Revolution#110, November 25, 2007
Correspondence on DC Protest Against Attacks on Black People
Thousands Say “Enough Is Enough”
Revolution received the following correspondence:
Many thousands of people converged in Washington, D.C. on Friday afternoon November 16 in response to hate crimes, nooses being hung, police murders and brutality of the youth, racial attacks on Black people on television and in the print media and mainly the vile outrage of the case of the Jena 6. All of this was on people’s minds.
I went to Washington D.C. with 300 people traveling from New York City from Al Sharpton’s National Action Network that called and organized the demonstration. There were people from Atlanta, Chicago, Virginia, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit and California.
I ran into a lot of people whom I’ve met at one time or another in this city who had come to the demonstration. There were three peace activists that I always seem to bump into a lot in D.C. They had happened to hear about this on the radio. They were among the literal handful of white people who came. One of them was this guy who is wheelchair bound and has a peace symbol permanently and prominently mounted on his chair. They were making a point of being in solidarity and looking to build bridges between the different aspects of the struggle against the awful direction that the Bush regime is taking society. One friend from Queens, New York—right out of the neighborhood where Sean Bell was murdered—came with our group. He wore his black hoodie calling out the 50 shots that killed Sean and a white Ku Klux Klan mask with the letters NYPD across the brow. It was a great display and he drew a lot of attention. I was telling people about police murder of 18 year old Khiel Coppin in Brooklyn only two days ago and how just last night another unarmed Black man was executed by the police in Newark, New Jersey. People were chanting “No Justice! No Peace and appreciated how we creatively added, “No Murdering Ass Police” in call-and-response.
I talked with people about what time it is in America. This was Orange Alert Day (people wearing orange to drive out the Bush Regime) and the front page of Revolution said “Who Really Holds the People of the World Nuclear Hostage? Why a U.S. Attack on Iran Must Be stopped.”
I got to agitating about this as people were arriving and entering the main site of the rally after a spirited march around the U.S. Department of Justice building. Some points I brought attention to was the fact that the U.S. is the only country in the world that has ever used nuclear weapons and the president has the nerve to tell people that they should support an attack on Iran on the basis of preventing others (specifically Iran) from doing the same! We are inside the belly of the beast! In our name they’ve massacred over 3/4 of a million people in Iraq to preserve and extend the empire! We cannot stand by and let this outrage continue. The entire world is watching right now and we have the responsibility and the duty to prevent this from happening!”
This was really welcomed by many. A lot of people stopped and listened. More than a few people gave me two, three, or even five dollars for a paper while quite a few barely had a couple of quarters. At one point I had a line of several people buying the paper. I distributed nearly 100 papers and collected $91. I initially had some trouble getting traction with folks and ran into a lot of anti-communist sentiment. There were people who were shocked that I was selling a communist newspaper—like I was some kind of dupe being Black and distributing this paper “for white people”. The agitation really cut through a lot of this and opened up engagement to all kinds of stuff. People would continue to be skeptical of communism but more open to engagement.
Nearly everyone was receptive to the need for revolution (they had different ideas of what this meant). Reading to people the Chairman’s statement (on page 7 in this edition [“Refusal to Resist Crimes Against Humanity Is Itself a Crime” at revcom.us]) and the “Three Main Points (see page 2) was a real good way to dig into what we mean by revolution and what kind of world is possible if we were in power. “But can we really do this?” To me a lot of what was revealed by this event was how people are really struggling to go beyond just marching around and protesting stuff that continues to happen to us and moving in ways that will actually stop this. I came up on a guy talking to someone just as he was saying, “We got to have a revolution!” He had believed that we could depend on these elections and the democrats but had become thoroughly disgusted with this especially after the latest Democratic candidate debate which I hadn’t seen but apparently Barack Obama had been particularly awful. A number of people (including this guy) voiced considerable disgust with the Democrats and Obama in particular. “None of these people even bother to mention Jena or the nooses or the police murders and I’m just sick of all of them!”
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