October 22: Initial Reflections

October 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a comrade intensely involved in building O22 this year:

While I realize that the Month of Resistance isn’t even over yet, and that there is much to learn in order to fully draw the lessons from this unprecedented month of activity, I wanted to offer a few initial reflections on October 22. I’m doing this both as part of that process of drawing lessons, but also because I think that certain things that were brought forward are very significant, and need to be built on and carried forward.

Los Angeles, October 22, 2014

Los Angeles

This year’s demonstrations were marked by far greater diversity, breadth, and militancy than in many years. Over 70 cities, perhaps over 80, had at least one demonstration or manifestation against police brutality and, when the final count is in, the total participation will almost certainly be several thousand people taking the streets. College students and high school students came out in a significant way, bringing with them a spirit of defiance. People directly under the gun of police brutality and mass incarceration were joined by many people who felt they could not live in a country in which Black and Latino lives do not matter to the powers-that-be and to all too large a section of society more broadly. Communities of faith were actively out there—as were revolutionary communists, nationalists, Occupy partisans, and many others.

One very important component: Demonstrations in a number of cities—including New York, Oakland, Atlanta, Chicago, and—of course—Ferguson/St. Louis, as well as other places, directly defied the police. While previous years have sometimes seen militant demonstrations, the air of outright defiance across the board has never been anywhere near as strong as it was this year. More and more people have had ENOUGH. Of course, all this was fueled and inspired by the determination and spirit that has been shown repeatedly in Ferguson this summer, up to the present, inspired and fueled the way in which people took to the streets on October 22 this year—which in itself is good, and important.

I won’t try here to speak to all the other diverse forms of struggle that fed into this—the symposiums and campus events... the weekend of resistance in Ferguson... the cultural works that were done... the sermons that were given as part of the Month of Resistance... the prominent people speaking out on this... and many more that I’m sure I’m forgetting. And the month is not done, either! All this will need to be gathered together and popularized for people, soon, as part of spreading this movement.

I am not saying that we should be in any way satisfied with this. “The dogs are still in the street,” as Gil Scott-Heron said. And besides that, there is still a way to go before society as a whole is stopped dead in its tracks and forced to confront this reality, and the whole terms of things change. That was the goal of the Month of Resistance, and we have work to do to reach that goal. But we should also not fail to realize and BUILD ON the very significant advance that was made toward that goal.

Right now, I think this means two things. I think that the people who came out on the 22nd have to be tense to the next big developments in the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. One way or the other, however they go, the decisions on whether these murderers will actually stand trial for what they did must be responded to by the people, in a way that gives powerful expression to the spirit of Ferguson.

Second, for those whose minds were opened to the need for fundamental social change, the Dialogue between the revolutionary communist Bob Avakian and the revolutionary Christian Cornel West is a “must-go.” The questions that those two will be exploring have everything to do with making revolution that does away with the mass incarceration over several generations of minority youth... that does away with the daily pervasive abuse and often murder of many of these same youth (as well as older people) by the police... that does away with the demonization of whole peoples... and that ends the repression of those who step out of line and don’t “go along with the program.” Anyone moved by October 22 and the whole Month of Resistance... anyone who wants to figure out how to make fundamental change... cannot afford to miss it.

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