Workers Vanguard No. 944

9 October 2009


Cops Rampage at G20 Protests

Drop All Charges Against Pittsburgh Protesters!

(Young Spartacus pages)

Thousands of police and National Guard members were mobilized against protesters outside the September 24-25 G20 summit, turning Pittsburgh into an armed camp for the better part of a week. Some 200 people were arrested and the reprisals continue. Elliot Madison faces charges for tweeting demonstrators instructions on how to avoid police. On October 1, FBI “anti-terrorism” agents spent 16 hours raiding his Queens, New York home. While helicopters circled overhead, they seized anarchist literature and other items in an attempt to frame him up as a terrorist. Drop the charges against Elliot Madison and all the G20 protesters now!

When our Workers Vanguard sales team arrived in Pittsburgh on Thursday, September 24, gangs of heavily armed and armored cops and troops roamed the center of the city. Protesters organized by the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project tried to march without a permit and were brutally attacked by cops. Over a hundred students and bystanders, including members of the press, were arrested at that protest and a similar one on Friday.

The Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project vainly sought to pressure the capitalist state to serve the interests of the people, not corporations. Although their tactics were more militant, fundamentally they shared the same liberal framework as the organizers of Friday’s permitted “Peoples’ March to the G-20.” That event, also menaced by phalanxes of cops, was organized as a plea to the imperialists at the G20 summit for “Money for human needs, not for wars and occupations—Environmental justice for the earth and its inhabitant—Jobs and health care for all.” Falling in step behind the imperialists’ anti-China crusade, organizers invited a large contingent of anti-communists carrying flags of the U.S. and of the CIA-backed Tibetan exiles to march at the front.

We were there not to pressure the capitalist state but to seek out those protesters open to our revolutionary communist program based on the social power of the working class. Against the sabre rattling against Iran’s nuclear facilities by Obama and the French and British imperialists, we raised a placard: “Iran Needs Nuclear Weapons to Defend Itself—Imperialist Hands Off Iran!” Below we reprint a protest letter to Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl that we distributed in Pittsburgh, issued on September 24 by the Partisan Defense Committee, a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization associated with the Spartacist League.

* * *

The Partisan Defense Committee condemns the brutal repression against anti-G20 demonstrators. We demand the immediate release and the dropping of all charges against the protesters.

Local armored police backed up by 4,000 federal and state agents have fired pepper gas canisters, pellet-filled beanbags and rubber bullets at assembled demonstrators. Protesters attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights to demonstrate were told, “You must leave the immediate vicinity regardless of your purpose.” Dozens have been arrested on trumped-up charges. So grotesque has been this assault on civil liberties that demonstrators hanging a banner on a bridge that merely read “Danger—climate destruction ahead. Reduce CO2 emissions now,” now face outrageous charges of “defiant trespass, disorderly conduct, obstruction of highways or other public passages, conspiracy and possession of instruments of crime.”

For those seeking to protest the ravages of poverty made worse by the world economic crisis, you have made your city into a police state. We again demand the release of all leftist protesters and the dropping of all charges against them.