Revolution #180, October 25, 2009
To the Brave Resisters of October 22nd
In Oakland, California, police murdered Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day—they executed him point blank in front of hundreds of witnesses while he lay on a train platform, totally restrained by a cop. Chicago police murdered Corey Harris—a 17-year-old high school student, athlete, and father—who was killed as he ran from a fight on the first day of school this year by an as-yet-unnamed policeman. In Rockford, Illinois, a 23-year-old Black man, Mark Anthony Barmore, was shot in the back on August 24 by two white cops inside a daycare center in front of 10-12 horrified children as he lay on the floor.
And over and over again, the murders are covered up—how many times have police claims that “he had a gun” turned out to be a comb... a cell phone... or nothing?
This must STOP.
We have covered these outrages, and countless other ones, in many issues of Revolution. Taken together, they add up to an undeniable point: people in this society—and especially Black and Latino people—are kept in line by brutal, murderous force.
Every young Black or Latino man in America who steps outside his door enters a world where a death sentence is waiting to be executed against him. In this issue of Revolution you will read how on August 8, 33-year-old Ezequiel “Tito” Jacobo was killed by LA County sheriffs. For what? Suspected parole violation.
America, which endlessly brags of its so-called freedom, actually leads the world in one category: its rate of imprisonment, and the sheer numbers of those it holds in cages. America, which endlessly talks of “the human spirit,” actually has taken an entire generation of youth and treats them, from the time they start school, as criminals. And this is especially so, once again, in regard to the Black and Latino communities.
Police violence enforces the functioning of the capitalist system—if you don’t make your mortgage or rent payment, the police and sheriffs are there with guns to put you out on the street. That in itself is an outrage.
But it is not just that the police enforce the unjust laws of this system—police constantly and routinely violate the system’s own laws and Constitution to keep people under its thumb. In the first six months of this year, the New York Police Department stopped hundreds of thousands of people—overwhelmingly young Black and Latino men, and locked them into police criminal databases—even though the vast majority of these youth were not even charged with committing a crime.
Unrestrained, massive, outrageous police violence has become the norm for how America deals with political protesters who refuse to quietly file into and out of isolated “protest pens.” When thousands of courageous, mostly young people gathered in Pittsburgh on September 24 and 25 of this year to confront the G20 (representatives of the world’s largest economies) they were assaulted by police riot squads, their permits to protest were denied or revoked, and they were infiltrated by police spies and provocateurs. Hundreds of protesters—along with people just trying to go to work or school—were gassed, beaten, and arrested. Last year, before the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Minneapolis, the “RNC 8” were hit with four serious felony conspiracy charges, including “Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism,” before any protest took place (they still face trial).
Enough Is Enough!
There is no reason why people should have to live, and die, like this. Revolution wholeheartedly unites with the efforts of people from a broad spectrum of political beliefs to say on October 22nd that THIS MUST STOP. We salute you, and we call on people to work with us, with the requisite urgency, toward what is put forward in the Message and Call from the Revolutionary Communist Party, “The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have” (Revolution #170, July 19, 2009):
“The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be.” (The entire Message and Call is at revcom.us.)
As part of making that happen, we again encourage readers to Bear Witness—to send us your testimony about police abuse, brutality, and murder (see "BEAR WITNESS!").
Finally, we call on all the courageous protesters out on October 22nd to grapple with the point made in that same RCP’s Message and Call:
“Look at what this system is doing to youth right here in the USA. For millions in the inner cities, if they are not killed at an early age, their likely future is prison (nearly 1 in 8 young Black men is incarcerated, the prisons are overflowing with Blacks and Latinos, and this country has the highest rate of incarceration of women in the world). This system has robbed so many youth of the chance for a decent life and has got far too many living, dying and killing for nothing—nothing good—nothing more than messing up people and murdering each other on the streets of the cities here...or joining the military, being trained to be murderers on a mass scale, massacring people in countries across the globe. A system which offers millions and millions of youth no greater purpose, no better fate, than crime and punishment, or to become a mindless killing machine for the system itself—that alone is reason enough to sweep this system from the face of the earth!”
The RCP’s Message and Call concludes:
“We mean what we say, and we will not back off or turn our backs on what we have started, on the people who need this revolution. We will keep coming back and digging in, to strengthen this movement for revolution, to build up the bases, spread the influence and organize the forces we need to make revolution. We will not be scared off, backed down or driven away.
“A WHOLE DIFFERENT WORLD, A MUCH BETTER FUTURE, IS POSSIBLE. WE HAVE WHAT WE NEED TO FIGHT FOR THAT WORLD, THAT FUTURE.
“IT IS UP TO US TO GET WITH IT AND GET TO THE CHALLENGE OF MAKING THIS HAPPEN.
“As our Party’s Constitution says: ‘The emancipation of all humanity: this, and nothing less than this, is our goal. There is no greater cause, no greater purpose to which to dedicate our lives.’”
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