Trump. Working people need these freedoms to resist the worsening conditions we face.”

Anai announced that a coalition is being formed to organize a march on Washington in November.