Who Are the Communist “Outside Agitators” in Ferguson REALLY? And Who Are the Bootlickers Attacking Them?

August 24, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


John Lennon once sang, “Everybody’s talking ‘bout revolution.” Today, while it's not yet the case that everybody is talking about the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) in Ferguson, Missouri, a lot of people are. KKK-type websites are foaming at the mouth about the communists “stirring up” sections of people that these racist thugs are preparing to wipe out in a “race war.” They are lying, slandering, and distorting what the communists are about, and are making threats. No big shock that white supremacist fascists who are planning and preparing for a genocidal “race war" don’t like the RCP. But their attacks are something anyone who stands on the side of justice should take seriously. Then you have so-called “friends” of the struggle who are picking up bullshit and lies from these same fascist sources and recycling them on camera or online—giving these attacks supposed “credibility.” Then mainstream ruling class media recycle these lies, slanders, and attacks and say, “See, even leftists don’t like the Revolutionary Communist Party.”

Carl Dix, Joey Johnson with bullhorn and Travis Morales with Indict the Killer Cop sign. Photo: Li Onesto/revcom.us

Carl Dix, Joey Johnson with bullhorn and Travis Morales with Indict the Killer Cop sign. Photo: Li Onesto/revcom.us

The armed enforcers of this system and those who channel its outlook have particularly gone after Carl Dix of the RCP, as well as longtime revolutionary communists Travis Morales and Joey Johnson.

On August 18, when the Missouri police arrested 75 people during a night of defiant protest in Ferguson, they singled out Carl Dix, Travis Morales, and Joey Johnson. Some so-called "community leaders" acting as the "peace police" worked with the official police to get the three communists arrested. One of these people, St. Louis politician Antonio French, physically attacked Joey Johnson and punched him in the face—and then bragged about having Carl Dix arrested. Carl Dix and Joey Johnson were singled out by Capt. Ron Johnson, front man for the violent repression of the protests, for additional, higher charges (so far those charges have not materialized).

So, who are Carl Dix, Travis Morales, and Joey Johnson? And who are the bootlickers who get microphones in front of their faces or a lot of circulation online to attack these comrades? Here’s the story...

Carl Dix

Carl Dix became a revolutionary in the 1960s when he straight-up defied the U.S. military machine at the height of the Vietnam War. After being drafted in 1968, he refused to be deployed to Vietnam to take part in the unjust imperialist war—and spent two years in the Leavenworth penitentiary for his principled stand.

Carl says his first meeting in 1974 with Bob Avakian—at the time the leader of the Revolutionary Union, forerunner of the RCP—was a "turning point in my life." They wrangled passionately for hours over how Black people could really get liberated and other key questions. Greatly influenced by that struggle, Carl had the courage to follow his convictions, break with nationalism, and become a revolutionary communist, dedicating his life to the cause of liberating all of humanity. (See "Traveling with Chairman Avakian: A Determined Revolutionary Leader, and a Fired Man, for Decades," by Carl Dix.) Carl Dix was a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1975.

From then up to right now, Carl Dix has time and again been in the forefront of the struggles against the brutal crimes of this system against the people and the efforts to bring forward the movement for revolution.

When the Philadelphia police, with the approval of the whole power structure, bombed a house of Black radicals in 1985 and burned a city block to the ground, killing 11 people including five children, Carl Dix stepped forward to sharply challenge EVERYONE to take a stand—initiating the "Draw the Line" statement that was published in newspapers around the country. In 1992, when the people of LA rose up after the outrageous acquittal of the four cops who were caught on videotape viciously beating Rodney King—Carl Dix went to LA to stand with the righteous rebellion, oppose the vicious retaliation by those in power against the people, and to spread revolution. And responding to the great need to resist the horrendous epidemic of police brutality and murder across the country, Carl Dix co-founded the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation in 1996.

When Obama was elected, and many people got swept up in the illusion that there were going to be big changes, Carl Dix engaged in a series of dialogues around the country with Cornel West that unflinchingly told the truth: "In the Age of Obama… Police Terror, Incarceration, No Jobs, Mis-education: What Future for Our Youth?"

In a situation where the slow genocide—which could become a fast genocide—of Black people under this system is continuing and even intensifying in many ways—Carl Dix is playing a leading role in the urgent resistance against this. He was crucial in initiating the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. And in November 2011, he and Cornel West kicked off a campaign of civil disobedience determined to STOP the NYPD's racist, unjust, and illegal practice of stop-and-frisk—and they, along with others, put their bodies on the line by sitting down in front of a Harlem police precinct and getting arrested.

Earlier this year, Carl Dix and Cornel West made a call for people broadly to act this October in a powerful Month of Resistance Against Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and Criminalization of a Generation. (See "Carl Dix and Cornel West on the October Month of Resistance and the Need to Act Against Mass Incarceration")

Travis Morales

Travis Morales was a leader of the 1978 Moody Park Rebellion in Texas after Houston police murdered Joe Campos Torres. Six Houston cops had viciously beaten Torres, handcuffed him, and threw him into the bayou to drown. Two cops were convicted only of manslaughter—and fined $1. When police attacked people celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Moody Park, several thousand Chicanos and Mexicanos rose up—overturning cop cars and driving the police out of the neighborhood for several hours. The people won a small taste of justice. Five days later, those in power struck back—Travis and two others (the Moody Park 3) were arrested, charged with "felony riot," and faced 140 years in prison. The Moody Park 3 did not back down. As Travis Morales recently recounted, "The three of us testified that we were revolutionary communists who were about making revolution to overthrow this system of oppression and misery." They were able to win the case and walk free. (See "37 years after cops murdered José Campos Torres: Still Fighting to Stop Police Terror")

In the years since then, Travis Morales has been active in and a leader in many different struggles, including in the fight against the repression of immigrants, police brutality, and mass incarceration.

Joey Johnson

Everyone who has ever studied U.S. constitutional law and free speech has heard of Joey Johnson. He was the central figure in a legal and political battle with national and international reverberations, around the right to burn the U.S. flag as a form of protest. Joey Johnson and other RCP supporters were part of protests against the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas, that re-nominated Ronald Reagan for a second presidential term. Joey recently said, "We went there to counter all this USA #1 shit and stand with the people of the world." The police arrested about a hundred protesters, and a few got heavier charges—including Joey Johnson, who was convicted on flag-burning charges and sentenced to a one-year prison term and $2,000 fine. (See "Interview with Joey Johnson: 25 Years After the Supreme Court Decision on Flag Burning—The American Flag Is Still 'Toxic'")

During a nearly five-year battle to overturn the conviction, many people from different walks of life signed statements of support for Joey Johnson—while major ruling class voices attacked him. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where Joey Johnson was represented by the famed radical lawyer William Kunstler and the Center for Constitutional Rights. The fight was not only in the courtroom but out broadly in society—exposing the flag as a symbol of American imperialism, and making clear that if the government was allowed to criminalize the burning of the flag, it would be a dangerous attack on political speech and move toward enforced patriotism. Joey Johnson eventually won the historic Supreme Court case.

Since then, Joey has been active in various struggles, including most recently in the efforts around the October Month of Resistance. 


And who are the bootlickers who jump in front of a camera to attack these heroic fighters for liberation? Or the phony “radicals” who post snotty bullshit about these comrades on blogs? Ask them! Where were they when Black GIs and others refused to go to Vietnam and went to jail? Where were they when people rose up in Houston, Texas, after the murder of Jose Campos Torres? Where were they when society was split over the right to burn the symbol of oppression around the world? And whose side are they on now when the lines are sharply drawn in Ferguson between those who are FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE and those who are STANDING WITH THE MURDERERS OF MICHAEL BROWN?


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