Revolution #76, January 14, 2007
Police Brutality is Intolerable and Must Be Stopped!
Bringing Forward a Whole Different World -- And Not Just Going For Some Payback
- Sean Bell, 23 years old: NYPD’s 50 shots killed him on the morning of his wedding.
- Anatoly Dimitriev: 62 years old and depressed about his wife’s recent death, the NYPD shot and killed him when they broke down his front door and he tried to escape out the fire escape with an ax.
- 19-year-old Timur Person: shot and killed by an NYPD anti-graffiti squad when they tackled him and felt a gun in his pocket as he was trying to surrender.
These police murders happened in New York City just in the three weeks between November 25 and December 16 of 2006.
In city after city, day after day, the police harass, humiliate, beat down and gun down people, and especially young Black and Latino men. The name of Amadou Diallo is a bitter reminder. He was the 23-year-old African immigrant who was shot 41 times in his own doorway in 1999 as he reached for his wallet when the police demanded his ID.
But what a lot of people don’t know is that in New York City alone, 140 people have been killed by police between Amadou in 1999 and Sean Bell’s death on November 25, 2006. The Stolen Lives Project, which documents police killings in the U.S., estimates that 2000 people were killed by the police in the U.S. just in the 1990s.
ENOUGH! Bitter righteous anger has erupted in the streets of New York, and heart-felt debate rages in barber shops and beauty parlors, schools, churches and clubs about what it will take to end this murderous terror.
Why does this keep happening? Why does a generation of beautiful children have no future but gangs and jail, and then they are told it’s their fault? Why do even some crime experts and economists say that for the youth, “crime is a rational choice”? What should all this tell us about what kind of system this is and what to do to stop this?
Here is what the NYC Branch of the Revolutionary Communist Party said in its statement about Sean Bell’s death:
“The blood of slaves flows down into the veins of modern-day global capitalism and imperialism—joined by the blood of child prostitutes in Thailand and rug-weavers in Asia who never see daylight, joined by the blood of whole families and villages wiped out in Africa for lack of the AIDS drugs locked up by pharmaceutical companies calculating profit and loss balance sheets. Joined by the blood of 100s of 1000s of Iraqis killed in an American war and occupation to remake the world for this global capitalist empire…
“This system is what the police exist to ‘serve and protect.’ They are nothing but modern-day slave-catchers for a system of profit based on the exploitation of people here and around the world who have nothing to lose and can only live through selling their work—when they can get work. The master’s whip has been replaced by the NYPD standard issue semi-automatic and they gun people down again and again, until it seems like we can’t have any more tears left. This is why this keeps happening, no matter how many Black and Latino cops get hired and no matter how much ‘diversity training’ they get and no matter how ‘sensitive’ the mayor is.
“Today, a ‘leaner and meaner’ globalized American empire ships whole factories across the globe to more brutally use people in every corner of the world, and millions of Black people and others who can’t be profitably exploited fill the prison growth industry in the U.S.”
(The full statement is online at revcom.us/a/072/RCP-Seanbell-en.html)
During the years when ancestors lived under the constant death sentence of KKK lynchings, families knew to go look in the river when their father or brother didn’t come home. Where do people go now? To the hospitals and precincts.
Every day, in today’s world, the majority of the people live on less than $2 and thousands of children die of starvation, dehydration and other totally and cheaply preventable causes. Whole countries and continents are left to rot according to the dictates of profit.
All this is TOTALLY UNNECESSARY. The billions of people who have nothing, produce enough wealth and resources so everyone on the planet could be fed and all their basic needs met—but these resources are locked under the control of a small handful of capitalist imperialists. Their police forces and armies exist to perpetuate, defend and expand this brutal global nightmare and for no other reason.
There IS a Way To Stop This
As we look at the murder of Sean Bell and the chain of tears that extends back to slavery and reaches across the globe—it’s hard to contain the fury and impatience. All of this can be stopped in one way: through revolution. Such a revolution is possible, including in the U.S., once the right conditions develop. Once there is a major, qualitative change in the nature of the objective situation, where all of society is in a profound crisis, owing fundamentally to the nature and workings of the system itself—and along with that there is the emergence of a revolutionary people, numbering in the millions and millions, conscious of the need for revolutionary change and determined to fight for it. At that time, whether there is a vanguard that can seize that opportunity—whether it has been built up, beginning way before that time, and whether it has developed the influence and organization and knowledge that it needs—will be decisive.
A great and liberating truth has been stolen from the people here and around the world: where the masses of people have seized power and held it, in revolutions led by vanguard communist parties, new societies have been born and amazing things have been accomplished. This happened in China under Mao Tsetung’s leadership and in the Soviet Union, before power was seized back by oppressors who brought back capitalism and exploitation.
This is the real modern-day history of slaves liberating themselves and changing the world that has been hidden and ripped away from us. This history is part of the science we need to be studying and applying: the science of revolution.
We Need A Whole Different World—Not Just Payback
Some who are bitterly angry about Sean Bell, and all those who have been lost before him and since, argue for vengeance, for payback. Sometimes this is Biblical or Koranic: an eye for an eye, or even two eyes for an eye. Many are ready to make real sacrifices to try to exact justice in this way.
Let’s tell the truth: without righteous, uncompromising anger at outrages that no human being should have to endure, no good change can come about. It is a basic truth that slaves have always risen up, and it’s right to rebel against oppression. But now this anger has to be honed with cold science about why this keeps happening, how to stop it and what kind of world can be brought about.
These days, this system locks a lot of people into a dog-eat-dog, “fuck everybody else before they fuck you,” “me and mine first” way of surviving and thinking. This can keep people thinking only about small-time payback within a small game—when far more, and a far more liberating society, could be brought about.
Let’s talk about what it would be like if the power of a revolutionary state was in the hands of the masses of people, and the state apparatus backed them up in doing away with every remnant of oppression. Let’s just take one example: The people’s police would handle any of these situations that resulted in people being blown away, totally differently from the enforcers in this society. Our party’s Chairman, Bob Avakian, has said that in a revolutionary socialist society, “We would sooner have one of our own people’s police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people.” (“Putting Forward Our Line—In a Bold, Moving, Compelling Way, Part 1” online at revcom.us/a/v24/1171-1180/1177/ba-line1.htm)
A revolution like this would bring forward millions of people of all nationalities, those on the bottom along with millions from among the middle classes who would be won to support this kind of change, to increasingly run every sphere of society. Our party’s Chairman, Bob Avakian, has been developing the idea of what a state where the masses of people hold power would be like. He’s looked at the experiences when the people held power and analyzed the great strengths and accomplishments, as well as the shortcomings and how things should go further: how there should be diversity and wrangling going on among all the sections of the people about how to solve all the problems of society and the world in the interests of the great majority, with people encouraged to raise their questions and disagreements, including those who don’t yet agree with the goals of the revolution. All this would be essential to people learning more deeply how to understand and change the world in the direction of bringing forward relations among people based on running society in common, doing away with whites lording it over non-whites, men over women, and all kinds of exploitation and oppression. This is what communism is—it’s about getting to emancipating all of humanity.
People who want to see things changed fundamentally so bad they can taste it need to get busy now. They need to take up this revolutionary theory—study it deeply—as a guide to understanding and changing the world. They need to spread this to others. And they need to join in building powerful mass resistance to police brutality and the other attacks this system brings down on people.
All that is about doing the greatest thing that you can do with your time on this planet: becoming an emancipator of humanity.
People need to get busy doing this now. Many, many people are lifting their heads, taking to the streets in protest of the police murder of Sean Bell and debating how they can carry this resistance forward to make things fundamentally better for the people. It is important to connect with them now—to join together in struggle and resistance, to bring forward Bob Avakian’s vision of communist revolution and the understanding we need for making this vision real, and to get out this paper far and wide as part of that. This can have a real impact in the weeks and months to come, and it can help bring closer the time when we can bring this whole new world into being through revolution.
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