By Larry Baskett
Deadline: ASAP, since they’re threatening to send stormtroopers to Oakland —
You’ve no doubt seen that the Repressor-in-Chief and his henchmen, under disturbing and outrageous excuses like guarding Confederate statues, are deploying unmarked agents to tear-gas and abduct Black Lives Matter protesters. No exaggeration, these are actual secret police flouting much of the Bill of Rights with impunity. All of us – and all our local public officials – need to say hell no. NOW.
What you can do:
Ask your public officials to stand up against the use of federal troops to quell protests. Ask them to publicly object and to use all available authority to stop troops from being sent, and to keep them from interfering in local law enforcement if they are present.
1. Ask your Member of Congress to defund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – in particular Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and other divisions deploying federal officers and contractors to cities. The funding fight may be about an appropriations bill, or about a “continuing resolution” that maintains current funding levels. Funding isn’t just a wonky economics exercise: when funding bills/appropriations ban the use of funds for certain purposes, they prevent government activities. Congress can also use appropriations to enforce oversight: for example, the House can make fiscal year 2021 appropriations contingent on hearings with DHS officials testifying under oath about DHS personnel tear-gassing and abducting protesters in Portland, Seattle, and New York.
Fighting DHS, CBP and ICE appropriations may mean facing a Republican threat of government shutdown this fall – let your Member of Congress know that this issue is worth going to the mat for.
What to say:
My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I urge Representative ____ to vote to defund the Department of Homeland Security, especially Customs and Border Protection and other divisions sending federal officers and contractors to cities. Please stand strong on this even if it means fighting a Republican government shutdown threat.
- Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: email; district (510) 620-1000, DC (202) 225-2095
- Rep. Barbara Lee: email; district (510) 763-0370, DC (202) 225-2661
- Rep. Eric Swalwell: email; district (510) 370-3322, DC (202) 225-5065
2. Ask Governor Newsom and Attorney General Becerra to prepare state police to arrest and criminally charge any federal agent who commits illegal acts. They have power to enforce our laws against anyone breaking them, including federal agents.
What to say:
My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I urge _________ to prepare state police to arrest any federal agents who come to our cities and commit illegal acts against Black Lives Matter protesters, such as improper arrests or other violations of constitutional rights. Please protect the people of California and our rights in a free country.
- Governor Gavin Newsom: email; (916) 445-2841
- Attorney General Xavier Becerra: email; (916) 445-9555, (916) 210-6276, (800) 952-5225
3. Ask your District Attorney to pledge to charge federal agents who commit illegal acts, as Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner has done.
What to say:
My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I urge District Attorney _______ to publicly pledge to charge federal agents who come to our cities and commit illegal acts against Black Lives Matter protesters, whether it’s improper arrests or other violations of our constitutional rights. Please follow Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner’s excellent example and protect our rights.
- Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley: email; (510) 272-6222
- Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton: email; (925) 957-2200, Scott Alonso (925) 957-8638
4. Ask your mayor and city council members to publicly oppose secret federal agents. The mayors of five major US cities have asked Congress to make it illegal for the federal government to send troops to cities that don’t want them, saying “This administration’s egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen.” Neither Oakland nor any other Bay Area city signed the letter, or has taken such action. Why not? Tell your Mayor and City or Town Council you want them to make this statement publicly and repeatedly. Find where you live in the lists below and click the link to find contact information for your local officials.
- Cities in CA-11: Antioch, Clayton, Concord, Danville, El Cerrito, Lafayette, Martinez, Moraga, Orinda, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, San Pablo, Walnut Creek
- Cities in CA-13: Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont, San Leandro
- Cities in CA-15: Castro Valley, Danville, Dublin, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Sunol, Union City
What to say:
My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I urge _________ to make a strong public statement against the Trump administration sending federal agents here against Black Lives Matter protesters. Please join the mayors of cities like Portland, Seattle, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Washington DC, and Philadelphia and make it clear it should be illegal to send in federal troops over the objections of local authorities.
You can also get a personalized list of your public officials, with contact information, at this Common Cause link – save the link and print out the list for future use.
To recap: The Black Lives Matter protests are about systemic racism exercised with impunity through police violence. We say “Black Lives Matter” because, to far too many in law enforcement and far too many Americans, today they don’t. In response Trump, Barr, and the rest of the administration are deploying secret federal police and violating people’s constitutional rights. We need our public officials to stand up for us and against the administration’s attempt at tyranny and terror.
Larry Baskett is a mechanical engineer who spent a year as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the California State Senate.
Ann Daniels and others also contributed to this article.