Valuing the Lives of the People vs. Wanton Police Murder

When the Proletariat Rules

by Bob Avakian

Revolutionary Worker #1255, October 17, 2004, posted at

Let's take the question of police brutality and murder.. it seems like every time you open the RW there is at least one and often more than one article about another one of these outrages--basically the same story of how the police go in and wantonly murder someone, especially basic Black and Latino youth. And in this [one] particular article I believe it was a Latino youth who was involved, it was one of these things where he, you know, lost it a bit and had a gun or something, and was out in a public place, and there was sort of a standoff and I guess the police shot him and wounded him, if I have all the facts right, and his girlfriend was there with him, and she at one point told the police that she would get his gun away from him and then the police said if you touch the gun, you'll be shot! And his mother came up and begged the police to let her go get the gun away from him, and they told her the same thing.

This article was really very compelling, and by the time you were through reading it, both the anger at what had gone on and also the fact that with these police, this is not some accidental thing, they want to shoot down these masses, and this is an integral part of what they do--what their social role is, what their political role is--this was brought out very powerfully in this article. You know, I finished reading it and I just had this restless anger where you can't sit still, plus this really strong feeling that, as the article brought out, not once but twice there was a solution there, but the police specifically rejected it and threatened the people with being shot themselves. I mean this shows, once again, that they're not out there "doing a difficult job and faced with difficult choices" and they couldn't find any way out of this other than shooting this person.

Or you can take the [police murder] of Tyisha of the things that really needs to be driven home is-- here's the scene where she is passed out in the car and they come up to the car, the police, they surround the car, and there's a whole bunch of them, they're all armed, they're surrounding the car, and they just shoot her--execute her basically. And it seems to me that one basic point to be made is this: if you can't handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation but get off the earth--get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled that situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome, and frankly if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, 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.

It seems to me that this kind of point can be brought out very powerfully to people. What were they there to do? You know, fuck all this "serve and protect" bullshit. If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene, they could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it's been in power, has handled and would again handle this kind of thing--valuing the lives of the masses of people- -as opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that's one of the reasons why they like to engage in--and have as one of their main functions to engage in--wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people.

From "Putting Forward Our Line-In a Bold, Moving, Compelling Way"