August 30: 1,000+ Demand Justice for Mike Brown in Ferguson

September 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


Revolution/ received the following report from revolutionaries in Ferguson.

Saturday, August 30, three weeks after the murder of 18-year-old Mike Brown by Ferguson, Missouri, police, more than 1,000 people from across the country came out for a national march to protest his murder.

Buses of students came from such places as Howard University. Carloads came from New York, New Hampshire, Oakland, Houston, and other groupings of people from many different places. Many Ferguson locals who had been protesting in the streets since Mike Brown's murder were out there.

August 30, Ferguson, police station

All photos: Ferguson, August 30. Special to Revolution

The crowd was mostly Black, but there were also a lot of white people and pockets of other nationalities. Many different ages were out. At the start of the march, it was mainly middle-aged people, but with a significant section of youth. Whole families were there, including children of all ages.

Various social forces were out: unions, a Palestinian support group, religious groups, youth groups, nationalist forces.

The march gathered on the corner of West Florissant and Canfield, the scene of some of the most intense standoffs with the police, and then marched down the block to the site where Mike Brown was gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson for a moment of silence with Mike's parents.

The march then stepped off into the streets of Ferguson—with the announced destination of the Ferguson Police Department. The crowd took up various chants, including the iconic "Hands Up! Don't Shoot!", "Who are we? Mike Brown!" and calls to jail the killer cop. Shortly after stepping off, pouring rain drenched the march. Most of the crowd was undeterred by the rain.

A crew of revolutionaries who have been in the streets of Ferguson for the last several weeks was out in the mix of the march. We had a huge Stolen Lives banner with hundreds of names of people killed by the police from across the country, and a number of people stepped up to carry the banner through the march.

In addition to getting out posters and placards with the demands to jail the killer cop, We Stand With the Defiant Ones, the BA Three Strikes posters, over 2,000 palm cards for the October 2014 Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, as well as Revolution newspaper and the Proclamation from the Chicago Revolution Club got into the hands of the people. We were also inviting folks to come to our Labor Day picnic in Ferguson, to get connected with the movement for revolution and to hear the special announcement from the Party.

From the start of the day, and throughout the march, there was a lot of contention in the crowd over the role of the so-called "peacekeepers" and why were people there. This got sharp at one point when the march was very quickly diverted off of West Florissant—a big public street—onto an isolated side road, and then into a park. Groups of people, incensed that the march was being diverted from going to the police station as announced, started chanting, "Ain't no justice in the park!" and "The park didn't kill Mike Brown!"

Small groups started peeling off to march towards the police station, which grew into a stream of people. Several hundred ultimately gathered at the police station. This was more of a younger crowd, those who live under the gun of the New Jim Crow. It started with a mix of rage and movement-type chants. Then things began to polarize as more of the raw anger began to surface. Revolutionaries started to agitate, pointing out that all this talk of calm and healing is part of sweeping under the rug the fact that the killer cop is STILL walking free, and all this talk about how it's no good that people stood up, rebelled, and got rowdy and out of hand is WRONG. That's the only way people can get justice, the only reason people are here and know what happened, and we are here to stand with the defiant ones.

Others, including angry Black women of varying ages, spoke out on another bullhorn, sharply challenging the crowd on the sidewalk and those hanging back across the street to come in close, confront the police, and FIGHT for and demand justice. One of them called on people to stop going along with the way police are oppressing people. An older woman said she stood behind what the youth had accomplished, and not to criticize them—"I'm pro-youth!" Another woman turned her bullhorn toward the line of cops and said, "I do know what this is. This is white supremacy, and we aren't having it."

The defiant ones started to take the scene, with more youth speaking out in the faces of the police. People shouting, "Where's your tear gas?" "We want Darren Wilson!" "Where are you hiding him?", and called out the Black police officers brought to the front of the line as "house n——s." Youth led chants calling for shutting things down, from Ferguson to Dellwood to St. Louis and beyond, and chanting at police, "We're ready, we're ready, we're ready, for YOU." A section of the crowd also took over the street in front of the police station.

This scene continued for a couple hours, with a lot more debate and contention breaking out into the open over where this struggle needed to go, what was the role of the peacekeepers and those calling for calm, as well as whether voting was the way to go. But what was clear and carried the day were those voices declaring this is NOT OVER, they still haven't arrested Mike Brown's killer, who people want brought to justice. And in the midst of all this, people were coming up to revolutionaries to learn more and get connected.

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