October 22: A Moment to Seize

October 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


On August 9, in Ferguson, Missouri, police shot down Michael Brown in cold blood. They left his dead body in the sun for four-and-a-half hours. Righteous anger exploded. People in Ferguson rose up and rebelled. They demanded JUSTICE. The system lashed back with bullets, tear gas, and armored personnel carriers. The whole world saw what happened. And people from all walks of life stood with them.

In their determined struggle, the people of Ferguson have inspired people throughout society, and around the world! As we post this, more than 2,000 people have joined a weekend of resistance in Ferguson itself—many people from all walks of life who refuse to live like this.

The murder of Michael Brown is a horror and outrage in its own right, and it is emblematic of an epidemic of police terror, brutality, and murder. Black and Latino people in this society—especially those in the poverty-wracked inner cities but way beyond that as well—live with a target on their backs. And this is the spear point of a larger agenda, a larger system that has been put in place to "deal with" large sections of Black and Latino youth: a New Jim Crow of mass incarceration.

In addition, there is a whole section of society that is racist, armed, dangerous, and on the offensive. When these people came out in extremely ugly ways in the wake of Ferguson, it signaled how dangerous the situation is, and it called forth further resistance from those outraged by these KKK types.

There is a growing sense: This is outrageous. This is illegitimate. This is intolerable.

This must find expression in powerful nationwide demonstrations on October 22.

An Emerging Wave of Resistance in Racist AmeriKKKa

The demonstrations on October 22 will build off the resistance that has been developing over the past few years. There was nationwide outrage and protest, drawing in all kinds of people, after the murder of Trayvon Martin in February of 2012 by a white racist vigilante. There were heroic prison hunger strikes, and agreements to end hostilities between the races forged by prisoners in California and beyond in 2013—which shined a light on the hellish torture inflicted in particular by massive solitary confinement. The murder of Michael Brown inspired expressions of outrage on a number of campuses, with Black students in particular standing up.

Now, in important ways, the resistance has been challenged to take a leap, and given coherence by a call issued by Cornel West and Carl Dix for October to be a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Cultural expressions of resistance have emerged, dance and music, art and poetry—including Alice Walker's powerful creation, "Gather." Clergy brought the Month of Resistance into sermons. Hundreds have turned out at campuses for symposiums on mass incarceration. In some cities, youths on the street corners began to take up blowing whistles to check police brutality and it seems like everyone is taking cell phone videos of these murderous pigs every time they do their dirty shit. People came into Ferguson from all over the country, and they told anyone who asked, "Hey, we don't care if we get arrested—we're here to put something on the line to change things." A mood and culture of resistance is beginning to gather strength; it needs to be fanned and strengthened.

As all this has gone on, over the past several years there has been a re-examination of the role of African-American people in the history of this country and a deep look at what the New Jim Crow means: in films; in books and articles; and in forums and speak-outs.

This is a moment to seize and act on, and to take higher. And the questions: "Why does this keep happening over and over? Why is this so intractable, so hard to change? How do we finally get free of this madness? What must be done?"—must be more sharply posed and joined. (See the accompanying "The Problem and the Solution.")

The demonstrations in Ferguson, which drew people from all over the country and riveted the attention of millions, and in which these questions were in the air and revolutionaries were part of the ferment, marked a major step.

The Next Big Moves

The next critical step is the call for protests on October 22 to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. POWERFUL protests of THOUSANDS on October 22 can further radically change how people think about what is just and unjust, what is legitimate and illegitimate, what is tolerable and what must not be tolerated in relation to this continual and horrific racist police abuse and murder... This can and must build on what has been brought forward so far in this month.

These demonstrations must embody a spirit of telling the truth and a spirit of defiance. They must build on everything that has gone before. Youths from the inner-city high schools and youths who have been pushed out of the school system... joining with college students... with the parents of those who have been murdered and incarcerated bearing witness... along with many people of conscience who refuse to live in this kind of society... all out together. In the centers of the cities and in the neighborhoods. All over.

The fact that all this takes place when there is the upcoming November 15 Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on "Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion" is a big, powerful plus. We discuss this critically important Dialogue in print and online; you can get a sense of what each of these leaders stands for, the kinds of questions they'll be digging into and how they'll go at them. What we will say here about it is this: Anyone who is motivated to stand up and fight police terror owes it to themselves and to the struggle to find out what these two leaders will be saying on November 15. Especially if you are someone agonizing over the future that this country holds for African-Americans and Latinos... if you are actively taking up the struggle against the outrages and abuses of mass incarceration and police brutality... how could you not want to know what these leaders will be saying to each other and to all of us? These two events can work together to powerfully put the question of fundamental revolutionary social change, for real, on the map in a whole different way than it's been for years.

To return to October 22: the unified determination coming out of Ferguson to take this next step on October 22 is very powerful and this unity must now be spread. The word must get out. Meetings, teach-ins, classroom speak-outs, street-corner rallies... confronting police everywhere with whistles... stickers up all over and hash-tag offensives... we have 10 days from the time we are writing to double and redouble everything that has fed in up to now.

Right now: Connect with people in your area organizing for October 22: National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation by clicking on the big "STOP" sign at revcom.us, or by going to stopmassincarceration.net. Get fliers. Spread the word. And be in the streets on O22.

Put materials in the hands of everyone who cares, and stay in touch with them. Don't let the haters or the naysayers deter you for a second—this is about the future of humanity and if they can't get with it yet, others can. Tap into the deep, deep anger and dissatisfaction out there. It is just beneath the surface. And turn everyone you meet on to revcom.us. Put that URL on your protest signs, your fliers, your tweets, and your Facebook postings. If you are down with the Party or the Revolution Club, or you have been turned on by the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, get out those materials at the same time.

One very important element: either locate groups of people who can be organizing cores in different areas, or help forge such cores out of people you meet. You cannot organize on your own everything you need to organize; but if you orient people and put the tasks in their hands, and stay in touch with them to help them see things through, much more will be accomplished. People will contribute their ideas... they will learn, and so will we... and the people's organized strength, consciousness, and ability to fight will grow.

Our website, revcom.us, is not only the place to get organized, it is the place you go, and you send everyone else, to get a feel for how all the things we are doing fit into the strategy for revolution. It is where you connect with the vanguard. And it is where you can get with the leader of the revolution—Bob Avakian.

Send your experiences, your questions, the problems you run up against, to revolution.reports@yahoo.com. We're here.

Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.