BlackCommentator.com Cover Story:
The TRUTH About The FBI Case Against Boston's Chuck
By Quentin Davis, Greg King and Duncan McFarland of the
Committees of Correspondence, Boston Chapter
March 10, 2011
Note: BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board
Member Chuck Turner is due to report to federal
prison on March 25.
As a preface to this commentary here is a statement
about Chuck Turner by BlackCommentator.com Editorial
Board Member Bill Fletcher, Jr.:
I have known Chuck Turner for over thirty years and
knew of him for several years prior to that. The
case that was brought against him, and for which he
was convicted, makes absolutely no sense.
I do not know what actually transpired in his
office. What i do know is that there are few
people that i have met in life who have the
integrity and dedication to the people as has Chuck
I do not know whether he did or did not do anything
that broke the law. The entire fact-pattern looks
like entrapment. When i last saw Chuck, about a
year ago, it seemed as if this case was so flimsy
that it would go away. Why it has been pursued
defies explanation. This is not someone against
whom allegations have been made over the years
regarding corruption. Yes, Chuck has gotten on the
wrong side of the establishment but always for
doing the right thing, such as standing up for the
regular person against the powers at be.
When i read the statement by the individuals from
the Boston chapter of the Committees of
Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
(published below in this issue of BC), the reality
of Chuck's situation hit me like a fist thrust into
your mid-sections. The prospect of Chuck going to
jail is ITSELF the crime.
We need Chuck in the streets, not behind walls. We
also need a very full explanation from the
government as to why someone with Chuck's history
would be targeted. Whether he made a mistake or
not, one thing is clear to all who have known Chuck
Turner over the years: he is selfless to a fault.
Chuck Turner must be freed!
We are justifiably concerned about the recent FBI
raids in Minneapolis and Chicago. But two years
before this, the FBI mounted an attack on a
well- known and respected leader of Boston's
black community, City Councilor Chuck Turner.
Jan. 25 was a sad day in Boston when a Federal
udge sentenced councilor Turner to three years in
a federal prison for conviction on a charge of
accepting a $1000 bribe from an FBI accomplice,
who himself was paid $30,000 to offer the bribe.
Turner claimed his innocence from beginning to
end. This outrageous abuse of the justice system
is typical of the backlash against black elected
officials in the Obama era.
Starting in 2007, the FBI sought to discredit and
ultimately convict two Black elected officials who were
especially effective representing the interests of the
Black community and other poor people in the city of
Boston. Diane Wilkerson, State Senator for 15 years,
succumbed to a bribery scam perpetrated by one Ron
Wilburn on behalf of the FBI. Then Wilburn was sent
to "take down" Chuck Turner as well. Wilburn
testified he was paid $30,000 by the FBI to do this.
The case against Chuck was so flimsy (a bribe of $1000
documented only by a grainy photograph of a handshake)
that no one thought he would be convicted. In 2009,
Wilburn told the Boston Globe he would not testify
against Chuck because the FBI told him they were using
him to "take down" more than 20 white politicians in
the same operation -- yet none of them were arrested.
Wilburn testified at the trial only because the
authorities threatened HIM with jail time if he
refused. Yet Chuck was convicted by a mostly white
jury from outside of Boston.
Chuck Turner has been a leading figure in Boston's
Black and progressive community, known for 40 years for
his radical ideas, solidarity with those in need and
his own modest lifestyle. When he first ran for
office in 1999, Chuck opened an office in the heart of
his district, which is overwhelmingly Black and Latino,
with a promise to keep that office open. In recent
years, Chuck has done this largely from his own salary
-- yet he recently voted AGAINST a salary increase the
Council was awarding itself. This does not tally with a
person who would sell his soul for $1000. The FBI case
consisted of the testimony of a paid informant who
became a reluctant witness. The prosecution case is
illegitimate to the point of absurdity and is nothing
but an FBI attack and harassment of the left
/progressive movement in Boston. Chuck's opinion was:
"I am an organizer. That's who I am. If they send me
to jail, I'll organize in jail."
Chuck remarked, "To me, the attack of US Prosecutor
Sullivan on Senator Wilkerson and me is an example of
the kind of prosecutorial terrorism that goes on within
the framework of the American judicial system day in
and day out. Our responsibility to future generations
is how do we begin to cleanse our justice system of its
institutional racism, classism, etc. We owe it not
only to ourselves but also to generations yet unborn."
Thus Chuck sees a pattern of FBI repression which
includes black leaders, antiwar and solidarity
organizers, and anybody deemed a threat to the system
Now that Councilor Turner has been sentenced to three
years in prison, attention should be paid to supporting
progressive measures before the Council whenever they
arise. It's up to the residents of District 7 to make
sure the candidate who succeeds Chuck Turner carries on
the people's fights as well as he did. That, and we
should be prepared to join Chuck in whatever new fights
BlackCommentator.com Guest Commentators Quentin Davis,
Greg King and Duncan McFarland are members of the
Boston Chapter Committees of Correspondence. Click here
to contact Quentin Davis, Greg King and Duncan
To contact Chuck Turner, click here.
Democracy Without Economic Rights Is a Tyranny of the
Rich By Chuck Turner, BlackCommentator.com Editorial
Board BlackCommentator.com March 10, 2011
I have been waiting for some analyst, blogger, or
columnist, etc. to draw the parallels between the
millions of people demonstrating throughout the Middle
East and the hundreds of thousands of people,
demonstrating in the State House and streets of
Madison, Wisconsin. However, I have neither seen nor
heard such analysis.
To me the parallels are obvious. While the focus of the
Middle Eastern demonstrations has been the removal of
dictators, the underlying theme resonating through the
demonstrations has been the desire for the development
of an economy that focuses on the needs of all. They
understand that a political democracy without economic
rights for its citizens is a tyranny of the rich.
In Madison, while the focus is on protecting collective
bargaining and the existence of public employee unions,
the underlying theme drawing the demonstrators together
is the need to protect the miniscule economic rights
gained through over a hundred years of worker struggles
as represented by collective bargaining and at least a
modicum of laws protecting the rights of workers to
Success in Cairo has created the opportunity to build
not only the framework of a political democracy but
also an economic democracy. Such a democracy would not
only give citizens the right to vote but also guarantee
equity in the resources of the country, state, and
municipal jurisdiction and the protection of the
workers' right. Such worker rights would focus on both
a voice in their working conditions and a process to
determine both an equitable salary as well as a fair
share of the profits of the business. Workers without
such rights are wage slaves.
What gains in economic rights will result from beating
back the attack in Madison? Unfortunately, the answer
is not much. That is, while it is important to protect
the little that workers have, in the absence of any
constitutionally based framework of economic rights in
this country, any gain of economic rights by citizens
is in constant danger of being wiped out by future
political expediency. What took over a half century for
public employees to gain in Wisconsin is in danger of
being wiped out in the first three months of a new
I remember reading an interview in Time magazine in
1957 where the new leader of Egypt, Colonel Gamal Abdul
Nassar was asked why the army did not use its power
since overthrowing the King to institute political
democracy. His response was that political democracy
was a farce in a country where the vast majority of the
people were under the control of the landowners.
After ten years and eleven months as a Boston City
Councilor, my analysis is that political democracy in
this country without guaranteed economic rights for its
citizens makes our democracy a cruel hoax perpetrated
to keep our citizens in a state of psychological
turmoil and powerlessness.
The world is watching as the rich of this country use
the resources of this country to plunder the resources
of those sectors of the world and population of this
country that can not protect themselves from the
international oligarchy centered in this country and
A quick glance at the federal budget will reveal the
mockery of democracy exhibited by our law makers when
the budget includes approximately 60-70 billion for
education while allocating over 700 billion for
defense, without including the costs of the war and the
Homeland Security Department. Who is that money
defending? Obviously, the purpose of this investment is
to defend the rights of the rich of this country to
pillage and plunder the world including this country.
At 70, however, I have learned that to moan and
complain about a problem without develop a plan to
change the situation, at most, brings an upset stomach.
So our question is how to build a foundation of
economic rights in this country that can end the
economic oppression of the people of this country by
the present oligarchic political democracy.
In my next articles, I will explore:
1) The roots of the problem;
2) The attempt in Boston over the last fifty years
to lay a foundation for economic rights.
3) A potential action agenda for Boston that could
become a template for the struggle for economic rights
in this country.
A Luta Continua-The Struggle Continues!
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board Member Chuck
Turner - Served as Boston City Council member for ten
years and eleven months. Was a member and founder of
the Fund the Dream campaign. Was the Chair of the
Council's Human Rights Committee, and Vice Chair of the
Hunger and Homelessness Committee
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