By Matthew Rothschild on December 06, 2010

Imagine 25 FBI agents coming to your door at 7:00 in the morning and staying for ten hours and then leaving with 30 boxes of your belongings.

Well, Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner don’t have to imagine it.

Because, on Sept. 24, the FBI descended on their home.

The FBI agents at their home even went through their son’s T-shirt drawer and separated “those that were controversial from those that weren’t.”

At one point, the agent in charge was called in to evaluate one of the shirts because it said “Hell Boy” on it, Weiner recalls.

And they took “a gift our son had just given us from a trip to China he was on, which was paid for by the State Department,” she adds.

Iosbaker and Weiner were among 14 solidarity activists and socialists whose places the FBI raided in an astonishing assault on our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

The pretext was that activists were “providing material support” or “attempting to provide material support” or “conspiring to provide material support” to groups that are listed by the State Department as terrorists.

But the ones the FBI seemed concerned about had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. No, they had to do with groups in Colombia and Palestine, two places that Iosbaker and Weiner have never been.

Weiner says they haven’t been providing material support, either, unless “providing falafel” counts as that.

Now the FBI is trying to force three of the 14 activists to testify at a grand jury, accept immunity, or face jail, even though they’ve already taken the Fifth.

And the FBI appears to be expanding its dragnet.

“The FBI served subpoenas to at least two [more] Chicago-area women who visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank this summer,” Chip Mitchell of WBEZ reported on Friday.

These coercive tactics are straight out of the 1950s. They don’t belong in America, circa 2010.

To find out more about this FBI repression, go to stopfbi.net.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his other "McCarthyism Watch" pieces by clicking here.

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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