There is No “Reasonable Middle” Between a Lynch Mob and Racial Justice
WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?
By Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
November 18, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On November 5th, Joshua Beal, a Black man, was shot and killed by an off-duty cop in Mt. Greenwood, Chicago. That night, and at least twice afterwards, white residents from the neighborhood gathered to mock, taunt, and threaten Beal's grieving family and others who stood with them. Some wielded baseball bats. Others carried firearms. Many hurled the N-word. Hundreds and hundreds of angry white people. Their signs read, “Go back to Africa!” and “You are animals. #gohome.” They threatened to break the legs of a white Catholic priest who opposed them, and to drag him from the back of a truck. The only thing that distinguished this crowd from an old-school Southern lynch mob were the chants: “Trump! Trump! Trump!” and “CPD! CPD!” [Chicago Police Department]
This is a dangerous sign of the times. Of ugly backlash against the righteous struggle of recent years to stop the murder of Black and Brown people by police. Of the rising fascism that Trump whipped up, rode to power and is now working with lightning speed to lock into the ruling structures of the most dangerous empire in human history.
Yet, there are growing voices that are refusing to confront it for what it really is. Some purport to seek “common ground” between people on both sides. This is wrong. Frankly, it is deadly. There is NO “reasonable middle” between a lynch mob and racial justice.
But, because there seems to be so much confusion, let me walk through some of the lies that underlie this confusion and break down the truth.
Lie #1: The problem is that racial tensions broke out between mainly Black protesters and mainly white residents. Both sides got angry, both used heated language, both need to take the time to understand each other better.
Truth: The problem is that police murdered Joshua Beal and then a mob of white residents came out and literally celebrated this murder. They cheered when they got to the place it occurred, and then threatened and harassed the grieving family and those who had come to support them. Everyone needs to stand against the injustice of the police murder, and those who celebrate it.
Lie #2: Let’s not “rush to judgment” about the police killing of Joshua Beal, maybe it was justified.
Truth: The police murdered Joshua Beal in cold blood because he was Black. Joshua Beal was driving with his family for a funeral. As they passed through the white neighborhood of Mt. Greenwood, members of their caravan were driven off the road by a white off-duty cop. This cop waved a gun in the face of a 17-year-old female member of Joshua Beal's family. Joshua and others got out of their cars out of very legitimate concern. When yet another off-duty cop pulled over, he appraised the situation and fired 13 shots into Joshua Beal, murdering him on the spot. Does anyone honestly believe that if the situation were reversed – if a white family had been defending themselves against a Black gunman on the side of the road – that a cop would've pulled over and shot at the white family?
Lie #3: The racist insults hurled at protesters were wrong, but it was also wrong for protesters to call the cops “pigs” and liken them to the Ku Klux Klan.
Truth: There is no justification in any circumstances for ever hurling racist insults or taunting a family of someone who was murdered by the state. In contrast, it is not only righteous – it is necessary – to express anger against these acts of state-backed racist terror! Further, the police who murder our youth time and again in cold blood are pigs! And they are playing exactly the same role as the Ku Klux Klan of old. During the peak of Old South lynch-mob terror, every Black person lived under an active death sentence. It may or may not be carried out, but it always could be. And everyone knew that the white people who lynched would almost never be held to account. While the uniforms have changed, this is no different today. Every single Black person in this country lives under an active death sentence. It may or may not be carried out, but everyone knows that the cop who kills a Black person will almost never be charged, let alone go to jail. In fact, it is much more likely that they will retire with a full pension – or even get a promotion and sent back out on the street – than ever go to jail.
Lie #4: Sure, there are a few bad cops, but it’s not all of them.
Truth: The problem is not “a few bad cops.” The problem is the whole damn system. And Chicago is a concentration of this nightmare.
Every time police murder, the entire IN-justice system goes to work to cover it up, justify the murder, demonize the person killed, and make sure the murderer-in-blue walks free. Think of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Shot 16 times by a pig who lied. But not only that, all the other pigs on the scene lied. And they stole videotape from the local businesses so the word wouldn't get out. And the whole thing was covered up and lied about all the way to the Mayor's office. Even when it was all exposed, the cop still hasn't gone to jail! Or think of the pig Gildardo Sierra. With the aid of another elaborate and widespread cover-up he got away with murdering Darius Pinex, only to be put back on the beat where he murdered Flint Farmer six months later. And just today the Chicago Tribune has reported that Robert Rialmo, the PIG who murdered 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones last year the day after Christmas, has been back on the street since July. Just to name a few.
Lie #5: Police told the protesters that they couldn't guarantee their safety and pressured them to get on a bus or into squad cars to leave Mt. Greenwood.
Truth: The police didn't want to protect the protesters.This is because the police are not neutral. They are the enforcers of a state and system which has white supremacy woven into its very fabric and foundation. Think about it: If hundreds of furious Black people had poured out into the streets to yell, wave baseball bats, issue threats, and boast of being armed, do you think for a second that police would have thrown up their hands and said, “Nothing we can do to stop them”? Hell no. Everyone knows they would have brought in sound cannons and tanks, stun grenades and tear gas, rubber bullets and tasers, paddy wagons and mass arrests.
There is a reason for all of this. As Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has said, “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.”(BAsics 1:24)
It is very positive that there are white people from Mt. Greenwood who oppose this violent racism. This should be welcomed and strongly encouraged! But it must be on the basis of firmly repudiating and drawing a clear line of demarcation against both the police murder of Joshua Beal and the lynch-mob on the street. And it is absolutely imperative that all who care about justice – from every part of this country and no matter their background – raise their voices against this outrageous injustice.
This is a time for clarity and courage. WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?
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