Welfare Rights Committee
Deb Konechne of the Welfare Rights Committee interviewed four of her fellow committee activists Barb Bordner, Laura Russell, Carol Roubik, Linden Gawboy, for Freedom Road Socialist Organization's Forward Motion December 1993.
Committee to Stop FBI Repression delegation to Congress
In mid November 2010, a delegation from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression ( returned home from several days of bringing the "issue of the FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas of people doing international solidarity work and anti-war organizing to the U.S. Capitol". Three supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!, Deb Konechne of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Anh Pham, who is facing a reactivation of her subpoena and Joe Iosbaker, whose home was raided, spent two days meeting with U.S. Representatives on the issue. The delegation asked each Congressperson to sponsor a “Dear Colleague” letter condemning the raids and grand jury subpoenas. In the two days, the delegation met with either the Congressional Representative’s staff or the Representative themselves fro[[m the following 16 offices: Tammy Baldwin (WI), John Conyers (MI), Danny Davis (IL), Keith Ellison (MN), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Luis Gutierrez (IL), Mike Honda (CA), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Barbara Lee (CA), Jim McDermott (WA), Jim McGovern (MA), Bobby Rush (IL), Linda Sanchez (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Maxine Waters (CA). The "meetings were positive, with all the offices expressing genuine concern about the situation. In some cases, because of the outpouring of calls from around the country, the U.S. Representatives were aware that the delegation was in Washington D.C. and the offices made time on their schedules to meet with the delegation. This reinforces the continuing importance of the solidarity work taking place around the country."
Rep. Conyers (MI), chair of the Judiciary Committee, directed the Counsel of the Judiciary Committee to meet with the delegation. Also, Rep. Ellison (MN) and his Congressional staff met directly with the delegation for a significant amount of time. rep. Ellison sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, expressing concern over the situation and is continuing to work on options to support his constituents affected. The delegation also received face-to-face meetings with Rep Gutierrez and Rep Davis from Chicago. Rep. Grijalva’s (AZ) office set up a meeting between the delegation and the Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the Congress of which rep. Grijalva is the chair. In addition, the office of Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Maxine Waters (CA) gave the delegation significant time and attention.
“It was clear that progressive Representatives of the Congress are very concerned about the FBI investigation. Overall, they were very thankful for our visit and for the information and analysis given to them The level of awareness about the raids and grand jury was varied, from little to full awareness, but the delegation certainly changed that. After the two days, our presence and purpose definitely created a stir in the halls of Congress. “The fact that we were able to interact with 16 legislative aides or Congress people themselves, during an extremely busy time of restructuring leadership in the Congress, exemplifies the attention this matter is receiving”, stated Joe Iosbaker.
Coalition to March on the RNC
As the head of the Saint Paul City Council banged her gavel, Deb Konechne, of the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War and the Welfare Rights Committee, stood up and demanded that council members listen to statements on why permits should be granted now for a massive anti-war march at the Republican National Convention. When the Council refused to hear the statements, protesters chanted, “We need the permits,” and marched out of the meeting.
In April, groups involved in the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War resubmitted their permit applications for demonstrating in Saint Paul on Sept. 1, 2008. The city of Saint Paul has not responded to their requests to receive a permit and instead have formed a ‘free speech’ working group. This working group is discussing what rights protesters will have to demonstrate, but is not considering or listening to what the community needs to protest against the Republican agenda.
Marie Braun, of the Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq, stated, “Next September the Republican Party will be here to chose the candidate who will best keep this country on a path of occupation and war. Similarly, on Sept. 1, 2008 tens of thousands of people from Minnesota, from the Midwest, and from around the country will gather in Saint Paul to march on the RNC and to demand and end the war on Iraq.”
A protest organizer, Meredith Aby of the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War notes, “The RNC march has been endorsed by peace and justice groups around the country. People from around the country are planning to come here to demonstrate against the war and speak out against the Republican agenda. Many of those coming are asking about the permits.”
This effort is backed by local organizations that have organized the major Twin Cities anti-war protests. In addition, the organizations that have organized the large anti-war and immigrant rights demonstrations in Washington D.C., New York and on the West Coast have also signed on. These organizations include; CODEPINK, International Action Center, Latinos Against War (Los Angeles), the March 25 Coalition - Los Angeles, May 1 Movement for Worker and Immigrant Rights, Troops Out Now Coalition, United for Peace and Justice and many chapters of Students for a Democratic Society.
Local signers include the Anti-War Committee, AFSCME Local 3800, American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council, Iraq Peace Action Coalition, Low Income People Organizing for Power, Military Families Speak Out, MN Immigrants Rights Action Coalition, Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq, Welfare Rights Committee and Women Against Military Madness and many others.
Protest organizer Mick Kelly of the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War says, “We are taking a message to the Saint Paul City Council. We want the permits to march on the RNC now. City government needs to stop fooling around with its so-called free speech committee and grant the permits so we can exercise that freedom and speak out against the war at the RNC.”