NO to Police Murder and Lynch-Mob Threats!
Standing Up to White Supremacy in Mount Greenwood
November 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Standing up against white supremacy in Mt. Greenwood, Chicago. Photo: revcom.us
Mt. Greenwood white supremacists behind police lines, with anti-white-supremacy protesters in foreground. Photo: David Steiber
In the face of a lynch mob in Mount Greenwood, Chicago, that has repeatedly gathered to celebrate the police murder of a young Black man, Joshua Beal, and threaten further violence against Black people, a diverse group of more than a hundred people rallied Sunday to refuse to tolerate this. Led by the Revolution Club, the people who came out showed great courage and determination. They came out to stand up against a mob that had spewed hatred and threatened violence at several earlier protests. And the protesters were further strengthened through the process.
There were a number of clergy in the crowd. There were Black people who had been active in other struggles for justice for people killed by the police. There were young white people who heard about it on Facebook or got flyers at other rallies or lived in areas near Mount Greenwood who wanted to take a stand against this ugly outpouring of racism. There were several people who live in Mount Greenwood who joined the rally. Some people told us this was the first protest they had ever attended.
The Revolution Club started things off marching and chanting: “1, 2, 3, 4, slavery, genocide and war; 5, 6, 7, 8, America was never great”; “No Trump, No KKK, No fascist USA”; and “It’s time, it’s time, to get organized, to get organized, for an actual revolution.” A leader of the Club spoke to why they had issued the call for this protest: “We came to Mount Greenwood today because a cop murdered Joshua Beal. This was a modern-day lynching. And the crowd that came out after the murder was a modern-day lynch mob. As this white mob celebrated the murder of Joshua Beal and threatened to rape women who spoke out against it and break the legs of a Catholic priest who called out their racism, they also chanted ‘Trump, Trump, Trump.’ This is an early showdown in the battle to stop a fascist America.” She spoke about how important it was that people came out from a great range of different perspectives to stand against this, and that much more resistance like this will be needed.
The area was flooded with on-duty police who felt compelled to put up a barricade this time. On the other side of that barricade, a crowd of mainly white men gathered, holding altered American flags that were black and blue. There were dozens of them—significantly less than had been at several previous lynch-mob outpourings. Usually, they just chanted things like “USA, USA, CPD, CPD” and “Blue Lives Matter.” When they did string whole sentences together, they were cheering the murder of Joshua Beal and calling Black people “criminals.” At one point they started shouting, “Go back to the ghetto.” This crowd was noticeably “toned down” from the one that had shouted “animals” and “n***ers” at Black people on election night.
Carl Dix was the featured speaker at the rally. “You people chanting ‘CPD’ (Chicago Police Department) and ‘USA’ and waving American flags remind me of the white mobs who gathered when they heard the KKK was going to lynch a Black man. They packed picnic lunches and brought the kids out to watch.… And you’re ready to celebrate any crime this system commits, whether it was dragging Africans to these shores in slave chains, stealing the land from the native inhabitants or dropping bombs and chemicals that killed millions of people during the Vietnam War—a war that I refused to be a part of. And you assholes saying I should be ashamed for not fighting should apply for positions in Trump’s cabinet because maybe he needs a few more racists or misogynists. And people like you belong with Trump. For our part, [the RevComs] are out here as part of getting rid of the system that’s responsible for all these horrors and has even worse horrors in store for humanity. We are organizing for an actual revolution at the soonest possible moment. We have the leadership needed for this revolution in Bob Avakian. We have a blueprint for the kind of society this revolution can bring into existence in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America that Avakian has written, and we have the strategy to make this revolution. Everybody who wants to see an end to the misery and brutality people are forced to endure needs to get with this revolution.”
Other speakers included: Reverend Greg Greer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who called for a moment of silence for Joshua Beal and noted the vile racism the mob expressed in their chants and their signs. Quintus Martin, a young Black anti-police brutality activist, who cited some facts like that a mother’s son was dead, that Joshua Beal’s mother couldn’t hold a vigil for her son, and how many people the police had killed so far this year; he ended by saying that racism must fall and we as human beings needed to change these facts. Tio Hardiman of the Violence Interrupters Inc., who said, “We don’t need to be conciliating with racism. We don’t need to be sitting down with people who don’t want to hear anything about police killing Black people.” Amina Matthews of Pause For Peace, who led the rally in saying Joshua Beal’s name; she repeated several times that this was 2016 and expressed her determination to continue to fight for justice for Joshua Beal. Mr. Crim, who recently did a video that went viral of a white woman attacking him and his wife and spitting on them; he spoke of being bused to school in Mount Greenwood for eight years and of the racism he had to put up with during those years. Bernice, who spoke of having relatives who died in concentration camps in Germany during WW2. Reverend LaDarius Beal, a cousin of Joshua Beal, who was there “because it is important that the church joins in these kinds of fights, to speak against police brutality, to raise our prophetic voices, to let us know we are tired of this long-overdue system."
A third group had mobilized to try to carve out a “middle ground” between what they claimed were two extreme sides, both of which had gone too far. A few activists had met with police and residents of Mount Greenwood during the week and planned a dinner for people on “both sides” to get to know each other. Carl Dix pointed out that this “unity” was being forged on an unprincipled and dangerous basis. It was based on ignoring the police murder of Joshua Beal and acting like the issue was “tensions” between protesters and the residents. Further, it was based on wrongly equating the anger of protesters against police murder and a mob of white people hurling threats and racist insults, with the racism and threats of the mob itself. He pointed out, “There is no ‘reasonable middle’ between a lynch mob and racial justice.”
Revolution Club in Mount Greenwood, November 20. Photo: revcom.us
When the fascists said “go back to the ghetto,” one of the RevComs repeated it for all to hear and went on to say: “Jewish people were locked into ghettos in Nazi Germany before they were rounded up and exterminated. This is exactly what America is doing to Black people today, and these people are celebrating and enforcing.”
She also pointed to the lynch mob on the other side of the barricade and said: “I want to say something to you white people over there—you don’t have to be ignorant assholes your whole life, it’s not in your DNA.… You would think human beings wouldn’t be capable of celebrating the murder of another human being because of the color of his skin, but America was founded on this.… You can regain your humanity.… And we, the revolutionaries, we don’t believe in revenge—we’ll welcome you into the revolution if you get out of this racist shit, so you can come onto this side. But until then, we’re not going to let this shit stand for a second, we’re going to fight it and keep fighting all the way until we get rid of the system that gave rise to it.… Our leader Bob Avakian says American lives are not more important than other people’s lives. He says the whole world comes first. He says we can’t break all the chains but one—we have to break the chains of brutality and degradation of women. Bob Avakian says out of all the ugliness of what Black people have been subjected to, there is something beautiful that can come out of this: Black people, together with others, rising up to tear this whole system down, and emancipating all of humanity from this horror. That’s the revolution we’re making, and the society we bring into being is going to look like this crowd behind me, all this diversity fighting together for a better world.”
Before ending, another member of the Revolution Club gave a powerful salute to everyone who had come out and stood together against this national flashpoint in Trump’s rising fascism.
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