Chicago, IL – On August 9, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at UIC and Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression joined forces with a powerful coalition to demand justice for the Tampa 5, at a rally in the Federal Plaza.
This dynamic coalition – including the United States Palestinian Community Network, Anakbayan Chicago, Mientras Haya Amor Hay Esperanza (As Long As There’s Love There’s Hope), Freedom Road Socialist Organization, LVLHS Fight Back!, and members of the Chicago Teachers Union – embodied the rallying cry of “The people united will never be defeated!” with speeches and messages of solidarity from different strings of the people’s movement.
Erin Boyle, an organizer with SDS at UIC, said that “Protesting, organizing and dissenting are not crimes. This is how we engage our communities and how we move society forward.”
Next up were two speakers from the Palestinian freedom movement and the Filipino national democratic movement reminding us that the struggle for liberation will inevitably face repression.
“Our movement is winning!” declared Husam Marajda from the US Palestinian Community Network. “This is why governments and government bodies like DeSantis are attacking us and our movements – if they didn’t see how much we were winning, they wouldn’t!”
“If this is done to them, what do we expect from those people with power to do to us immigrants?” asked Irma Morales from Mientras Haya Amor Hay Esperanza. “These brave young people were arrested just for expressing their disagreement with the discriminatory laws of Governor DeSantis. As an activist, I use my right to free expression as my main tool, and with the current situation of these five students from Tampa arrested, I feel that those people responsible for this injustice are sending out the message that the right to free expression is a selective right only for a few.”
“Solidarity is not a crime!” chanted Joe Iosbaker on behalf of the FRSO. Iosbaker recalled the lessons learned throughout his time as one of the Antiwar 23. On September 24, 2010, more than 70 FBI agents took part in a series of coordinated raids that were aimed at activists of the anti-war and international solidarity movements, and also members of FRSO.
Iosbaker said, “The main principle is to unite everyone who can be united in opposition to that repression. That includes people you have never worked with before. That includes people who do not agree with the full political program. They don’t have to be a revolutionary to stand next to revolutionaries and defend their rights to protest!”
Former political prisoner Frank Chapman stated, “You can’t change society if you ain’t fighting to overturn the institutions. We can’t allow the Tampa 5 to go to trial and be convicted. That would set a precedent. If they come for them tonight they’ll be coming for us in the morning.” Chapman is also the executive director of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, an organization born out of the 1970s global movement to Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners.
The rally came to an end with a chant by the CAARPR co-chair, FRSO member, and CTU rank-and-filer, Kobi Guillory.
The Tampa 5 will be going on a national speaking tour later this year leading up to their next pretrial hearing in December. You can support the Tampa 5 by signing the petition at peoplespetitions.org/tampa5.