Report from Revolution Club Summer in Los Angeles

Out to a Neighborhood Hit by Massive Police Raid

June 26, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From Revolution Club, Los Angeles

Revolution Club Summer is a project in Los Angeles bringing revolutionary-minded youth from across the area to spend the summer living and running with each other, together with more experienced revolutionaries, to make big advances in building the movement for revolution—especially in oppressed areas and among the youth. On our first day, an invading army of 1,300 LAPD and FBI pigs carried out a massive raid in South Central, busting into homes, sticking high-powered rifles in people’s faces, forcing elderly women out into the street in their bedclothes, and arresting Black men young and old. They arrested at least 50 people, devastating a whole community whose fathers and sons, dear friends and lovers were snatched away in an instant.

We headed out to one of the neighborhoods of the raid, with the understanding that was in the recent editorial, “We cannot build a revolutionary movement off to the side of what is going on in society—that just won’t cut it. Revolutions are built by going into the heart of the most intense contradictions in society, leading people to stand up and politically battle back against that... putting that resistance in the context of a way and a strategy to change the whole world through revolution... and leading people to change themselves as they change the world.” (“Summer 2014: Making Advances...Toward Revolution”)

Under this system of capitalism, so many in this society and so much of humanity are forced to endure great hardship and suffering, exploitation, injustice and brutality, while wars and the ongoing destruction of the natural environment threaten the very future of humanity. This short statement outlines the strategy for revolution—the first step to end this horror.
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One man whose friend was arrested in the raid told us his own story of having his life ripped apart by an arbitrary arrest just a few years ago. He spoke bitterly about how he was stopped by the police in front of a friend’s house, told to get on the ground, and when he didn’t comply, was beaten to the ground and arrested. While he was in handcuffs, the police kept saying “stop resisting.” He was charged with six felonies and couldn’t believe the judge didn’t throw it all out instantly. He hired a lawyer and still had to plea to one charge—the lawyer told him, if you go in front of a jury they will assume you’re guilty, a Black man in South Central who the police are saying did all these things. Because of all this, he lost his job and his family, and after a couple months in jail is still now on probation. He repeated this story over and over again during the discussion, while his friends nodded and added in details. But that isn’t all. The same cop driving down the block another day stopped and called him over to ask a standard question they use to fuck with people, “are you on probation?” To which he answered bitterly, “You know I’m on probation, you put me there.” The cop threatened to arrest him again.

As he was telling this story, he was also making the point that there’s nothing we can do about what is being done. He said his refusal to get down on the ground was an attempt to not just accept what the police do, but look what happened. He said when he went to jail and told people there what had happened, they asked him, was it worth it? And the fact that the same police hold out the possibility of sending him back to jail at any time is only further illustration that you have no choice but to accept it. His friend standing next to him said, with a lot of emotion, “We want to say, ‘We are human. We have rights,’ but we can’t even do that.”

The two were part of a larger group of Black men of varying ages we talked deeply with, about their life experiences and about revolution. It was wide-ranging and with a lot of struggle, including over identity politics and the oppression of women, and especially in relation to the need and possibility of revolution and getting into BA. A big part of the struggle was about whether there is anything we can do to politically fight back against what is happening to people and whether the revolution that’s needed could really be possible. It was an exchange where we all had an important impact on each other.

One member of the Revolution Club Summer summed up, “These people live in the midst of the oppression we are standing up against. They realize the system is ineffective, but they feel voiceless. One of the men we spoke to resorted to the same response no matter how many points we tried to make: ‘We’ve been fighting... it’s impossible... there’s nothing we can do.’ It’s no wonder they feel this way. They all look for justice in a system which, as one young man we spoke to said, ‘uses justice to mask brutality.’ This is why BA’s works need to be spread around urgently—to show people that the real problem is the system as a whole and the real solution is revolution.”

Since then, we’ve kept returning to the neighborhood most affected by the raids even while we’ve been out canvassing in another neighborhood with a focus on BA Everywhere as well as joining a Revolution Books discussion of BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!, and jumping into a Stop Mass Incarceration Network demonstration at the federal detention center to resist the inhumane detentions, criminalization, and threats of deportation of the thousands of Central American children being rounded up in Texas.

We decided to do a street-corner protest on Saturday afternoon, even though it wasn’t clear whether anyone we’d talked with was convinced it would be worth it to come out to it. A woman we talked with, whose home was one of those raided, said she was too angry to come. We tried to draw out what she meant by that and told her the point is not for people to calm down, that her anger is righteous. She said they don’t give a fuck what we do, and we told her that we are not trying to convince those in power to listen, we are exposing their whole thing as illegitimate as part of how we transform people’s thinking, build up our resistance, and have all this be part of building a movement for revolution to get rid of this system and bring into being a whole new world. She said she couldn’t do it, the hurt was too raw.

Nobody we’d met previously came out to be part of it, but being at that intersection with signs demanding a stop to the raids, the slogan “We Refuse to Accept Slavery in Any Form,” and centerfolds from Revolution newspaper, drew people forward in very important ways. A woman who had just minutes earlier been stopped by the police and almost arrested for drinking a beer outside broke down crying as she talked about how people there are treated by the police. Most people passing in cars just looked or checked it out, but several honked their horns, and some had clearly emotional responses—one car with several Black youth pulled across lanes of traffic to stop and connect, in another a man leaned halfway out of the window to shout out, “I’m with you!” An older woman walked up asking for materials and wanting to know how she could take part. She suggested a petition that she and others could pass through the neighborhood to present when the men go to court.

We think the woman’s suggestion is important, and overall we are working to organize people we’re meeting into the revolution, getting into the strategy for revolution and enabling people to see how they can act to have societal impact now as part of fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution. The concrete ways in which we are working on this and working to involve the masses include: building the October Month of Resistance to mass incarceration, popularizing the People’s Neighborhood Patrols, distributing whistles as a form of organized mass resistance to police brutality, introducing people to the work of BA and getting into the BA Everywhere fundraising campaign including building the anti-4th of July picnic, and selling and popularizing Revolution newspaper and


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