On the Murder of Trayvon Martin and the Outrageous Acquittal of His Killer:


Updated July 20, 2013 8 am | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


The whole country was rocked—and is rocking—over the outrageous acquittal of George Zimmerman.  This must be a watershed moment.  This must become the day that people look back on and say, “that’s when people began to see that you couldn’t reform this shit, and a whole different way—a revolution—was needed.”  But that will take STRUGGLE—struggle in the streets that must not be allowed to die down...and struggle against ways of thinking that will take us right back into the arms of the forces that have been carrying out crime after crime after crime... for hundreds of years. 

Right now download and print the materials from revcom.us and take them out. Go to the demonstrations that may be called in your city, whoever calls them, and bring this message. Go to where people gather and bring this message. If you can get a few people together to do this with you, all the better. And if a few people turn into 20 gathered round listening and speaking their own bitterness, take that 20 and march to where there are other people, bring this message, and keep this thing going.

Get copies of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live, copies of Revolution #144, "The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need," the new 3 Strikes poster, palm cards with BAsics quote 1:13. Grab bundles of the current issue of Revolution. This newspaper can be—and needs to be—all over the place. Popularize revcom.us. Agitate, speak out. Go to showings of Fruitvale Station, to laundromats, everywhere people gather. It is not time to go back to normal.

In thousands of ways, and from many different angles, people on the bottom and people of all strata and nationalities are being told to accept this verdict—or to rely on the very system of justice that rendered George Zimmerman not guilty to make fundamental changes.  People are being told that the only solution to a basic and foundational problem in this society is to once again turn for redress and justice to the very system that has produced and validated such atrocities. NO!  What needs to happen now is for the struggle to continue and advance. Society needs to roil with debate and anger. The new cracks in the cement that glues this society together need to be widened and deepened. The determined fury of people needs to bust through again and again. Thousands are rightly questioning what America is really all about. By standing up and challenging all the ways people have been taught to think about this, people can and must become ever more consciously part of the movement for revolution that is being built right now in this society.

Thousands protest in Los Angeles, July 14, 2013. Photo: AP

But first, let’s tell the truth about what this system has meant for Black people in this country...from its beginnings down to today. Let’s actually look squarely at what was revealed in the trial of George Zimmerman.

Put it this way—58 years ago a Black teenager named Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi by some white men who decided he had “acted wrong,” and those white men were acquitted.  Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till, said “NO MORE” and the uproar that she stoked was one big beginning factor that led millions of people to stand up and over the next two decades rock this country to its foundation.  People needed revolution, and many fought for revolution, and many of those heroically laid down their lives—but we got reforms.  Now, after all those reforms... after all the promises... after all the excuses... after all the Black faces in high places including even a Black president... a Black teenager named Trayvon Martin is murdered by a white man who decided he was “acting wrong,” and he too is acquitted

No, Let’s NOT “Move On”—Let’s Draw the Lessons Of This Outrage

It’s important that we keep fully getting into what actually happened here.  It’s important that we learn everything we can about what kind of society this really is and how it operates.  It’s important that we not “move on,” and talk about “reforms” and “conversations” and blah blah before we actually deeply get into this and learn what we need to learn.

George Zimmerman decided that Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager walking home at 7:15 at night, looked “suspicious.”  He called 911 and without ever meeting or talking to Trayvon Martin, cursed him out as “a punk” and a “fucking asshole.”  He said “they always get away”—and everybody knows, unless they consciously don’t want to know, that George Zimmerman was using “they” to mean “Black people.”  He got out of his car to stalk Trayvon Martin, despite orders from 911 not to.  And then, a few minutes later, George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin with a bullet to the heart. 

Stop right there.  What does this tell you?  It tells you that George Zimmerman had been taught by America to think that every Black person is guilty until proven innocent, a threat, a “problem”... and that every white person has the right to question, judge and hunt down any Black person who rubs him the wrong way.  Ask yourself: how did George Zimmerman learn this?  Ask yourself: how many times a day do these same vicious assumptions poison social interactions in schools, stores, the streets, workplaces, and—most deadly of all—with the police or wannabe pigs like Zimmerman?  Ask yourself: does this have anything to do with how America was built and how it achieved and maintained its vaunted wealth, and the traditions it passed on to justify all that and to reinforce the new forms in which it goes on?

Then there’s the police.  When the police arrived they tested the victim for drugs and let the killer—George Zimmerman—go home, that very night.  Ask yourself: is this somehow unusual for the police to do?  No, this is so accepted—and so integral to this system—that this didn’t even get brought up at the trial!  This is how the police are trained, in every city of the country—in any conflict between a Black person and someone who is white, the white person is assumed to be in the right, even if the white person had murdered someone in their own neighborhood with only the flimsiest of stories to justify it.   All a white person has to do is to say that the Black person “looked suspicious” and the pigs are right there with him.

What if the roles had been reversed?  What if somehow Trayvon Martin fearing for his life had wrestled Zimmerman's gun away and in defending himself had shot Zimmerman?  What do you think would have happened?  If Trayvon Martin had not been immediately gunned down by the police, which is by far the most likely thing, he would have been sent to prison for a long long time.  And in prison he would have joined hundreds of thousands of other Black and Latino youth who have been shipped off to America’s prison system—the biggest, and most discriminatory, in the whole world by far.  Ask yourself: if this is the greatest country in the world... if America used to “discriminate” (a word which itself cleans up and covers over a history of kidnapping, rape, enslavement, lynching, humiliation and violence at every turn) but now is supposedly “post-racial” or at least “improving”—how do you account for the explosive growth of America’s prison system (ten times as many prisoners today as 50 years ago), with over half of those prisoners either Black or Latino in a country that is majority white?

It took a massive national movement to even force a trial of Zimmerman.  Then what happened?  First the media began to work to plant doubts and uncertainty—maybe Trayvon Martin had been doing something wrong, maybe he was a “bad kid,” and on and on and on.  How many times did anyone in the mass media bring out the basic points made above about the history and present-day reality of this country?  Ask yourself: WHY does the media work so hard to shape people’s thinking and WHY is it always in the direction of justifying what this system does or is planning to do?

Then it came to trial.  First the judge made a number of outrageous rulings.  First, Zimmerman’s lawyers invoked the Batson rule—which was originally designed to prevent prosecutors from engaging in a strategy dismissing almost all Black jurors without cause and was a rule that people had to fight tooth and nail for. The judge ruled in the defense’s favor—and ruled against the prosecution’s dismissing WHITE people who they felt were prejudiced in favor of Zimmerman.   So a rule designed to prevent all-white juries was used to justify... an almost all-white jury!  Then the judge said that the prosecution could use the word “profiling” but not RACIAL profiling.  In other words you could say Zimmerman was profiling—but you could NOT say that it was because of race.  These rulings meant two things: that the jury would be mainly white; and that they would not be challenged in their assumptions and thinking about race.  This meant that even if some of the jurors said, “hey, this is clearly a case of murder”—which apparently some did—the other jurors would be sitting there with all the power of hundreds of years of white supremacist, racist thinking that every white person is taught, and they would use that and hammer down those who somehow saw the truth of the matter.  This rigged things right from the beginning.  What does that tell you about “equal justice before the law”?  What does that tell you about how not just George Zimmerman, but the vast majority of whites are trained to view Black people?  Here is an example of how “color-blindness” in a society riven by the pervasive, all-round oppression of people due to their skin color works to perpetuate that oppression.

Those decisions alone were probably enough to determine the verdict.  But they still weren’t done.  Rachel Jeantel—a young Black woman whom Trayvon had reached out to befriend—came on the stand to talk about the trauma of being on the phone as her friend Trayvon told her how he was being followed... and how his voice was suddenly cut off after hearing him shout “Get off, get off.”  Rachel Jeantel was then hounded by Zimmerman’s attorney and, almost worse, was made into a target of media scorn and venom.  The chorus—which again used all the “polite” but utterly racist code words—was as deafening as it was dehumanizing and disgusting.  The level of personal attack focused on how she dressed, how she spoke, and all the rest... the snide sneering of the racist was broadcast from every television in the country.  Zimmerman’s lawyers and the media snake-mouths tried to destroy her and when she maintained her certitude and her dignity and then showed defiance of this baiting—and to her great credit, she did—they went after her even more viciously.  Make no mistake—this was done both to hammer the jury into the “right verdict” and to prepare public opinion for it AND TO REINFORCE ALL THE RACIST SHIT IN WHITE PEOPLE’S THINKING AND ALL THE DEFENSIVE OBSESSION WITH RESPECTABILITY IN SOME BLACK PEOPLE’S THINKING... while setting up this teenager to take the blame. 

But then came the pigs!  See how smoothly they backed up George Zimmerman.  See how they skimmed over the blatant inconsistencies from one version of his story to another.  See how the prosecutors refused to ask them about their egregious bias and intentional “incompetence” and then pandered to the white entitlement ways of thinking and being in this society in the whole way they presented their case and argued it to the jury. See how the jury—conditioned by ten million hours of TV and a lifetime of breathing the air, such as it is, of America—lapped it up.  WHY do you think that is?  WHAT does that tell you about how America works?

Yet still it wasn’t enough.  A parade of witnesses came on to testify about how wonderful George Zimmerman was.  And then, as a final blow, the defense was allowed to put on a witness who said that two young Black men had burglarized her house.  What the FUCK did that have to do with the death of Trayvon Martin?  How in the HELL was that in any way relevant?  It wasn’t!  All it was meant to do—in this trial in which we are being told “race was not an issue”—was to evoke the irrational, racial conditioning in the jury, instilled by decades of living in America. 

In this light, here we have to quote an article we ran right after the verdict, talking about how the defense claimed that Trayvon Martin was armed with a deadly weapon—a chunk of sidewalk, which they waved around in front of the jury.  In fact, Trayvon Martin didn’t have a chunk of anything.  This demagogue was referring to the fact that Zimmerman claimed Trayvon hit Zimmerman’s head on the sidewalk.  As our article pointed out, this means that any Black youth walking on a sidewalk can now be considered armed and dangerous. 

So, no, Zimmerman was not acquitted because the case was hard to prove, as some educated idiots who very well know better proclaim from their perches on television.  And no he was not mainly acquitted due to the prosecution’s “mistakes” (though their mistakes were plentiful and serious).  And no he was not acquitted because the “system didn’t work this time.”  He was acquitted because THE SYSTEM DID WORK—to draw on, to use, to reinforce and to in fact deepen the racism of this society.


The Revolutionary Communist Party has in many other places  gone into  WHY the system works like this (search revcom.us).  How the mother’s milk of America was the blood of Native American Indians, driven from their land and made the victims of genocide, and the blood of Africans kidnapped from their lands and enslaved for generations.  Why and how this was driven by the needs of capitalism and then capitalism-imperialism, with its profit-over-all mentality and its expand-or-die “logic of the game.”  How the so-called founding fathers were slave owners and defenders of slave owners, and how they brought forward a perverted social order in which white people were endowed with a privileged status in relation to Black people and Native American Indians, and then Mexicans, and how this perverted sense of privilege was backed up by law and violence and permeated every social interaction in the whole society. 

We have shown how these ideas and institutions flowed first from the economic relations that hinged on the enslavement and bitter exploitation of generations of Africans and their descendants...

then from share-cropping, with its lynch-mob rule and dehumanizing and violently humiliating codes of “Jim Crow”...

then “the great migration” to the cities and industrial jobs, always last hired and first fired, in the worst and dirtiest jobs when there were jobs...

and today the desolation of “post-industrial” America where millions of Black and Latino youth have no future other than, as Bob Avakian has said, “a boot up the ass or a bullet in the brain.”  We have gone deeply into how these were woven into the fabric of the entire system—and then adjusted and re-woven with each succeeding generation, no matter how hard people fought against it.

The only answer is Revolution…Nothing Less! And bringing a whole different world into being.  And we have also gone deeply, in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, how all this could be DISMANTLED, UPROOTED AND FINALLY ELIMINATED through revolution, and how a whole new society could be built. (See also Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy and other works by Bob Avakian; special Revolution issue "The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need"; and other material on revcom.us.) These are all things to get into, deeply into, now—AS we are fighting the power.  In particular, if you at all hunger to understand more deeply what the problem is and what the solution is, you need to get Bob Avakian’s speech BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and watch it all the way through, and you need to start reading BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian.

It’s like this: people have been brutalized and enslaved by this system since its founding, and if you ever begin to think that “maybe this time it’s different” the people who sit atop this system and enforce it will be forced both by the workings of their system (its rules, its laws, its logic) and their very nature to show you that the melody may be different, but the bloody fucking song is the same.  Poison is poison, no matter how pretty the label.   It is time now to face facts, and to set about seriously getting rid of this horror, this hell, that destroys people all over the planet (and the planet itself), day in day out, by the hour and by the minute.

After the Verdict: Anger, Defiance and Outraged Questioning From Some... And Misleading Bullshit From Others

Millions of people described their reaction to the verdict like this: “I’m not surprised... but I’m shocked.”  “Shocked” in the sense that Carl Dix described it—like you’d been punched in the gut.  “Shocked” in the sense of outraged.  “Shocked” in the sense of “can’t take this no more, goddamnit!”

But this time was different.  Different than any time since the Los Angeles rebellion of 1992 forced the retrial of the police who had been acquitted of brutally beating Rodney King—despite having the beating recorded on video tape and broadcast the world over!  This time the shock began to go somewhere other than right back inside you, festering and tearing at you.  After the Zimmerman acquittal, the outrage poured out in the social media, from celebrities and athletes and writers and artists, and—in the streets—from those most victimized by this system and those moved to stand with them.,. and against the system.  Righteous acts of defiance rippled from LA to New York and in between.  Among millions questions were raised—what kind of a society IS this, anyway?  Why does this happen?  What can we do about it?  And how do I, how do WE, act... NOW?

Other places on this website and in this paper detail the intensity and scope of this resistance, and some of the character of this questioning, this much much needed interrogation and re-thinking of how hundreds of millions and yes, billions, live every day.  In terms of what to do now, the answer is to find the ways to intensify and spread this resistance, and to broaden and deepen the questioning and criticism—while bringing the message of revolution, and drawing people into this revolution on many different levels and in many different ways.  Where resistance and defiance have manifested strongly, join with those people and fight against the attempts to suppress it, while spreading the message of revolution.  Where people have just started to stir, find the ways to build on that.  Don’t let it die down.  And where people are in turmoil over this, but have not yet acted, reach out to them.  Reach out, right now, with this paper, promote revcom.us, and reach out with flyers, posters, stickers and with spoken agitation—right on the street, on buses, at basketball tournaments and movie lines and farmers’ markets... in public spaces of all kinds.

But here it's important to carefully note and understand that a number of forces also got out—and were given platforms—to redirect and misdirect this needed struggle and needed questioning.  As for Obama’s disgusting statement right after the verdict, which would be pitiful if it weren’t so poisonous... well, just see our reply. ("Obama Sanctifies Cold-Blooded Murder")

But there are others as well, out and about.  Some work for the powers-that-be and make no bones about it—they brag about their connections to Obama and the other gangsters on top.  Others come at it from the viewpoint of people who want things to change but can’t see beyond the current system and its dog-eat-dog relations and the values that gives rise to, and can only imagine either slightly changing the system around the edges or changing the faces of those on top without getting at the roots of the problem.

There are those who say we need a “conversation.”  What they really mean is “get out of the streets and pretend as if it’s all a matter of ‘listening better ’”—instead of getting to the truth of the matter.  As one person said on Twitter, “we don’t need a conversation—America already spoke.”  YES—and in the same basic bloody language it’s used for 400 years. No, we don’t need polite and muted conversation... we need REVOLUTION.

There are those who say we must demand an investigation from the Department of Justice.  The same Department of Justice that presides over 2.24 million people in prison, that tortures 80,000 of them in solitary confinement, and that runs a school-to-prison pipeline from the ghettos, barrios and reservations straight to the penitentiaries.  The same Department of Injustice that invents legal justifications for drone attacks on innocent people in the Middle East and for utterly unconstitutional spying on people, all over the world and in this country as well?!?  Investigation?!?  Are you fucking kidding?  For what—so we can have more months and years of delay and distraction until things die down?  HELL NO!!  We don’t need investigation... we need REVOLUTION.

There are those who say we need prayer vigils.  To pray for WHAT?  And more than that, to pray to WHOM?  The sooner we put aside fairy tales about how some non-existent god is going to take care of this... any day now... or how the victims of this system have gone to a heaven that doesn’t exist... the sooner we confront the reality that when this system kills people there is no afterworld that somehow redeems them... the sooner, in other words, that we actually confront the real problem—then the sooner we will get to the real solution.  Anyway, who decided that African slaves and the descendants of African slaves have to kneel down to Jesus?  We don’t need consolation... we need REVOLUTION!

Right now people from all walks of life—from those who face brutality and systematic abuse in their lives on a day-to-day basis, to those who are now recognizing the basic and fundamental injustice perpetrated in this society and questioning if this is the kind of world they want to uphold and live in—all need to be led to keep going up against all the ways that their righteous anger and outrage is being quieted down and derailed.  For the revolutionaries this not only means being there in the midst of these struggles, but transforming how people are thinking.  It means making real and concrete: Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution. 

Download and print the materials from revcom.us and take them out.   Go to the demonstrations that may be called in your city, whoever calls them, and bring this message.  Go to where people gather and bring this message.  If you can get a few people together to do this with you, all the better.  And if a few people turn into 20 gathered round listening and speaking their own bitterness, take that 20 and march to where there are other people, bring this message, and keep this thing going.

This must NOT die down.  They must NOT get away with this.  We must make this into the first day of the beginning of the end of... this system.

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