The Cold but Liberating Truth About the Police, the Struggle for Justice, and Revolution

January 14, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |




The TRUTH is this:

The 1000s who took the streets against the police murdering people and walking free were RIGHT...

The police are NOT heroes...

They are NOT “serving and protecting” the people...

They function like an occupying army against Black and Latino people in this country: harassing, brutalizing and murdering people...

And if we want this to stop, we have to build up our movement to re-take the streets, even more massively than before, and even as we learn more deeply how to get at the root of this madness and end it once and for all. WE HAVE TO ACT.

New York City, December 13, 2014. Posters of the eyes of Eric Garner by French artist JR are carried in a march of thousands. Photo: Special to


The Reality of Black Lives

For four short months, beginning in August with the rebellion in Ferguson, MO, and especially in the five weeks after the grand juries in Ferguson and then New York freed the cops who murdered Mike Brown and Eric Garner, Black lives actually did matter in this country.

No, not to those who run and enforce this system; Black lives never have and never will matter to them, except to be exploited or as a source of potential threat to their system. But to the millions who generally just go along with things and don’t allow themselves to think about the horror right beneath the surface—yes, suddenly they were forced to confront the reality of what happens to Black and other oppressed peoples in this society day in and day out, and what has been going on in one form or another since Day One of this country.

And what IS that reality?

Michael Brown's father, shortly after Michael Brown was murdered by police

Michael Brown's stepfather, shortly after Michael Brown was murdered by police. "Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!" Photo: AP

In case we forget, we can go on YouTube and look at the latest video to come out of Cleveland, Ohio where not only did police murder a 12-year-old Black boy, Tamir Rice, for allegedly playing with a toy gun at a playground, but it has come out and can be seen that they shot him less than 2 seconds after they came on the scene and then not only tackled and detained his sister who ran to help him, but stood there while he bled out and died, refusing to come to his aid! Where is the humanity?

In case we forget, we can just look in the newspapers and find out that, far from being an “isolated” incident, the chokehold that the New York police used to murder Eric Garner—another case where these cops stood around and did nothing to aid a man who was dying in front of them, due to their vicious and monstrous actions—is actually the first thing that many cops resort to when arresting someone. Not only is this supposedly forbidden by their rule books, but it has also come out that when they are caught and the so-called Civilian Review Board recommends punishment, nothing is ever done! Where is the justice?

In case we forget, we can read the author Isabel Wilkerson who, like many others, has recently compared the numbers of police murders of Black people to the numbers of lynchings of Black people during the height of Ku Klux Klan terror—and found that the police murders are even more frequent. These murders and this all-around harassment, abuse, intimidation and violence by police serve the same social function as the Klan lynchings: to terrorize an oppressed people, to “keep them in their place.” Where, really, is the so-called progress?

What the Demonstrations Accomplished

But—again—these last few months were different. People did NOT forget and they did NOT block this out from their minds and they began to actually confront this and think about it. Why? Fundamentally because in August, when the police murdered Michael Brown, people in Ferguson rose up—and in large part, those at the backbone were the people on the bottom of society, who are so often demonized and hounded. This rallied others and made it impossible for the powers-that-be to put things back in a box. All eyes were kept on Ferguson and New York. Would there be justice?

Then, when the grand juries allowed the cops who murdered Michael Brown and Eric Garner to walk, tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of people blocked traffic and in many other ways disrupted “business as usual.” People in Ferguson again rose up and in dozens of other cities people of ALL nationalities and skin colors came into the streets, night after night. Millions were inspired, and tens of millions were forced to take notice, here and all over the world. Millions said or chanted or whispered “I can’t breathe” and in doing so broke a suffocation that had been locked down on people for decades. The thinking of millions was changed, and this was a huge accomplishment of the struggle.

It took massive disruptive action to do this. These actions were part of reaching into the deepest suppressed feelings of millions, opening people up to new ideas, and beginning to change the thinking both of those who acted and those who watched. This has been a great beginning, even as it is just that—a beginning.

They Are Trying to Kill This Movement With Lies—What Is the REAL Truth? And What Do We Need to Do?

But in the past few weeks, even as people have in many places bravely continued to fight and even as writers have continued to expose the reality, this new movement faces a big challenge. After trying—and failing—to suppress the movement with arrests, with demonization, and through many other means, the powers-that-be seized on the killings of two police in New York to take the offensive. Overnight, any criticism of police was ruled out of bounds. All kinds of distortions and lies were put out, all kinds of threats were made, and the police and their defenders—none of whom ever once came forward to say that what they and their fellow cops had done and do every day to Black and Latino people was in any way wrong—dominated the airwaves.

Because there have been so many lies put out there, it’s important to clear the air with some truth.

  • If there are just a few bad apples, then how come the “good apples” never come forward to call out the bad ones? How come they always cover up and lie for their “brother cops,” and how come when one of them is finally caught doing their dirty stuff, they all come out in support?
  • If this kind of murder of unarmed men, women and children is NOT at the heart of what the police do, then how come it goes on over and over again, day in and day out, and almost never are they punished?
  • If these cops are so heroic, how come none of them ever step forward to stop one of their “brothers” from harassing or killing an unarmed person? How come they don’t risk anything for that?
  • And if the commentators and politicians—yes, including the “liberal” politicians—didn’t like it when demonstrators chanted “NYPD, KKK, How many kids did you kill today?” then why didn’t they prove it was false? In fact, they couldn’t, because the marchers were saying what was true and what needed to be said and heard and has been kept quiet for far too long.

These lies are thin and paltry, but if they go unchallenged then the thinking of millions of people will again be shut down. And these murderers and their masters will again get away with these horrors—unless and until people once again rise up and take the streets. THAT—new waves of struggle, even more massive and defiant than before (including struggle over how people are understanding things)—is a necessary part of shining a light through the fog of lies to get the truth out and more deeply changing the thinking of the millions who have been programmed to go along with all this madness.

So that is definitely one huge challenge before the people right now: to go back on the offensive and bring forward even more massive waves of struggle to STOP these outrages. Not mitigate them, not tone them down—but STOP them.

Right now the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) is joining with others to host a national meeting in early February to develop plans that will re-take initiative on this front. Everyone who has been fighting this, all the different groups who want to see this stop, should be part of this, sorting out differences and uniting more strongly.

At the same time, our Party and the Revolution Clubs are organizing people FOR revolution in the communities and campuses all over. We are mobilizing people to fight the power, in very active and determined ways, and at the same time working to transform people’s thinking… FOR revolution. This is critical… and you can and should be part of this, going up against the powers while learning more about the revolution.

Why Does This Happen?

This gets to another big challenge that has to be met: getting to WHY this goes on, and what must be done to STOP it once and for all.

Why do the police do this? Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, has put it this way:

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and order that enforces all this oppression and madness.

Think about it. THIS is at the heart of what goes on in the ghettos and barrios all over the country. “Relations of exploitation and oppression” are being “enforced.” And these relations go far beyond the ghetto. Think about what goes into just the daily functioning of this system, in addition to the killing discrimination and slow genocide now coming down on African-Americans, and Latinos, and other oppressed peoples within the U.S.:

  • The oppression of hundreds of millions of people, all over the world, either enslaved to produce the great wealth these capitalist-imperialists brag about, or cast off from enslavement, or just kept “in reserve” in subhuman conditions, from Gaza to Guinea, from Pakistan to Mexico...and all of this enforced by armies and drones and terror of different kinds at the behest of the capitalist-imperialist powers like the U.S.;
  • The oppression of women in every corner of the planet through rape, battery and the denial of basic rights of all kinds, as well as the oppression of people who are gay, or just “different”;
  • The massive dislocation and exile of hundreds of millions, forced from their countries to desperately seek work, hunted down at borders or killed on the high seas, and once in the “promised land” treated like criminals and demons;
  • The plunder and destruction of the environment itself, all for the enrichment of the capitalist-imperialists.

We Need a Revolution—A REAL Revolution!

These horrors are a big part of what we’re talking about when we say “relations of exploitation and oppression.” This is what is enforced by their cops, their armies, their prisons, their courts and all the rest. This is what is defended and covered over by their media and their politicians. A system that not only produces these horrors, but feeds on them and requires them to keep going, is a system that must be done away with. And the only way it can be done away with is through revolution.

Revolution is not just a catchword. It means something, something real. As we have said:

An actual revolution is a lot more than a protest. An actual revolution requires that millions of people get involved, in an organized way, in a determined fight to dismantle this state apparatus and system and replace it with a completely different state apparatus and system, a whole different way of organizing society, with completely different objectives and ways of life for the people. Fighting the power today has to help build and develop and organize the fight for the whole thing, for an actual revolution. Otherwise we’ll be protesting the same abuses generations from now!

We, our Party, has taken responsibility not only to take up this fight today but to build this as part of getting organized for an actual revolution. And listen—this is not something that has to be way far off—a lot depends on what all of us do, right now and in the immediate future. Our Party has developed a strategy to make revolution. Our Party has developed a vision of what is to replace this system. Our Party is developing the theoretical fighting doctrine through which people could actually meet and defeat these imperialists, even with all their power, once conditions change and the all-out struggle for power comes on the agenda.

AND: we have in Bob Avakian (BA) a leader who has given his heart and soul to the masses of people and who has developed a visionary new synthesis of communism, a deeper understanding of human emancipation. A leader like BA is something rare, and this is a great strength for our movement. “If you are serious about an actual revolution, you have to get seriously into BA.” Our Party is made up of revolutionary fighters dedicated to leading masses of people to get free of this madness, applying science to the problems we face, and organized into the structure of our Party to do that. And we have a way for you to get with this, to learn about this as you are fighting back, to get organized to actually make a revolution.

The time is now. The challenge is there... the leadership is there... what is needed, very urgently right now, is YOU.

Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution!
Get Organized for an Actual Revolution!


To learn more, explore this website, And check out the dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West, “Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion.”

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