Four years ago, Barack Obama ran for president on the promise of closing the
In court hearings the Obama administration refused to define terms such as “associated forces” and “substantially support” or say whether or not the plaintiffs could be imprisoned without trial for the journalistic and political activity they already practice. The government has refused to say whether people are already detained under this law, and has claimed that it would have the right to do so under previous laws anyhow.
In May, federal Judge Katherine Forrest issued an order temporarily blocking the government from using this provision. On Sept. 12 she ruled the indefinite detention provision unconstitutional, with an order to permanently bar its use. Forrest found that terms like “associated forces” and “substantial support” are so vague as to make it possible to detain people for the most basic exercise of free speech and political activity.
The Obama administration responded without delay, filing in rapid succession an appeal to overturn Forrest’s ruling and an emergency stay (to keep her ruling from going into effect during the appeals process). The stay was granted, and the appeal will go to the Second Circuit Court. If Forrest’s ruling is upheld there, the case will have nowhere left to go but the Supreme Court.
The determination with which Obama has defended this law now makes it clear that he favored it all along. The grand legislative good cop/bad cop routine has been exposed in court by a few activists.
Of course, turning back the 800-year-old right to a trial is only one part of Obama’s drive to strengthen the state’s repressive powers. Obama has claimed—and exercised—the right to assassinate
Yet this wave of repression is by no means invincible. A national defense campaign prevented Chicano and antiwar activist Carlos Montes from serving a lengthy sentence on trumped up charges. Twenty-two other activists targeted with FBI intimidation have refused to testify at grand juries after two years of subpoenas, and have yet to be charged with contempt. The movement against the NDAA has won enough traction to win a rare (though fleeting) court victory and expose the real objectives of the Obama administration.
In the face of this offensive in general and in each particular case, we have a choice. We can remain silent, and embolden the reaction. Or we can use each instance of repression to educate, find allies, and inspire thousands and millions with confidence and determination through independent mass action in defense of our basic rights.
Capitalists may break their own laws when expedient, but their rule depends upon a widespread belief in their system’s morality and a fear of their power. When masses of working and oppressed people lose both of these through education, experience, and struggle, the continued existence of capitalism is put into question.
> Photo: May Day 2012 protest in
. By Tony Savino / Socialist Action New York City
> The article above was written by Daniel Adam for Socialist Action newspaper.