Report from Protest in Ferguson, Missouri:

People's Defiance Was Evident Everywhere

August 12, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

The murder of Michael Brown in St. Louis on August 9 has touched off righteous outrage over the killing of another young Black man with his whole future ahead of him. The night after the murder, hundreds of people flooded into the street calling for justice for Michael Brown. Nothing like this has happened in St Louis for a very long time. Some people spoke about making history and said that people all over the country were watching what was happening in St. Louis.

The protest consisted of mainly Black youth, but with some middle-aged Black women participating and giving out cardboard signs so that the kids could write their own statements. Cars slowed down in the hundreds, with people honking, giving clenched fist, sitting on the car roofs yelling, supporting and creating this great cacophony of anger and defiance against the police who had arrested 32 people the night before.

Youth carries poster with Bob Avakian's statement "3 Strikes and you're out!"

From the moment the contingent of revolutionaries marched into the street demonstration of hundreds of people, chanting, people's faces lit up—they applauded, grabbed up Revolution newspapers and held banners—the Stolen Lives banner showing people killed by police forces around the country, the "Fight the Power, Transform the People, for Revolution" banner from the Chicago Revolution Club, and "Stop Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and Criminalization of a Generation—Month of Resistance October 2014." People who stopped at the Stolen Lives banner were taken back at the number of names, which is just a small picture of the many, many people killed by police. But it brought to light this was not just a St Louis thing, but an epidemic of police brutality and murder that continues on in all parts of the country. People looked up friends' names from Missouri on the banner.

The fact that we had come down from Chicago electrified the crowd—marching into the protest with the pigs watching and chanting, “It's right to rebel," "Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail," "The whole damn system is guilty as hell” and "Michael did not have to die, we all know the reason why—the whole damn system is guilty.” This was interspersed with “No Justice, No Peace” that was taken up by people. The Revolution newspaper with the front cover on the NYC police chokehold murder of Eric Garner became a poster held up all over the street along with the poster with the "Three Strikes" quote from Bob Avakian.

As night fell, the crowd continued to grow and at a certain point surged into a major street in Ferguson. People's defiance was evident everywhere. Men and women who had been fighting with each other before put that to the side, and if anyone started anything personal, the people told them, “Take that shit elsewhere, we are here for a different purpose.”

The police went after the crowd with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets and armored personnel carriers that had been rumbling up and down the street at different times. People ran and reassembled at different locations; one section of the crowd grouped up near a complex of apartments. For the rest of the night, people fought with the police throwing whatever they could back down the hill where the police were, chanting “fuck the police” (very popular and written on just about every flat surface in this neighborhood) and at points getting on their knees with their hands in the air saying “Don’t shoot,” defying the police.

People moved back down the street when the police stopped shooting tear gas, and continued to challenge the police by refusing to go home. More tear gas, more rubber bullets and more sound grenades went off, but people stood their ground. One brother was hit in the face with a flying object and went down. A crew of people immediately scooped him up and got a nurse in the crowd to help him. This fueled more outrage; one brother said, “We’re out here making history, and we’re being peaceful and the cops shot us down.” There was more back and forth as the night went on.

In the course of this street fighting some of us got separated. A sister in the apartment complex right next to the street took us in and made sure that we had the ability to hook back up with our crew. This was a young woman who had gotten out of the Navy. Through the course of the conversation, she spoke about her sexual harassment in the Navy and how she had personally been assaulted by a family member. She said she would never let that happen to her daughter no matter what the man wanted. She was glad to put up a revolutionary from Chicago and make sure we didn’t get lost or picked up by the police.

As the police stood their ground, cutting off any way in or out of this complex, a number of people gathered outside to talk about what this all meant. People wanted to get into why this was happening, the role of the police, the whole state and how it was effectively funneling mass numbers of young Black people into prison, while the police murder others straight up in the streets.

Things were disconnected in people's thinking, but the reality of life for millions of people was there, and when we spoke about how this was all part of one system—capitalism—that is bringing down these horrors, one brother said “I knew it.” Linking up these crimes—police brutality, mass incarceration, the prisons and courts—some people got a sense of the whole state, not just racist cops, but a whole racist system that rested on slavery and genocide. They wanted to hook up again today, which we will be doing and showing clips from BA's talks, getting out Carl Dix’s statement on Michael Brown's murder, and getting into questions of the revolution.

Things are still in flux: Al Sharpton is here giving press conferences, there are demos in front of the police stations, gatherings at church.

People in the streets protests took up the headline from the Revolution issue with Eric Garner and made it their own on posters and placards saying “It Stops Today.” The righteous anger and defiance has to be taken higher.

Prepare the ground,
prepare the people, and
prepare the vanguard—
get ready for the time
when millions can be led to go all out for revolution,
all out, with a real chance to win.


Justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner
It Stops Today
People are standing up in Ferguson!

“It's right to rebel”
Time is up for this system 

Fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution


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