Below is a statement issued Aug. 15 by Róger Calero, Socialist Workers Party candidate for New York City Council District 48.
Working people and all defenders of constitutional protections of free speech and assembly should oppose the campaign by the New York Times, now backed by Sen. Marco Rubio, for investigations and prosecution as “unregistered” foreign agents — in this case, for the government of China — of members or supporters of Codepink, People’s Forum and other organizations. We oppose any attempts to take away the tax exempt status of groups cited by the Times.
Since its enactment in 1938, as the U.S. rulers prepared to plunge working people into the second world imperialist slaughter, the Foreign Agents Registration Act has been used repeatedly to persecute opponents of U.S. government policy, violate their democratic rights, and dangle a sword over the heads of many others.
In recent decades we’ve seen this with the Cuban Five, Cuban revolutionaries arrested in Florida in 1998 and handed down sentences from 15 years to life. Among other frame-up charges, they were found guilty of acting and “conspiring” to act as “unregistered” agents of the Cuban government. In fact, they were gathering information on counterrevolutionary groups organizing and carrying out terrorist attacks on Cuba from U.S. soil.
This year the U.S. government issued frame-up indictments of four leaders, members and former members of the African People’s Socialist Party as “unregistered” agents of the Russian Federation. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Several aides to former President Donald Trump have faced trials on similar charges.
Whatever your opinion of the political views of those targeted by the Times, the entire modern class struggle shows that the capitalist rulers use such charges to go after working-class militants and those in the revolutionary vanguard of workers’ struggles. It’s a law of history. Defending the right to free speech and association for all, no matter their views, is absolutely necessary to be able to defend and advance the interests of workers and farmers.
The Socialist Workers Party uncompromisingly defends and fights for the right of free speech and assembly.
U.S. government hands off Codepink, People’s Forum and all the individuals and organizations targeted by the owners and editors of the New York Times!