On the Importance of the Slogan "We Are All Trayvon, the Whole Damn System Is Guilty"

By Clyde Young | June 24, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


In a recent meeting, a Black youth objected to (and argued that he could not take out) a slogan which has been raised by the movement for revolution and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN). Specifically, in opposition to the slogan “We Are All Trayvon,” he argued that it is Blacks and not “everyone” who are the target of racial profiling, police brutality and murder and the pipeline leading to mass incarceration. And further that the system has declared open season on Blacks and not on “all of us” and that Black people have been subjected to oppression, brutality and murder throughout history because of the color of their skin. Opposition to the slogan “We Are All Trayvon” has surfaced “around and about” and it is important to speak to what is and what is not meant by that slogan, countering not only the confusion/opposition of some youth but also the promotion of such opposition by those who should know better.

First, it cannot be denied–and no one who hates the way the world is and wants to be part of fighting to bring a better world into being–should want to deny the reality that Blacks and Latinos are the targets of police brutality and murder. Black families in particular work to prepare youth–especially those who grow to be very large—for encounters with the police and are fearful of their loved ones coming into contact with the enforcers of the state, who roam the streets like “robot gunslingers”...“spreading death as night lamps flash crude reflections from gun butts and police shields.”

And over and over again the murder of Blacks and Latinos is considered “justifiable homicide”—“two of the most wounding words in the English language” for the families of those who have been gunned down in the streets and sometimes even in their own homes by marauding police.

Furthermore, Black people have been subjected to the most brutal and savage oppression since the first Africans were brought to the shores of this country, and that oppression has continued in different forms right down to today. This is the reality—despite the attempts of the rulers and their apologists and defenders—to cover up, distort and obscure the whole history in this country of white supremacy and the brutal oppression of Black people...and the near genocide of the native peoples. This basic truth is powerfully captured in BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! in which Bob Avakian speaks to “...the ugly truth that in the way this country has been built and for the powers-that-be in this country the humanity of Black people has never counted for anything; they have never been valued as human beings but only as things to be exploited, oppressed and repressed.” That is a very powerful truth which underscores why we say that it is going to take revolution and nothing less to end the oppression of Black (and other oppressed peoples) in the country.

Speaking even more specifically to the argument that “We Are Not All Trayvon,” it is true that Blacks and Latinos are the main targets of brutality and murder by the pigs and the slow genocide of mass incarceration. But Blacks and Latinos must not stand alone in the fight against the atmosphere of open season against the oppressed. People of all nationalities must step forward in this fight making clear to the system and its enforcers that their policy of declaring open season on Blacks and Latinos is going to be met with a powerful response coming from people of all nationalities, a response that will impact all of society. This is why the slogan, “We Are All Trayvon, the Whole Damn System is Guilty,” is so important and needs to become the rallying cry for thousands and millions of people in the fight for justice for Trayvon Martin. At the same time, the “We Say No More” statement—which the SMIN is raising funds to publish in a major newspaper in Florida during the trial of the wannabe cop Zimmerman—also needs to have broad public influence: “The killing of Trayvon Martin and 2.4 million in prison make clear that there is a whole generation of Black and Latino youth who have been marked and treated as a ‘generation of suspects’ to be murdered and jailed. This is not an issue for Black people alone but for all who care about justice; it is not a random tragedy. We say NO MORE!"


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